I moved across the country as a recent grad from the #1 school in the country and ended up working at Trader Joe’s for a year
My big girl job search takes on New York City
I’m not one to brag. I’m not going to lie though I was looking forward to flaunting my Aluma Mater just for a little bit in conversation, on job apps, and perhaps hopeful that it would set me ahead of others for the big girl job I wanted.
The flex did not end up happening. Instead, I lost both my part-time jobs, fled from Berkeley of a then “ominous virus,” and hunkered down in my childhood bedroom, checking every day which companies started and stopped their hiring process.
Throughout the rest of the 2020 year, my excel sheet titled “Jobless ‘20” continued to rack up applications sent and rejections inbound.
By April 2021, I had a new excel sheet with another 50+ job applications sent out, three interviews, and no callbacks.
I sighed because I was exhausted.
I sighed because I was angry.
The threshold of selling myself as a “recent grad,” was depreciating by the day.
I was worried that the farther I was from the social status I worked so hard for, the harder it would be to market myself as nothing more than-
“Some 20-something that went to school for sociology (?) and unsurprisingly didn’t land anything out the gate because it’s sociology, and she only has customer service experience.”
My ongoing, debilitating search and my diploma were starting to feel more and more useless.
I moved to New York City with two suitcases.
I had no job.
With only the unemployment money I’ve collected since the pandemic.
I began applying to more remote and NYC positions towards the beginning of 2021 with the intention of making my city girl dream happen.
Spoiler alert: those “big girl jobs” never came to pass.
But what did come was a room open in my sister’s apartment for six months and a crazy idea.
And so I took it.
For the next six months, I did not apply for a single job
I was in New York City!
There was so much to do! I explored places and ate wildly expensive food.
Every time the subway train flew past and the wind whipped my hair on my face, I thought,
Wow, what a privilege it is to be here.
I turned 24 in the city.
It was the first time I was living my adult life. Not entirely free given the ongoing pandemic, but with more freedom than I have ever been.
My actual reality was this:
I don’t know if there is a term for job search fatigue, but I had job search fatigue.
And in case you didn’t know, working 8 hrs a day, 5 days a week, mid shifts, at the busiest Trader Joe’s in the world was not exactly light on your feet.
I was both mentally and physically exhausted every day.
The only reason I fell asleep was that I was so exhausted from working.
In my book, it was a productive day if I went to Central Park.
So 30 days
turned into 60
turned into taking days off during Christmas time.
And I had to sit down one day and ask myself
how did it all go by me so fast?
This time last year will mark one year working at Trader Joe’s.
It will be the longest job I have ever held.
And these are both two statements I never wanted to say.
While I have been applying to jobs since the new year, something about these milestones has not sat right with me.
#1) I want the hard work I have done to pay off, to be worth what I feel it is worth.
#2) The reminder makes me question if all those who rejected me were right. That perhaps I am missing something. Perhaps I am not nor will ever be the person they are looking for.
Because when you see that everyone else around you is securing the bag and has the same opportunities as you, you ask yourself,
Why not me?
That might be the very reason I have not updated my LinkedIn.
I wanted my next job update to be the one.
One that I knew in the end, all of what I have done will have been worth it.
I now know that it is not going to be the next one,
but that doesn’t mean it’ll never be there.
So for now
I will continue to do what I have to do to survive,
to pay the bills,
to have moments to enjoy this new city.
And hope, God willing, He has His sights on something better for me.