What I learnt from 12 months of job searching
Cyril Tee // June 28, 2018, 4:01 pm
Getting a job shouldn’t be that tough. Besides, I’m a Singaporean and I’m going to graduate with a bachelor with an honours degree.
That was my mentality towards my impending job search while still in university. Though this was going to be my first time stepping into the workforce, I was sure I’d land a job easily because my industry was always publicised on the news as an one that is constantly growing and in need of employees.
I couldn’t be more naive.
As my job hunt began, I decided that I shouldn’t be idling around at home, waiting for interviews to be offered to me.
So I decided to work as an Uber driver as the incentives were enticing then. After my last exam in university, I took the car and started driving. I signed a 5-week contract with the car rental company, believing that I would be able to find a job within that time frame and I could return the car by then.
I imagined that the job search wouldn’t be too tough as long as I kept sending resumes out. What I didn’t realise was that I was going to be sending resumes for a much longer time than I had imagined.
God is working in my waiting.
After a month of driving, chasing after incentives and earning the most that I could out of it, I still had no job. My situation then evolved from “I should look for engineering jobs” to “I need a job – any job will do.”
The stress of this silent wait was compounded by the fact that my wife was pregnant with our first child – we had even more financial responsibilities to bear. I started to worry about my situation. I became desperate.
I started to send out resumes everywhere like a mad man. I even applied for jobs that weren’t in my industry or area of expertise. The outcome was not good: Less than ten out of the many companies that I’d written to had even gotten back to me, and I wasn’t offered any second interviews or positions.
It didn’t help much when friends around me started asking if I’d found a job. Some even questioned if I was being picky. The truth was, I had nothing to even be picky about! It was honestly a very trying and disappointing time.
Some thought that my asking salary was too high as I had no prior experience. Other jobs rejected me because they thought my results were “too good” for the positions they were offering. I was simply running into dead ends.
It didn’t help at all when I read a viral article about a Singaporean’s eight-year-long unemployment. It made me wonder if I might never get a full-time job. One by one, my peers started working in their full-time jobs, and there I was wondering why I was still unemployed. My self-esteem plummeted and I started faulting and condemning myself.
I should worked harder. I should have decorated my resume with more work experiences. This is the end for me.
… prayer should be our first response rather than our last resort.
I wondered whether God would ever give me a stable job – whether I would have to do odd jobs for life. What was all that hard work and studying for? Did God forget about me?
But each night, as I spent time alone with God, He assured me that He was there for me. It was in this difficult time in my life that I decided to trust God by faith and continue to press in and pray. A friend once told me that prayer should be our first response rather than our last resort.
Even though I was very discouraged, I kept this reminder close to heart and hung onto God, knowing that He is with me.
In November, I received a phone call from a company that I’d applied to some months ago.
They were going to set an interview date with me, but that dragged on for yet another few more months. I was all ready for it to be yet another futile attempt.
But six months after that phone call, I actually secured an interview and to my surprise – I got the job!
The commencement salary offered to me was also way beyond what I could’ve asked for as a fresh graduate with no prior experience. And as I write this, I’m finally starting work soon.
In retrospect, God’s timing is always perfect.
My year of not holding a full-time job meant that I had the flexibility of time to meet the needs of my family. While working as a driver, I had the flexibility to send my wife to work from the northern part of Singapore to the eastern part of Singapore.
I could bring her for check-ups comfortably in a car, send her to her night classes and pick her up afterwards. Our trips to baby fairs were always done quickly and efficiently with a car. We could bring home our purchases to prepare for the arrival of our newborn comfortably with ease.
The community of God around me has also been a tremendous blessing and support to me. My mentors and my cell group never once gave up on me, and they’re always spurring me on despite my imperfections and the negativity I held on to.
God’s timing is always perfect.
I’ve learnt that even through unfavourable situations, God is still watching over me. Even when it seems completely hopeless, God is still at work. God is working in my waiting.
While my eyes were fixated on what I was lacking and not getting, God was actually pruning me for something else. He planted me elsewhere to lead and serve my family in that season. He never forgot about me once even as I sat there in the waiting room.
Through this year-long wait, I have learnt to never look at the circumstance I’m in, but to God who’s backing me up and is in control of everything, even when it feels like I’ve run into a dead end.
He is always faithful.