Chizurum Egwunwankwo: How I Cope With the Emotional Toll of Job Hunting

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You hear that job-hunting is a full-time job, but you don’t realize how tasking it is until you start job hunting. Applying isn’t the hard part, the rejection is. You tell yourself not to have expectations just in case you do not get a positive response or even some sort of feedback from the company. Yet, when the rejection mail comes, you feel like you’ve been hit physically, devoid of strength and gasping for breath.

Then the questions come, and you wonder why you weren’t chosen. Maybe you aren’t as smart as you think you are. Maybe your skills are not enough. Maybe there’s just something wrong with you generally. You ask your friends to rate your skills, try to remember the successes you’ve had over time but all you see are failures, a long line of emails and ‘kindly find attached’ unattended to.

There’s also the urge to settle for just any job. You who have always wanted to work for a consulting firm start applying to be a front desk manager. Yes, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being a front desk manager, the only challenge is that you’re settling for what you do not want. This role isn’t just you. It isn’t what you want. Everyone tells you to take what you see. They say that your first job and salary will always be shitty. They remind you that there are no jobs in Nigeria and the statistics on unemployment keep you up at night.

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You try to distract yourself by going through posts on social media, then boom! there’s a post on Twitter announcing that someone has finally gotten his/her dream job. Your chest tightens not out of jealousy, but from a reminder that you’re still without a job and that you’re turning 26 next month. You remember that most firms have a certain age limit with a certain level of experience needed and all you have is your 6-month experience from undergraduate IT.

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When you attempt to talk about it, everyone either tells you ‘it’s well’ or reminds you that laslas, a job will come. Yes, they mean well but they just don’t understand that you’re tired of hearing all those lines that are supposed to be encouraging but are not. You’re tired of asking the ‘God when’ question. Tired of sending out CVs every day with little or no success. You’ve read every article you can on job hunting, revamped your CV a million times and a half. Written cover letters until your ink runs dry.

They tell you not to look at your mates but to run your race. Sometimes it’s hard to; Amaka is working for AIICO, Sidi is working for Zenith bank and you – alternating between being sad, depressed, and hanging on to the last thread of hope you have. You wonder if your day will come or if you will end up selling one or two things on IG while you wait. Every day, you watch your dream of working for BCG slip farther away from you.

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I’m supposed to end this on an encouraging note but you see, I don’t want to say the same words everyone has been singing to you. I am job hunting. I see your pain. I see the long wait. The frustrations. The confusion on which career path to take. Yet, I feel this need to share my coping mantra with you, especially on the days when it’s hard to get out of bed: “The sun has risen, I’ll try again.” When things get tough and it feels like you have no strength left in you, tell yourself that the sun has risen and you’ll try again.

 

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