For the past three years, since I graduated from Spring Arbor University with a Masters degree in Communication, I have been hitting the job-search trail faithfully. I have submitted hundreds of resumes and written numerous cover letters. I have dug down deep and pulled out every ounce of creativity I possess to try to make my resumes stand out from the crowd. I have networked the people I know and made connections with hiring managers for companies from Detroit to Lansing to Ann Arbor to Jackson. It is a lot of work and sometimes an exhausting enterprise. I have received an education in job searching and work skills I was not anticipating nor did I desire.
Although my main motivation for completing a Masters degree was largely intrinsic - I did have an unspoken expectation I would find a job in which I could use the knowledge I had gained. When it all started, I was working both a full time job and a part time job. I had been offered a full time position at my part time job upon completion of the degree, but the poor economy and some other difficulties eliminated that as an option. I had no idea three years later I would still be applying, writing, networking and searching.
I can’t say it has been fun, but I can say it has been educational and most definitely a faith-building exercise. I remember when I landed my first professional interview three years ago almost immediately after I graduated with my degree. I was so certain God was opening for me with that interview - after all, I had turned in my application and resume late and was called for an interview anyway - surely God was blessing my hard work and diligence with a job! I was crushed when someone else was hired. The human resources manager assured me I had done nothing wrong and was, in fact, a strong candidate, but the board of directors had opted to hire someone who was already part of the company. And that scenario has repeated itself time and again.
For a while I was a bit jaded. Every time I actually landed an interview, I would dedicate myself to learning about the company and preparing to present and sell my very best self. However, I told very few individuals when an interview was coming up. I was tired of spending time explaining or speculating why it didn't work out once again. People mean well, but I was not struggling through interviews and blowing my chances for potential jobs as they seemed to assume. I was tired of receiving a lot of unsolicited advice about what to wear and how to conduct myself at a job interview. I also didn't allow my hopes to get too high. I simply assumed I was interviewing for experience and had zero hope a job would work out. I went into the interviews preparing my best face, but also with a rather fatalistic attitude. I guess I was in Eeyore mode - “Oh well, here we go again, nothing good is going to come out of this.”
I didn't even allow myself to dream of acquiring what I had begun to think of as a “real” job - the disappointment I endured when it didn't work out was too great. Sometimes in the midst of a continuing frustration it is hard to see beyond the immediate and I got stuck there. I found myself resenting the two jobs I do have. Not because they are bad jobs. They are not. I believe they are blessings from God, but there are no advancement opportunities for me with them which would help give me the hope someday I might only have to work one job to support myself. The reality is even though I enjoy both jobs it is very exhausting to work a full day at one and follow that up with a full day at the next within a few hours.
I guess I was in a slump. Day after day when I checked my email and pursued possible leads I found I had exactly zero enthusiasm for the task before me. I expected never to find a new lead and when I did I figured it wasn't going to work out for me, anyway. Somehow I had to shake it off. For one thing, I tend to be a positive person, so it was making me depressed to find myself spiraling down that slippery slope every time I started looking for a job. For another - I am supposed to be a person of faith - so what was happening to mine? It wasn't until I addressed that problem that I felt my heart and attitude turning around.
I went to a prayer meeting at a church recently. I had been feeling so discouraged, and I went expected it to be a pick-me-up. As usual with such things it wasn't long before I was overwhelmed with the realization of how many amazing blessings I have. And I felt such gratitude to have a relationship with a God Who pours them out even when I don’t really deserve them. I felt so thankful for the two jobs I have - they really have kept me afloat and gotten me over the hump and have been exactly what I needed. The depression in my heart started to lift. Then I was refreshed with the knowledge God’s promises are not empty. I have prayed for a very long time for a job and He promises all I have to do is ask and I will receive. And the solid assurance there is a job out there already prepared for me filled my entire being. Instead of just trying to convince myself I simply haven’t yet found the job God has for me - I really believe that to be true. And I am filled with peace and reassurance from that knowledge. I don’t know when it will be. Sooner, rather than later, I hope. But I do know He has a job for me and I am going to find it and it is going to bless me beyond what I have even prayed for. And then I will share how it all happened with all of you!