How to Stay Sane During Your Next Job Search And Learn About Yourself in the Process

March 29, 2021

The past year has afforded me time to consider the kind of lifestyle I need. As I’ve mentioned before, climate is incredibly important to me. I do not do well in the cold, nor can I thrive without the sun. Accordingly, I am committed to moving somewhere sunny and warm once my lease ends this summer. Navigating an out-of-state move, while simultaneously looking to secure employment (ideally in an entirely different line of work!) feels daunting. I’ve compiled some tips for anyone out there hoping to find a new job in a new location. And I’m finding that I’m learning about myself throughout this process—perhaps you will too.

Take it one step at a time

Sometimes, the task at hand feels too large to wrap our heads around. Leaving a job in pursuit of another is scary in itself; add to that a level of uncertainty regarding where you may end up, the costs associated with executing a big move, saying goodbye to friends and family, possibly dealing with guilt surrounding the decision to leave, etc., and all the sudden moving feels unmanageable. But it doesn’t have to feel that way.

Consider each component and break the job search/relocation into as many steps as possible. Consider, for example:

When you will need to move and when you will need to have employment secured. Create a timeline or make a list and aim to make progress every day or week. I personally love lists because they are a tangible representation of everything I need to do, and everything I’m accomplishing.

Resource allocation: Research the cost of living of your desired location. Budget for the move, including deposits, unexpected expenses (let’s face it, they tend to come up), and some cushion so you’re not fretting.

For me, I despise rushing, so I started applying for jobs in my desired locations at the end of 2020. I love Indeed and have great luck using it, so I highly recommend creating a profile for your next job search. Tip: Cover letters make a world of difference! Create a template so that you can use the “same” cover letter for multiple job applications, while just tweaking it accordingly to match the specific job.

Set realistic expectations and healthy boundaries

The economy is still recovering from COVID-19, so try not to get too discouraged when you don’t secure employment right away. Be patient and kind to yourself. If you’re feeling stressed, take a break from the job search. Enjoy a mindful activity, cuddle with your animals or significant other, take a walk in nature, go for a run to burn off some steam, you name it. Compassion towards ourselves is vital when navigating big life changes.

Listen to your instincts

I’m currently applying for legal jobs and positive reinforcement dog training positions. The latter is what I would really like to do, while the former is where I have the most experience. I’m trying to keep an open mind. I plan to pursue a career with animals regardless of whether I end up working in the legal field for a bit longer or not. Because I can’t deny the economic stability paralegal work affords, and if it will get me somewhere warm, I’ll do it for longer.

My first couple interviews were for paralegal positions. The first one, over the phone, went very well. The firm offered me the position and then asked my salary requirement. When I told them what I currently make and advised that I didn’t want to take a pay cut, they countered with a lower offer. I declined the job. And as for my second interview, I spoke to the male attorney I would be working for over the phone. He asked if I was married and had kids, and if “a young lady like myself could handle such a big move.” I retracted my interest in the position almost immediately after we spoke.

My third interview was for a female-owned dog training company in my dream location. I spoke to the owner over the phone and was advised that I wouldn’t be able to exclusively use positive reinforcement training methods. She would train me in the use of e-collars and prong collars, but went on to reassure me that she used “rewards and treats” as well. I know how I feel about animals and her methods do not align with my training philosophy, so I retracted my interest in the position.

All this to say, we do not have to settle! A job search can make us feel powerless, if we let it. But I know my worth monetarily, and I will not be spoken to as though I am incompetent and unable to make a move by myself simply because I am a young single woman, and I refuse to use aversive training methods when working with animals.

As you navigate your job search, listen to your instincts. If an employer won’t pay you what you need, move on. If an employer asks inappropriate questions, don’t tolerate it. And if you are being asked to perform in ways that don’t align with your morals, stand your ground.

Ultimately, my job search is teaching me about myself. I realize my self worth. I recognize that I’m fed up working for white men. (Sorry, not sorry). And while I desperately want to work with animals, I’m not willing to compromise my ethics to do so. As you navigate your job search, identify what you’re subsequently learning about yourself, and try to honor those teachings.

My sister tells me the perfect job is out there; it just hasn’t been posted yet. And I believe her.

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Photo: Daoudi Aissa, Unsplash


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