How to Stay Encouraged While Job-Hunting
About a year ago, I was around 6-8 months into my current position, when I started to feel really uncomfortable. I was feeling uncomfortable, in my spirit. I felt, strongly, that I was made to be doing something way more meaningful, than what I was currently being tasked with. I showed up to work almost everyday in like the worst mood ever, and I was just so unhappy.
I mean I’d graduated from a really great university….there’s no reason why I should remain a receptionist at a lighting, tile and plumbing showroom much longer. Heck, this isn’t even what I went to school for! I graduated with a B.A. in public relations with a minor in marketing. In my head, this was not how it was supposed to go. I was supposed to get this really glamorous corporate job, doing all the glamorous PR and marketing things. So yes, girl, needless to say I was over it.
In the words of my good sis, Pastor Sarah Jakes Roberts, “Chiillllleeee..” I’d forgotten how exhausting and overwhelming job hunting can be! First, I had to sort through pages and pages of job postings on Indeed and other places, to find positions that matched my skill level, since I wasn’t technically getting the entry level experience that some of my other peers were currently getting. THEN, I had to sit there and fill out all these applications, typing out my job history…even though my résumé was already attached, detailing the same exact info (I mean what is that about?). It was so time consuming.
But, thankfully I was able to get some interviews! One position had multiple interviews that I’d made it to the last round for. Unfortunately though, I didn’t get it. There was talk of considering me for another position once the organization received a budget increase, but it would be a while before I heard anything else about that position.
Event though that was more of a “not yet” than it was a complete “no”, it still stung. It stung because I knew that I’d done so well. I mean, I made it to the last round of interviews. So why didn’t it work out how I thought it should? Because when you perform well and you put your best foot forward, good things are supposed to happen, right? Things are supposed to work in your favor. To me, this didn’t seem like an instance where something was working in my favor. In fact, I took it very personal and was so frustrated and hurt. Because I knew I was highly capable of completing the job functions. And some months later, the same thing happened, again. I’d killed the interview, only to get turned down for another position.
To be honest, I was having a really hard time processing the rejection I was experiencing. God really had to work on me in that area, and He still is. I’ve been job-hunting for a year now, so there’s been a lot of pruning during this journey, and I wanted to share some of the things God has revealed to me through loved ones, and during my quiet time with Him. My prayer is that as you embark on your journey of landing that next job to put you one step closer to your dream, that you keep these things in mind, when things aren’t working out like you’d hoped.
What God has for You is for You
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. - Romans 8:28
For a long time, I had the mindset that if I excel in the interview, I’m going to get the job. Not sure why, lol, but that’s just where my head was at. So when the outcome of those interviews weren’t aligning with what I wanted…keyword “I”, it was upsetting me. But then I had to realize, this isn’t about what I want and how I want it to happen. Instead, it’s about what God’s will is for my life. I didn’t get those positions simply because they were not in His plan for me. As soon I grasped that concept and shifted my perspective, I was able to realize that those closed doors just meant I was one step closer to what God actually has for me. He’s got my back, and He’s got yours, too! He’s working it all out for our good.
Your Worth is Defined by God, Not Your Job Title or Salary
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations. - Jeremiah 1:5
I used to HATE when people would ask me the question, “So, what do you do?” To be honest, I kinda still do. Like I said, the Lord’s still working on me, lol. But, it’s because I’m struggling with trying not to focus so much on the job title…because I do way more than typical receptionist duties (i.e., answer the phones, etc.). When I tell people that I’m a receptionist, sometimes I think they automatically reduce my value. But to be honest, we’re a pretty integral part to the team.
When it came to those jobs interviews, I was processing those denials through the lens of a negative core belief that says, “I’m not good enough.” I was basing my worth off the job that I’m currently at, and thinking that this next job title and increase in salary would make my work sound more meaningful….that I would matter more. What I should’ve been doing, and am working on doing, is basing my worth off who God’s Word says that I am.
I’ve also had to remind myself, though, that this is only a stepping stone…not a permanent destination.
God has a Plan for Your Life!
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. - Jeremiah 29:11
In the midst of all those no’s I was receiving, it was getting really hard to believe that God actually had awesome things planned for my life, in the area of my career. I literally thought, “Well, I guess I’ll just be a receptionist for the rest of my life.” And to be honest, if that was God plans for my life, then I would continue to be the best darn receptionist you’ve ever seen. But like I said, I just can’t shake the feeling that I was made for something more. And I am…and so are you. We’ve just got to be patient and trust His timing. Maybe there’s some lessons we still need to learn in our current assignment, that will prepare us for where He’s taking us to, next!
Are You Content?
Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. - Philippians 4:11-13
I was so inward focused and so set on how I thought my life was supposed to go, that my perspective was distorted. I wasn’t able to see how I actually have been doing meaningful work, at my current job, and through extracurricular activities in the community. I wasn’t able to see how He was using me for His Kingdom, with my current assignment(s). But once those things became clearer, I was able to appreciate where I was. Something else I struggled with, was not getting the recognition I thought I should be getting, for my hard work (i.e., a raise….because these bills don’t pay themselves).
I felt underappreciated, undervalued and it started to show. Along with the terrible attitude, I just stopped caring. Because they didn’t care about all this awesome work I was doing, so I’m just going to stop giving my best. I know, I know….y’all are like, “ Now, Jasmine, what kind of sense does that make?” I realize now, how silly that thought was.
There’s one scripture that’s gotten me together every single time that thought tries to creep in:
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. - Colossians 3:23-24
I had it all wrong, y’all! I was seeking approval and applause from the wrong source. It’s God that I’m serving when I walk in this building every day. It’s the Lord that I’m serving, when I’m answering the phone and sorting through mail. I’m serving God, when I prepare these spec books and picture books for clients that are beginning a new home renovation.
I have to walk in this building everyday and treat this job as if it’s what I’ve wanted all my life. I have to keep a positive attitude and remember that I work unto the Lord, not unto man. So I’m gonna be satisfied with where He has me, and wait expectantly for my new assignment!
Stop Comparing Your Journey to Theirs
A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones. - Proverbs 14:30
I think part of the reason why I was so discontent with where I was, is because I was too busy focusing on what everybody else was doing. I saw everyone else getting these good jobs, being able to take these nice trips, etc. And it was making me feel like I was behind. Like God had forgotten about me somehow. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. What is true, is that my path is totally different from yours, and yours is totally different from mine. But neither one of us is less than or more than, in the eyes of God. He loves us all the same and wants the best for ALL of us. We’re His children, there’s no way he could forget about us.
We are exactly where He wants us to be, in this very moment. And when He’s ready to move us to the next thing, He’ll do it!
A common theme that I’ve seen throughout each of these lessons is that a shift in my thinking was required. I had to change my perspective. I had to remove myself from the equation and focus on God. Less of me and more of Him.
Whatever phase you’re in, in your job searching, I pray these lessons I’ve learned have been of encouragement to you. And I hope that there’s other areas in your life that some of these gems can apply to, as well.
Until next time!