The past week has been a bit weird. On Monday I had a two-round interview day for a position as a tour guide for a few weeks in summer, and although I made it through the first round I received a short, standard rejection by email the next day. After calling them I learned that they thought I’m a bit too young still, which I understand although it made me wonder why they let me through the first round at all. The odd thing is that after that (kind of understandable) rejection I suddenly lost the motivation to do all kinds of things. It hit me a lot harder than the plenty of other rejections before, and I’m still not sure why. I just suddenly started asking myself “why even bother” about basically everything I’m doing right now. I was confronted by the big question of “is it even worth it”, and I must say I haven’t completely recovered from that feeling yet.
A while ago I saw this comic, which shows a part of a job interview. To translate what’s being said for those who don’t understand Dutch: “What is your biggest passion?” “Making pivot tables in Excel.” “I meant outside of working hours.” “Oh excuse me, you meant that. … Making pivot tables in Excel.” Although this is of course a joke, I too like using Excel for all kinds of stuff. Right now I have a file to keep track of my job applications and interesting new vacancies, a file with character stats for a mobile game I play (yup) and I still often show people the massive and detailed file I created in Google Spreadsheets to keep track of my budget while travelling. I like data.
Sometimes I feel like people think I’m very picky when it comes to looking for a job, which is definitely true in some ways. I wouldn’t take a job just to get some money and experience – even if it’s on my level and relevant to my degree. At the same time, I may be less picky than others when looking at other factors: I don’t really mind what exactly I’ll be doing at work and I don’t care how much money I’ll make (though I do need to be able to live). It doesn’t even matter to me if the job is exactly what I studied for. Then what do I want? I’ll explain.
As many of you may know I struggled with depression for a big part of my teenage years and, although it’s been a long time, thinking about it makes me feel a bit awkward. It feels taboo, as if I shouldn’t talk about it, even though my depression had a big influence on who I am today. Like all big things in life it shaped my personality, my thoughts, my decisions. Most importantly, the process of climbing out of that dark abyss has taught me a lot. One of the most important things I learned was to accept my feelings.
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about what I really want to do in the near future. About six months ago I came back from my trip, and apart from becoming a volunteer for ONE nothing has changed since. I still live with my parents and I’m still in the rejection phase – not necessarily things I enjoy about my life right now – and because of that I’ve started to think about all the other things I could be doing if I weren’t looking for a job. Of course I do want the jobs I apply for, but I’m starting to feel less and less sure about the probability of actually being hired relatively soon. The idea of being stuck in this situation for another year or longer feels horrible, and it gets even harder whenever I think about the possibility of just giving up on starting my career for now and taking my life somewhere else instead.
A couple of weeks ago I told you that I was selected for a volunteering programme, and promised to write some more about it later. By now we’ve had two launch days with workshops, presentations and training sessions, kicked off a new campaign and had a little taste of what we can expect in the following months. With all that we’ve done already I’m starting to feel like I’m a bit late telling my oh so many dedicated readers about this, so here we go.
Using one post to summarise the way I experienced the year 2016 is a bit weird. The first half of the year I was abroad, travelling and living life day by day. The second half I spent at home, looking for jobs and focusing on the future rather than the now. The difference between the two halves is so big that I sometimes find it hard to see that both are part of the same year. My life and mindset were so different that it’s difficult to believe that I just switched from one to the other in the couple of days it took me to get accustomed to life at home again.
It’s already been two months since I last told you about my job search, so I’ll give you a little update on what I’ve been up to since then. I didn’t change much about the way I apply, but in the past couple of weeks I managed to get a few positive results! After months of rejection after rejection, I suddenly received invitations for three interviews in two weeks. I’m not sure what exactly made that happen, but it definitely got me excited.
About 14 years ago I first ventured to the internet to do something other than find (and print out, can you imagine) a couple of pictures to use for my presentation at school. Our class had just had a little masterclass in HTML web design, where we created an online page with a tool for kids, and I decided that I liked it. By the time I got home I had already lost my first username and password because having to remember such things wasn’t really something I had ever needed in my life before that point. First internet lesson learned. Over the next few months I proceeded to build a couple of awesome looking websites with a lot of sparkly gifs and eventually found a different website where I could do the same thing without using HTML. Brilliant! This website, named kindertent.nl, also happened to have a chat room and forum. Soon after I made my first online friends – people I had never met ‘in real life’, but who knew more about me than my ‘real’ friends.
When I came back home at the end of June I was ready to start the next phase in my life: work. I knew I wasn’t going to get a job immediately, but I was confident I would get something soon. I had had some training in writing cover letters, designing CV’s and going to interviews, and after having had an amazing time away from home I was ready to settle down for a while and start doing the real thing. Time passed, and slowly I became aware that this ‘next phase in my life’ wasn’t actually the next one. The real next phase was this: sitting at home, writing letters, and getting rejected. The rejection phase.