Being a New Grad During a Pandemic
Rewind to graduation. A joyous moment. I felt accomplished and ready to conquer the work world. No more restaurant jobs and temperamental alcoholic bosses. Yes, my first “big girl” career.
My career is what some would say “recession-proof”. I am in the broad sphere of the medical field. As a medical professional, one would assume I would have an abundance of job opportunities fresh out of school. Add on the crisis of the global pandemic and employers will just not leave me alone. Wrong.
My specific line of work is ultrasonography. While other modalities are booming, there has been a severe number of layoffs in the ultrasound world. The hiring processes have been frozen. It has been a constant uphill battle. A constant uphill battle for a resilient individual like myself.
As much as I detested the situation I was in, I felt as if I was being tested. I will admit I was accustomed to receiving whatever I desired through my hard work. Isn’t that how life works? Life is give and take. Right?
I know the entire world has been deeply affected by this virus. Those who were convinced of the security of their jobs were stunned to find out they were being let go. I personally know both sides of the spectrum. I know people who are financially thriving during this pandemic and others who are having to start at square one after years and years of being employed at the same company.
This has created an overabundance of applicants and a scarcity of job postings. Job openings I would once be considered for as a final prospect are being bulldozed by those applicants with many years of experience. The layoffs are causing the competition to become stiff.
My GPA, my single license, and charismatic interviews are no longer up to par when compared to those individuals who already have expertise in the field. It’s an unfortunate situation for any new graduates just yearning to get their foot in the door.
It can be very discouraging to wake up to multiple rejections first thing in the morning. This is why I felt as if I was being tested. Obviously applying to the ONE new posting every other day was clearly not the solution. Although the small optimistic voice in my head encouraged me to apply anyway. However, I had to brainstorm another solution. How would I get myself to stand out?
After my despair settled and I was able to have a sound mind again, I decided to put on a snazzy outfit, hype myself up, and walk into the clinics that were still open. I spoke with every manager, owner, doctor, and pitched myself to them. I truly had to believe in myself despite facing many rejections on a daily basis. If I did not believe in myself, then who else would?
I had to tell myself that I had the knowledge, I was able to handle a heavy patient load (thanks to my busy externship location), and most importantly I had the passion. Throughout my experience, I was able to befriend and network with multiple directors who genuinely felt empathy and wanted to help an eager person like myself.
I was persistent, I kept in contact, and expressed interest even after being denied in the event that the chosen candidate did not work out. Never burn your bridges and keep pushing forward. If you’re truly putting in the effort, you will eventually achieve results. It usually happens right before you’re ready to call it quits!
My big break finally came. After months and months of rejection nearly every morning, after I caught myself self-deprecating, and after being teased with potential job offers, I finally received a lucrative job offer. I put myself out there and all I needed was a chance to showcase what I am capable of.
In an odd way, I do feel like I was meant to learn a few lessons. I was not the most patient person before. I expected immediate results for my work. As much as I hate to admit it, I almost felt entitled. I had never dealt with rejection like that in my entire life. Like most of the world, I had time to reflect during isolation. I had to slow down, face my shadow side, and admit that there were some qualities in myself I genuinely needed to change. The Universe wanted to deflate my ego and bring me back down to Earth. I am certainly grateful it did. I feel like I grew into a higher version of myself during this pandemic.
If you’re a new graduate reading this, do not lose hope. Keep your faith, trust in yourself, and find a new perspective if what you’ve been doing has not quite worked out. The world will eventually balance itself out as it always does. We will resume working at our normal jobs, but this time we will bring with us the lessons we learned during self-reflection. We’ll return to our jobs with a sense of gratitude, lucky to even be alive and to have a job to return to. For those who don’t have a job to return to, I hope the grief turns into a newly ignited passion. A passion so strong you find what you’re meant to be doing. Have faith, you can and will rise above the circumstances.