How Will I Know?


Have you heard the Whitney Houston classic How Will I Know (with a wonderful Glee rendition)? Well, I listened to the song approximately 50 times before leaving to recruit at OPE and just as many times on the journey to and from Oshkosh – and it got me thinking about the #SAsearch & #SAgradSearch. As much as I wanted to pay this song in our candidate waiting room, or postulated how every candidate this past weekend was thinking this, and how badly there have been times I have thought these things, I decided against it… But this song really gets to the core of what makes me (and probably most others) feel tiresome through the search process.

I have enjoyed looking at the job search process in comparison with the dating or building a relationship process. This has helped me be excited and energized about the process – not saying I am a serial dater, but I do think the beginning part of building a new relationship is SUPER fun. There’s so much uncertainty, waiting, but more importantly new possibilities. So – now back to the song or the three stages of job searching in correlation with the classic How Do I Know (yes this is my attempt at making up a theory)!

I try the phone, but I am too shy, can’t speak
So, from the time you decide to enter the job search to deciding on conference attendance, it becomes essential to determine how you are going to be contacting all these potential employers. Which email account to use, if you email – when, and which emails require your response or do not require your response. We’re usually worried about coming off as pushy, aggressive, needy, or a whole gamut of behaviors.

Is this worry necessary? Chances are pretty high that we over worry. This is not saying it is acceptable to relentlessly email a potential employer – that can be annoying. But, if we are just ourselves, get the point across, and are honest with how we communicate it will all be okay. Lastly, we have to face the reality it might be some time before we know if they’re thinking about us – they have a process they need to follow.

Falling in love is all bittersweet
Have you ever felt like this? Sometimes, we build up a school to the “perfect” place and the “ideal” situation, and then you realize it’s a poor fit. Or you might just plainly fall in love with a certain position, but be uncertain of where you stand within that process, or not hear back for some time. All of this can be bittersweet. You tell yourself you weren’t going to get this attached, but you spent hours upon hours, talking about how great you are for a number of positions, and gosh-dang-it you fell in love with someone.

It is bittersweet, but if we focus on the sweet part of it, on all the emotions, feelings, and confidence you have for whoever you fell in love with then I believe that will carry you through. You know your qualifications and someone else will see that too – and you will have the chance to fall in love with them if you’re not already!

This love is strong, why do I feel weak?
So, you’re home now, unpacking (well attempting to), and you just collapse (on hopefully your bed or couch and not the floor). You sleep, wake-up and instantly check your email, voicemail, and every other form of contact you have for a potential employer – then repeat. Job searching is exhausting – for everyone. Traveling, interviewing, sleeping in something that is not your bed, is taxing on most everyone – for those of you who are saying “no, not me”, well sorry you read this whole post.

No matter how confident, extroverted, and in love you might be – please, please, pretty please take some time to rest once you get home!

So in a true Whitney fashion – how will I know…?

In peace,


Ryan Bye
@ByeByeRyan

Student Affairs - the First Years

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