I had a brief exchange of messages with a friend/former student this morning about his current job search. He’s feeling a bit frustrated…it’s been a few months, and nothing yet.
I try to be both sympathetic and empathetic. Most of my Curry College and, now, The University of Tampa students have heard my story(ies). “Been there; done that.” If you look at my LinkedIn profile, you’ll see a laundry list of past jobs…most in the 2-3 year range; a couple just over a year.
There’s a back-story to every one of the transitions…a couple were bad fits from the get-go; a couple were good tries but…; a couple were absolutely awesome.
As I try to help everyone understand, this seemingly erratic career path was/is “normal” in today’s world. Up-and-coming professionals are looking for both challenges and chances to learn. This holds equally true for the folks to whom they report, The “trick” for both is to find a common ground for serious discussion of what lies ahead and expectations on both sides of the desk.
It’s not easy. As we have seen over the past year-and-counting, things change fast…and unpredictably. I find myself wondering once in a while how, as a manager, I would have handled the challenges that this blasted pandemic keeps throwing in everyone’s way. Just when you think you’ve found a way to deal with remote working, ongoing client/employer expectations, and accounting and finance realities, something new comes along and we’re back to the good ol’ “Square One” once more.
For my student-friends who are new or relatively new to the “life after college” game, it can be especially nerve-wracking. They’ve gotten used over the past four-ish years to getting almost instantaneous results on things…test grades, assignments, you name it. Now they’re applying for job after job and…crickets.
I’ve had at least a half-dozen “talk off the ledge” chats in the past couple of months with folks who are starting to get a little panicky after having sent in a job application, doing the appropriate follow-up, and, now…nothing.
I wish I were able to offer each of them at least one solid reassurance. But I can’t. And I refuse to make “promises” of better things ahead…there are but I don’t know when and I don’t want to raise hopes too high.
All I can really do is listen patiently and reassure each and every one of my friends that it’s not about them. This is today’s “real life” and all they can do is believe in themselves and, as challenging as it might be, not give up.
As I say time and time again, in various forms…”You can DO this!”