Have you ever found yourself in unknown territory and had absolutely no idea what to do or where to go? I recently did and unfortunately for me, it wasn't a situation that Waze could handle. (If you don't know what Waze is, check it out, it's super helpful for directionally challenged individuals such as myself).
I Lost My Job
I worked for a company that declared bankruptcy and this resulted in substantial store closings and job losses for corporate and store employees. So here I was in a situation I hadn't previously been in. Unemployed. I've been working in the hospitality industry since I was 16 years old. Now nearly two decades later I was in a predicament.
I relocated due to personal reasons and began my job search in a new city. I've spent years recruiting so I am aware of how competitive it can be. Hundreds of people apply for a single position. I needed to figure out a way to stand out and get seen by hiring managers. It was August and I was seeing lots of pictures that parents posted of their kids' first days of school. The children were often holding a printed board showing their current stats. I decided to do the same but from an employment perspective.
I Put Myself Out There
I received positive feedback from that post and some leads, but nothing panned out. Three weeks into my search I began documenting the situation as "Adventures in Unemployment". I also attended a career fair for CURRENT college students. That was humbling and somewhat embarrassing. But I was driven to find a job and figured it was a great opportunity to get in front of lots of potential employers. However, I didn't get anything from that either.
I Publicized My Rejection
Several more weeks passed and the amount of rejection started to get to me. I'm a “glass half-full” kind of person though. So I posted a tongue in cheek review on LinkedIn regarding the amount of rejection I had faced through the job platform.
The post went viral. To date, it has more than one million views. I realized how many people were facing the exact same situation. Hundreds of people commented and reached out to me. The feedback was incredible. It reminded me to not give up, to keep on keeping on despite the rejection.
I Kept the Faith
Some of the feedback was negative. I was told not to advertise my unemployed status. I was told that by being so upfront about it I was basically saying there was something wrong with me simply because I didn't have a job.
I know that in life, not everyone is going to agree with you, like you, or want to work with you, and that's okay. I wanted to find a place that was a good fit for me, somewhere that I can be true to who I am, both as an employee and a human being.
This Adventure Has a Happy Ending
I recently started a new opportunity. But even more important than that, this journey has taught me so much. Having gone through this I will be a better employee, recruiter, and person. I empathize with job seekers and share with them what worked for me.
I was blown away by the number of people who tried to help me, and I want to pay that forward as much as possible. If you are currently on your own unemployment adventure, have hope because you are not alone.