Last year, I spent days that seemed endless filling out application after application. The amount of time I spent focused on applying for jobs could have been a job itself. I noticed a repetitive cycle of thoughts after each job application. I was a new postgrad with a lack of real world experience, so the process of landing a job was a very shaky, uncertain one. I’m no doctor or psychiatrist, but in my untrained expertise, the mental stages are usually consistent, even if the levels and length of each stage vary.
Stage 1: Optimism
The process starts out with you feeling very content, whether the happiness is from finally finishing the two million text fields in the job application (which are completely unnecessary if someone would just read your damn résumé) or really believing you can land this job.
Alright. I can do this. I am easily qualified for this job. I didn’t do three internships and take the position as my fraternity’s fundraising chair for nothing. Besides, I have a friend who works there. I’m sure he would put in a good word even though we haven’t talked since the fourth grade, right?
Stage 2: Anxiety
The initial joy slowly starts to dissipate and then the anxiety creeps in. Self-doubt and a lack of confidence start rising within.
Am I really qualified? What if they think I did TOO many activities in college and that means I’m scatterbrained? One to three years of experience could really mean three years. I said one year of experience, but I lied. They will know. It’s so obvious! Is it illegal to lie on a job application? I can’t go to prison. I still have to watch “House Of Cards”!
Stage 3: Desperation
After the anxiety settles, you almost become a stage-5 clinger. You would show up to the office carrying a boombox over your head blasting “In Your Eyes,” but you don’t know where to get a boombox nowadays. You used to laugh about clingy relationships in the movies and in life, but here you are, staring at your job application status thinking it will change and they’ll accept you for who you truly are.
I should call, you know, as a follow up to my application. Is that too forward? Yeah, be cool, man. Be cool. Maybe I’ll send an email. No! I’ll send a text to appear casual.
Stage 4: Pessimism
All of the emotions eventually drag you down until you’d be happy receiving a rejection letter rather than nothing at all.
It’s obvious I didn’t get it. It’s been two weeks. At least have the courtesy to send me a rejection email or something, you cowards.
Eventually, one of those applications will all pay off. You’ll be in the middle of filling out your third application of the day and a message will pop up. It’ll be from that company you thought ignored your application six months ago, and now they want an interview.
The rejection letters are more of a joke now that I have a job–I’m still getting rejection letters from lesser paying jobs that I applied for 10 months ago.