Independence in the job search

by Amanda Stewart
@mandijstewart

As most of you know, I am job searching again and trying to figure a lot of things out. I am unsure of what my next career move is, and I’m in this exciting (and scary) inbetween time.

I’m one of those people who likes to get everyone's opinion. I like to hear what everyone is thinking about whatever I’m struggling with. I then overanalyze their tone in which they respond. Make assumptions about what that means for me. Wonder what they really think I should do. What they really mean when they say ______. It’s as exhausting as it sounds and even though I’m working hard to break this, sometimes it isn’t easy.

In terms of job searching, and what my next career move will be, all that listening to everyone else gets confusing. More and more each day I’m seeing that I’m so confused because I’m not really spending time with the one person whose voice I should be listening to above all others: my own.

Exactly two summers ago, I was spending my days in a similar and yet totally different situation. I was out of graduate school, newly married, and job searching. I was only searching in student affairs. I was recovering from grad school. I wrote this for Student Affairs Collective, and as I am re-reading it this morning, I feel a lot of the same feelings.

It’s a weird feeling, leaving a place after giving so much to it.  My experience in graduate school was stripping in the best way.  Now I feel like I am taking time for healing, and becoming a stronger and more confident woman in this in-between time.

I’m in-between graduate school and my first professional position and it’s weird, scary, awkward, and peaceful.  My husband goes to work each morning and I drink coffee.  Going from a to-do list a mile long and my days feeling like they are going a thousand miles an hour, to getting to slow down and take a deep breath is a very different feeling.  I know that my first professional position will be a plunge much like my entrance into graduate school: a leap into the unknown.  I know that I have the skills, mindset, and bravery to be successful.

But until then, I am taking the time to dance and bask in the joy of being in-between.  I’m getting back to enjoying things that make me feel like me.  I’m running a lot more, doing workouts with my husband, reading for fun, engaging in a new community, and feeling joyful.  I’m thankful for this place that I am in.  I know that I will be starting my professional career a lot stronger because of this time I’ve taken to dance.

Whatever your job search looks like remember this:
1. Everyone’s search looks very different so comparing yourself to your colleagues will just drive you crazy,
2. Taking some time for a couple deep breaths in-between can be just the cleanse you need, and
3. Wherever you are, be all there.



Do you ever read things you wrote years ago and think, “Wow. I should take my own advice”? That’s what happening right now. I’m trying to be okay with slowing down the pace. I’m really spending time listening to myself and reflecting. I’m trying not to weigh everyone's opinions without asking myself what I really want.

The last few days, I’ve found myself gravitating to a few thing:
  • Fro yo. I mean really, what problems can’t fro yo solve? And there is one walking-distance from our apartment. #cantstopwontstop
  • The Niche Movement Companion Guides (free!) - I downloaded them and have been answering the questions they ask in my journal. It’s really helped bring me clarity.
  • Goodreads account: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Goodreads rocks! How has it connected to my job search? I like seeing what others are reading, and I also find that taking time to veg and read something that isn’t career/passion related is refreshing.
  • People to talk to that aren’t your “usual”. I’ve met some new friends, and reconnected with some old ones and having people who you can be transparent with about your struggles, as well as listen to theirs is really helpful. Let me know if you want to join our group text ;)
  • Journal. Go to your nearest TJMaxx, scope out the stationary aisle and pick out an inspirational journal. Write in it.
  • Passion Planner. I’m just obsessed. The passion roadmap has been a great reference for me to check back to and see if I’m on track towards my goals.
  • Set some goals that are non-career related. I have some big running goals this summer/fall and having something else to channel my energy into has been therapeutic.

Let’s connect! @mandijstewart

Student Affairs - the First Years

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