Work Bitch: Getting A Job Right Now

“I would if I could, Britney, but GOD, nobody wants to hire me. But now that I have you here, may I just compliment you on how amazing you’re doing because let’s be honest when you went craycray in 2007 nobody thought you would recover and you did so splendidly. I’m just so happy for you also you look great and Work Bitch is tacky but awesome, ok bye xoxo Self Help Hipster”

If there is one thing that makes me want to dive into a cabinet of Prozac (with a bottle of liquor), it’s the astounding amounts of young (ambitious) people that are unable to find a job right now. I mean, here you are, with your awesome diploma and your general awesomeness, and the world promised you the studying would help you land a job. But instead it just went “PSYCH, HAHA, GOOD LUCK.” and went on ruining the planet.

It sucks. I know some people hate on working, but I believe working and having a job is great, and healthy. It’s good for you in terms of self esteem, structure and being active. It gives your day meaning, it gives you a sense of purpose and let’s not forget…it gives our bank account some good ole’ financial filling.

But getting a job these days? Not the easiest thing in the world. Even with a fancy degree, you might be out there looking for a while.

We have a lot of qualified people out there, and in the current climate job hunting is like Christmas shopping in a crowded mall. Not gonna lie to you kids, we might have to go at it for a while before we get somewhere.

I also know it’s all the rage to start up our own business, own you own company, and be all cool and entrepreneurial. I’m not going to tell you to do that.

One, if that’s really what you want to do and you have the marketable skills necessary for such an endeavor, you’re probably already doing that. Good for you. Two, you can register a blog as a company but a registration does not mean the money magically starts rolling in.

Three, 9-to-5 job are getting an unnecessary bad rep. Which is bullshit. Not only because if we all went Entrepreneur ™ a lot of important stuff wouldn’t get done, but also because “normal” jobs can be great. They can teach you an incredible amount of valuable lessons and working a ‘regular’ job can lead to an amazing career too. It’s perfectly okay to want one.

I love teaching. It’s like crack to me. I’d do it all-day, every-day (except for weekends and holidays. ;-)) From September to November I’m doing two courses at the same time, which expands my schedule of part-time teaching to a full time job  for two months. I love it. I have to revert back to part-time by the end of the year, but if they wanted me to? I’d teach here ALL the time. Forever.

Unfortunately, all tutors have contracts limited to 3 years of employment: I will have to find a new job between now and next September. I have some ideas, but for these ideas to work, I will still need people to hire me.

So I’m writing this article a little bit to remind myself how to do it, but also to help you. You’re young, you got your degree (or are in the process of getting one), you’re ready to rock and roll. Now you just need a job to rock and roll* in.

1) Before you do anything (rash), stay at your (part-time) job while you job-hunt. A little financial security and day structure will make it less stressful to find something new.

2) If you like your current internship or part time job, especially if it is relevant to your education, be all assertive and enthusiastic: Ask around if there is a position available for you. Who knows who can call in some favors to help you.

3) Similarly, write to places you worked at or used to intern for. If you weren’t a total disaster at what you were supposed to do (as well as somewhat likeable) the fact you worked there before will be a positive thing that might make the difference between getting rejected or getting invited.

4) Know the websites you can use to find relevant job openings and check them once in a while. Don’t drive yourself too crazy with it by checking them multiple times a day. A couple of times a week would be quite enough to stay on top of things.

5) Send out a letter of application to every worthy job opening. It keeps you in shape, it helps you practice your application skills and it keeps you busy. It creates more opportunities too; if you just look at potentially interesting job advert, nothing will happen.

6) To make step 5 a little easier, make sure to create a basic template of your letter of application that you can build from. It helps if you always have something ready that only takes some filling in and adjusting whenever you want to apply somewhere.

7) Ask some of your supersmart or ambitious friends if you can see their (successful) letters of application. Learn a few tricks of the trade from the brainiacs in your surroundings. Ask them for help about job interviews too. Knowledge is power. Smart friends are awesome.

8) Expand your search field by not immediately dismissing jobs with a downside or a slight disadvantage. Now is not the time to be picky. Look in different fields, different towns, even the job that has 50% of the work you love and 50% of the work you think of as ‘meh’. You might find it’s not so ‘meh’ after all or that you can expand the 50% of the work you love eventually.

9) Oh, and apparently LinkedIn is a really good thing to have. I still need to get on that, but people keep telling me it’s a smart move when you’re looking for a job. Even when you don’t really know what is going on on your profile.

10) Change your perspective. Yes, it’s hard to find a job. Yes, that sucks. But we’re driving each other and ourselves CRAZY by talking about it incessantly! It may be hard, but it’s not impossible. The only difference is ten years ago, maybe you had to send out only 10 standardized letters with an average resume. Now you have to send out a 100 really good letters, preferably with a kick-ass resume. Things have changed. It is what it is. You can fight it, so get with the program.

Most importantly, don’t lose hope. While the circumstances may be less than ideal. people do find jobs. Some even find jobs relatively quickly. People get hired every day, there are tons of things you can do for a living and you can be a great and valuable asset to a company or organization. Right now you have to cast out more nets and wait a little longer than you’d like, but eventually you’re bound to catch something.

Good luck out there, babies. Oh, and if you know a cool (teaching) gig you think I’d be qualified for, holla at your girl.**

*I am firmly of the opinion that whether it’s law, physics, teaching, cleaning or serving people food, if you love what you do and if you’re good at it, you can be a total rockstar in any field. The Mick Jagger of Microwave fixing. The Keith Richard of IKEA.

