Our interview proceeded in a fairly typical fashion. She had prepared a number of questions and wanted to hear about my experience working at the company, as well as general information about different groups and the overall culture. We spoke for about a half an hour, and at the end I told her I would try to connect her with someone else so that she could continue networking.
As our conversation was concluding, she said she had one more question. She’d read in the alumni database that I was a career coach, and wanted to get some advice…
“How do I stay motivated?” was the question she asked.
She told me she has been looking for a while and that a couple of times she came close to getting a job. She went through numerous interview rounds, followed up religiously, and then heard nothing. Once she made it to the top two, but after a couple of months of waiting, she realized that she was back at square one. It was utterly demotivating to feel that she wasted time and had to begin the process all over.
It is natural to feel defeated when experiencing setback after setback. Even if you manage to keep your head above water, some feelings of doom and gloom are inevitable, at least temporarily, no matter how many job search strategies you implement.
That’s why, after you go through your laundry list of job search to-dos:
1. Figure out where you fit in and what you are looking for
2. Set specific and achievable daily goals
3. Network, network, network
4. Re-charge and seek support
The most important thing you can do is CONTINUE TO BELIEVE IN YOURSELF.
There is a popular Russian toy that perfectly exemplifies this principle. It is the ubiquitous Vanka-Vstanka – a roly-poly toy with a weight at the bottom-center that stands back up whenever knocked down. The exact translation means “Ivan, stand up”. Under a different rubric but with the same underlying mechanics, these dolls are popular not just in Russia but all around the world.
And while we are not made of plastic, with human emotions that ebb and flow amidst the deep complexity of our lives, we are more resilient than we sometimes feel. If we manage to stay centered to our anchor, we can always find our way back upright, Vanka-Vstanka style.
A few weeks after our initial call, I heard back from my fellow alumna. After continuing to network, she had an interview lined up for later that week.
Way to go, Vanka.