Unemployed No More: I got a job!!

I’ve been applying for jobs for about a year now. Starting last March I was kind of lightly applying, like once a week or when I saw something that seemed really appealing, then over the summer I set a goal of applying to a job a day. I frequently didn’t meet that goal, sometimes like 15-20 days would pass between applications. Then I had surgery on September 30th of last year and was off work for a month. It was the most time I had not worked since I was like 16 and got my first not farm or babysitting job. It obviously gave me a lot of time to think (although maybe not as much time as you would think, the first 10 days after surgery all I could think about was how weak and tired I was) and I decided that when I went back to work I would give my notice. I set it for the end of the year to give me some more time to build up my savings (I had just not worked for a whole month and didn’t have a sick leave policy/benefits). I also kept applying for jobs during that time, but work was often so busy that I would come home and crash most nights. So when I left my job and moved home I started an Excel sheet tracking applications. That’s also when I really did apply to a job a day (sometimes 2 or 3). As I started to burn through my money (thanks student loan) I made a goal to apply to at least one remote/local job and one job in my field each day.

The job application tracker I made myself. There wasn’t actually that big a gap, or that few jobs applied to from February 2020-September 2020 I had just deleted all the email receipts for those applications by the time I made this tracker.

While it was definitely a lot easier to apply to jobs now that I wasn’t working it was still really challenging. Constantly applying to jobs is exhausting, evaluating yourself, writing and re-writing your resume and cover letter. Hell I even made an Instagram account and designed a whole bunch of potential media pieces to attract the attention of this job in New York City (I knew that I would have to do the very most since I would need immigration sponsorship to get that job and they specifically said in the job posting to be eligible to work in the USA). And then begins the questioning of yourself, why haven’t I heard anything from anyone? Am I not qualified? Was there any point in going to grad school? Have I completely ruined my chances for a job in the field by spending so much time in veterinary medicine? How the hell am I supposed to get experience if I don’t have any experience?

But then there were also the practical questions. How am I supposed to live in that city on that salary? Average rents there are how much?!?!? There are literally no apartments for rent in this town, WTF? I don’t know if I want to live there? Am I only applying to this job because I’m starting to feel desperate?

My job hunt kit: laptop, headphones, pen, agenda, and notebook.

And the other thoughts and opinions about the jobs: Ugh this is what I want to do. I know I don’t want to live there. This sounds like the most boring work. I really don’t want to do occupational health. F%$# I’m running out of money.

Back on December 23rd, 2020 I got a call from an HR officer confirming that I knew where a job that I had applied to was. It is a remote town in Northwestern Ontario, Sioux Lookout. It’s kind of the last town before you run into wildlife and the Canadian Shield. There are a lot of villages and First Nations Reserves north of it that use Sioux Lookout as a kind of healthcare and service hub. It’s about 4 hours north of Thunder Bay, Ontario and about 8 hours north of Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Then in early January I had a job interview with them. I didn’t think it went that well. And my internet went out just as we got to the do you have any questions for us portion and when the HR manager called me to continue the conversation my cell service dropped (rural problems). So I thought it was toast. Then towards the end of January, the man who would be my manger called me and asked if I had heard from the HR manager at all. I hadn’t which then made the call very awkward. Shortly after though the HR manager called me and offered the position.

Then came to me what was the most stressful part. I wanted to ask for more money. And the job offer literally had no mention anywhere of vacation time or sick days so I wanted to ask about that. So I went straight to my group chat with my friends (mostly women) from my grad program and asked them if they negotiated for their positions. Most of them hadn’t, but a few had and everyone said I should. So I sat on it for the weekend and on Sunday sent a response. I named a specific number that was higher than what my goal was. I was hoping they would come back in the middle. Closer to my goal.

It took a week for them to come back.

It was the longest week of my life. It was also my biggest earning week of the year. So I guess I have to agree with my friends, always ask for more. You might not get it, and if they say no you can make your decision from there, but always ask. Don’t demand it, don’t expect it, but gently ask for it. Express your gratitude for the position, explain why you think you deserve more, and then wait. Be patient, my request had to go through a full committee which is why it took a week. I also think that you should do it over email. It gives you time to type it out, edit it, sit on it for days if you need the time to. Also, don’t be afraid to take time. You are making a big decision, changing your job/career, potentially moving, take the time to make sure that you are making the right decision.

That was a big run on sentence, but basically, take time to think, ask for more money, and wait.

Also, I know I was applying for jobs daily for about 3 months, but if you are quitting your job to change your career, or you can see the writing on the wall at your current position (be it lay offs or terminations) I would say try to have 4-6 months of barebones expenses saved up. I applied for this job at the end of November and won’t get paid until March 26th. I worked until January 31, so it is only about 9 weeks without a pay cheque. But it is a long time to watch the numbers go down and down.

Anyways! I am super excited to be working again and to have a job in my goal field and be using my graduate degree!

Have you ever been unemployed or switched careers? How did your journey go?

Here’s to a great week!!


6 thoughts on “Unemployed No More: I got a job!!

  1. Congratulations! It’s so satisfying to know your degree will at least be utilised. I graduated last year and have had regular part-time employment, but I’m still in the process of planning exactly what I want to. I’m excited to hopefully one day find a job I’m passionate about

    Liked by 1 person

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