 **In a past life I wanted to be gangster. 

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  1. Yay voor dit stuk. En voor punt 10. Maar ook voor jonge ondernemers, even een shout-out want je hebt echt balls nodig om zoiets te gaan doen hoor. Ik zou dat ook graag doen, ondernemen, ben hard op weg met plannen. Maar voor nu heb ik een 40u baan, 1 maand na mijn afstuderen gevonden. terwijl ik ook volop in het sentiment zat: dit gaat nooit lukken. Toch proberen. Er voor gaan, je volle inzet geven. Daarnaast zou ik ook de tip willen geven: kijk verder dan alleen Nederland. Er zijn zo veel landen waar ze intelligente, hard werkende mensen (soms zelfs specifiek Nederlanders) zoeken. Op die manier ben ik eigenlijk naar Berlijn vertrokken, vanwege werk. Nog steeds is dat mijn houding, ik wil overal ter wereld wonen en werken. Dat maakt deze tijd misschien extra leuk, maar ook extra spannend. De banen liggen niet meer voor het oprapen, je moet wat harder zoeken. Maar kansen zijn er zeker nog wel 🙂

  2. Goed stuk! Ik heb zelf ook een jaar lang gesolliciteerd na een mislukte stage als leraar, nu ben ik dus zo’n ‘ondernemer’ en dat gaat tot nu toe behoorlijk goed. Wat ik eigenlijk toe wil voegen aan dit kick-ass stuk: gebruik je tijd als ‘werkloze’ ook om uit te zoeken wat je echt wil en wat bij je past. Toen ik mijn masterdiploma had, dacht ik dat ik leraar wilde worden maar na een paar maanden kwam ik van een koude kermis thuis omdat dat niet bij me paste. Zo ben ik er na een jaar verschillende baantjes hier en daar en wat vrijwilligersprojecten achtergekomen wat ik echt leuk vond en waar ik goed in was en daar ben ik dus zzp’er in geworden. Leg de druk niet te hoog maar probeer dingen uit, praat met mensen uit vakgebieden die je interessant vindt en verlies niet de moed.

  3. Mooi geschreven! Ik snap niet hoe het mij is gelukt, maar ik heb net voor mijn afstuderen een leuke baan gevonden. Ze waren tevreden over de werkzaamheden die ik verrichte tijdens mijn bijbaantje bij hen en vertrouwden me gaandeweg meer werkzaamheden toe. En nog in mijn vakgebied ook! So blessed.
    Dus voor iedereen: houd hoop, zoek iets (anything!) wat brood op de plank brengt zolang en de stress wegneemt, werk ondertussen aan je cv (vrijwilligerswerk in jouw vakgebied bijvoorbeeld) en die baan komt écht. Of het nou kort of lang duurt.

  4. Great post, and good luck with the job hunt!
    I have to say that I simply don’t know anyone of my generation or age with a fixed contract… I tried to explain once to my parents (early babyboomers) what that even means in terms of financial security etc, but it seems like times have changed a lot.

    Not sure if it’s anything you’d be interested in, but I heard that the research group on end-of-life care at my alma mater VUB in Brussels has an opening for a PhD project.

    And seconding Anne’s comment: if you’re up for it: there are some good opportunities out there abroad. (Writing that from Ecuador, to where I moved for Love and Work)

  5. oh hi, jij dus ook al bijna zonder baan.

    ik mag nog tot april 2014 en dan is voor mij ook afgelopen.

    anyway love this “Three, 9-to-5 job are getting an unnecessary bad rep. Which is bullshit. Not only because if we all went Entrepreneur ™ a lot of important stuff wouldn’t get done, but also because “normal” jobs can be great. They can teach you an incredible amount of valuable lessons and working a ‘regular’ job can lead to an amazing career too. It’s perfectly okay to want one.”

    ik had het met mijn neefje van 16 over en die wilt ECHT GEEN BAAN VAN 9 TOT 5 of IEUW KANTOORWERK,nee hij wilt werk wat wel ELKE DAG IETS ANDERS IS

    terwijl ik juist heel blij ben met mijn 9 tot 5 baantje, en ook al is dat op kantoor, ik heb het er atlijd erg naar mijn zin gehad (op kantoor dus ja)

    en don’t lose hope. ja dat is een goeie, en da zeg ik ook tegen iedereen om me heen die maar blijft solliciteren, want echt
    die baan komt er wel. echt.

    btw. ik kan ook heel blij zijn voor celebrities, als het in 1x weer goed met ze gaat, bijv dat mariah carey na zoveel liefdespuinhoop nick is tegengekomen, nee echt. love it mariah, echt.

  6. I will graduate in a year and a half and already I´m scared I won´t find a job. For now I´m trying to find a part time job, just to get some extra cash, but even that is hard! Just a cleaning job for a couple of hours a week would make me happy! After fifteen letters, I got invited once and they did not hire me 🙁 But I´ll keep going and thank you for the tips! I will keep them in mind 🙂

  7. Thank you for writing this post. With the end of my studies slowly approaching, I’m starting to get more worried about my future as well. But I TOTALLY agree with point 10. I hate it when people keep talking about how hard it is to find a job and for me personally it has a paralyzing effect on my ideas on my future. So we need to stop panicking and start working our asses off to find this kick ass awesome job we deserve! Holla ;-).

  8. Dit soort dingen moet ik af en toe lezen, anders zie ik het echt niet meer zitten. Met mijn arbeidsbeperking is het nog een stukje moeilijker, maar zeker niet onmogelijk. Ik ben mijn eigen geklaag en dat van anderen ondertussen ook een beetje zat. Er is echt wel werk, we mogen best wat minder veeleisend zijn.