Recruiting season: I will survive

Written on October 5th, 2017

Ahh, it’s October. Cool breezes, warm blankets, beautiful colors… and of course: recruiting season.

In the Wisconsin School of Business, fall recruiting kicks off pretty much right when we arrive back on campus. The career fair is only a few weeks into the semester, and by the time we flip our calendars from September to the month of all things spooky, it seems that at least half of our classmates have internships or jobs lined up.

The timeline depends on the industry; many finance and investment banking positions have already been filled, while the more creative facets of marketing are still hiring (and will continue through next semester). There are always exceptions to the rules, of course, and it’s not like hard deadlines exist for when you need to get a position secured… but sometimes it sure feels like it.

I will graduate in May — just seven short months from now — so the pressure is on. Some rational part of my brain knows that I’ll be okay, but that doesn’t stop my nerves from getting the best of me in low moments; I’ve come to my roommate more than I’d like to admit with questions about whether anyone will ever want to hire me.

Silly, I know. I’m sure that’s the most attractive thing for a company to hear. 😛

Here’s the thing: I know I have a lot to bring to an organization. I know I’m prepared to add value, and I can’t wait for the day that I find a perfect match and get to share my passions with my coworkers. But even though I know, deep down, that I am competent, I can’t always convince my heart to feel that way.

I’m an emotionally available person. It’s difficult for me to close myself off to the things I feel — and quite frankly, I don’t want to. My intense highs and lows are what make me who I am; they inspire my writing, they forge my relationships, they push me to be better.

But they also hurt.

I’ve applied for a few positions already and have only heard back about one of them so far. I know that my Thailand excursion next summer is making things more difficult since it messes with my potential start date, but no matter how much I rationalize it, it still feels bad to put myself out there and not hear anything back.

Last night I was feeling pretty discouraged as the notification date for yet another company passed without me hearing anything. I actually burst into tears while talking about it, the poisonous fear spilling out: “what if I never find a job at all?”

It was in that moment that I realized how ridiculous I was being.

So I woke up this morning, strength trained and journaled, and greeted the day with a better attitude. I literally stood in front of the mirror before my shower and said firmly to the timid reflection: “I’m awesome.”

And you know what? I am.

There are so many jobs out there waiting to be filled, and there are so many worthy applicants. Just because I don’t hear back about a couple doesn’t mean that I’m “unhireable” — it just means that someone else fit better. Cheers to them!

I don’t want to rush the recruiting process. I don’t want to end up somewhere that turns out to be a questionable match. I have time, and I have skills. I’m going to be fine.

When my friends tell me that they’ve secured their internship for this summer, I’m going to say how happy I feel for them — and I’m going to mean it.

When my classmate talks about the full-time job she’s got lined up that’s just perfect for her, I’m going to smile in her direction — and I’m going to mean it.

When another company sends me a rejection email, I’m going to thank them for their time and wish them the best — and I’m going to mean it.

Despite what grave curves and the free market want us to believe, life doesn’t have to be all about competition. I’m going to find an amazing position and I’m going to work my tail off for a great company one day — and that has nothing to do with the timeline of those around me right now. I’m looking for a different style of job than many of my classmates… so why would I expect my path to perfectly follow theirs?

Recruiting season is inherently stressful. You can feel it in the air when you walk into Grainger Hall, hear it in the strained voices of those of us still looking for jobs. Some of that tension is impossible to escape, but with the right mindset I know I can push through it.

So welcome, October. I’m glad you’ve arrived.

I’m going to keep learning, growing, and reaching out. I’m going to put effort into my classes and my hobbies. I’m going to work hard at being the kind of person I want to be — and one day, I’ll look back on this article while I’m sitting in an office at a job that I love, and I’ll smile.

I will survive.