Patience, Grasshopper

by Claire Schmieder, now Senior Editor, and formerly Head Editor, INALJ New Jersey
previously published 12/4/13

Patience, Grasshopper

Claire.Schmieder.SeniorEditorIt’s official – after an eleven-month job search, I have accepted a position with the Alice Paul Institute. You’re looking at their new Program Associate, folks, and I am so, so excited about the work I’ll be doing. The API is a small non-profit organization and their mission is to promote full gender equality through education, development, and empowerment of leaders. If you’re not familiar with API, I urge you to take a peek at their website.

During my longish job search, I had to exercise great patience – no small task since I am an admittedly impatient person – in a number of ways.

I resisted applying for every single job within my designated “commuteable zone.” As the New Jersey Head Editor, I came across hundreds of jobs for which I met or exceeded the minimum qualifications. Except they were in public libraries. I am blown away by the work that public librarians do, but their vocation is not my vocation. In all, over those eleven months, I applied to 22 jobs. That’s it. Granted, I am somewhat limited by my geographic location, so there were fewer jobs that I actually wanted to apply for. However, that number would have been much, much higher if I applied to every single job within my zone. Instead, I focused on writing really excellent cover letters, fine tuning each resume I sent out, and reaching out to trusted contacts to see if they could offer advice, or even put in a good word for me when possible.

I only applied to jobs on Mondays and Wednesdays. Without a full-time job, I had free time during the day. I could have chosen to apply to jobs every day. However, to avoid burnout and frustration, I decided that I would only apply to jobs on Mondays and Wednesdays. I used my time on the other days to volunteer, run errands, and work part time. I knew that if I spent every free moment writing cover letters, then I would be miserable. My two-day-a-week schedule allowed me to spend more time focusing on the individual job applications instead of robotically applying to job after job.

I resisted negative thinking. Being more self reflective has absolutely made me a more patient person. Instead of rushing through every feeling I have, I take the time to think about WHY I’m feeling the way that I am. For example, I was feeling frustrated over the summer by how hard it was to apply for jobs while I was at home with my kids. Instead of letting the frustration get the better of me, I made a choice: unless the world’s most perfect job appeared, I would take a complete hiatus from my applications over the summer. Making an actual decision about how to manage my job search helped me feel more in control, and thus less frustrated.

By being patient and by making strategic decisions about my job hunt, I was able to stay positive and in control of my emotions and my career. And, with patience, I was able to stay the course until I found a job that is an excellent fit for me.


special thanks to Kyle Cassidy who took the wonderful photo- nh

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