Why do we hate job searching so much? Why is job searching so hard?
“What do you mean, ‘why’? Job searching sucks! Everyone knows that!”
Well, yes it does. But it’s one thing to know that you hate job searching; it’s quite another to interrogate why you hate job searching.
That’s what we’ll try to unpack today.
Undoubtedly, the reasons why job searching sucks are innumerable. But, in this article, we’ve tried to pin down 4 core reasons why the job search process is so difficult for so many of us.
Like all content on Beyond the Professoriate, this post is directed chiefly towards graduate students, recent PhDs, and academics of all stripes.
However, if you’ve ever felt defeated, frustrated, or enraged by the job search process, we hope this article will provide some modicum of solace no matter what industry you’re in.
No one likes being judged by others. But, during the job search process, you are constantly, incessantly, subjecting yourself to the callous judgments of random strangers.
Imagine this: you pour your heart and soul into your cover letter and craft a resume that perfectly encapsulates your professional life, achievements, and aspirations. Then you upload your documents to the company website, and … wait.
If the employer likes your resume and offers you an interview, awesome! If they don’t, you hear nothing. Or, arguably worse, you get one of those soul-crushing “Thank you for applying” generic rejection emails.
In other words, job seekers are forced to live according to the principle of external validation. This is, perhaps, the fundamental reason so many of us hate job searching.
You are forced, day in and day out, to worry about what other people think of you: of your career aspirations; your skills and experiences; how you look and sound during the interview; etc. You’re happy if and only if some authority figure (the employer) gives their approval.
Establishing internal sources of validation is an essential step in growing as an individual. Happiness, contentment, and fulfillment are always most meaningful when found within. But a job search, by its very nature, precludes this kind of internal validation.
(For more, please check out this article on the value of internal validation.)