The following story is my experience job searching after college and the lessons in self worth God taught me along the way. This post begins a series in which I share encouragement and lessons learned from my uncensored testimonies as a millennial follower of Christ. I hope something you read today encourages you. If you can identify with my story, I urge you to share your own in the comments below. God wrote your story with purpose and detail. Your story is for someone else.
The Monday after graduation hit me in the face. Amidst the flurry of graduation caps, moving boxes, and celebration, I graduated from college unemployed and disappointed. I found it difficult to celebrate my achievement when I didn’t have anything to show for it.
Entering that season of unemployment post grad challenged my faith in God like no other. I had done everything I was supposed to and then some. I went on informational interviews, messaged connections on LinkedIn, attended countless networking events in school and in the city, and emailed old supervisors. By March, I started applying for jobs and landed a few interviews, but none resulted in an offer. There were so many doors that did not open like I expected.
So naturally, I came to graduation disappointed. So much anticipation is built up to graduation day, and when that milestone past, I was left high and dry and unemployed. I’m the kind of person who likes to keep busy, and when I’m not busy, I get anxious and feel like I need to be doing something. (You could say I’m not the best at “relaxing”) I felt like I was going insane sitting at home watching my bank account decrease everyday while hundreds of people went to 9-5 jobs everyday. I struggled to remember my purpose in the Lord. I felt worthless and unproductive.
So I restarted my search. To keep busy, writing job applications became my full time job. I applied to all kinds of jobs from entry-level PR to food service to office assistant to student jobs. As weeks went by, I kept counting. It’s been X number of weeks and I still don’t have a job. I was so close to giving up and moving home (my last resort plan Z).
But I stuck with Him. Almost everyday, I spent time with the Lord reading through the book of Psalms. I sympathized with David’s suffering, but I was amazed at how he stayed close to God no matter what persecution he faced. As I kept my ears open, God finally spoke words of self-worth through the people around me.
Through a director interviewing me for a job: She asked me about my salary range. I agreed with the number on the job description. She offered to give me a higher salary because I was more qualified. “Never work for free,” she said.
Don't get me wrong; I don't think I'm too good or overly qualified for a minimum-wage job. In the past, I've worked in food service and loved the experience. I was willing to accept whatever door the Lord opened. In my case, God just wasn't calling me back to food service. This interview reminded me that, as a college graduate, I'm worth more.
Through a Youtube video: Health & Fitness Youtube star Cambria Joy shared how she struggled to make friends when she first moved to her hometown, in a recent video. “Grow where you’re at right now," she said. "Sometimes there’s a lot more growing opportunities when it’s raining.” In other words, we grow the most in the rainy seasons in our lives. The Lord will bring the sunshine; we just have to be patient with Him.
In response to this video, I shared my job search story in the comments. Receiving over 80 likes, over 15 people replied sharing their similar job search challenges, praying for me and encouraging me to keep pressing on. God literally reached out through strangers to encourage me and walk in His will. (Extra special shout out to Cambria for sparking the love and support to create such a community where we can encourage others the same ways she encourages us!)
Through a close friend: A friend of mine catalogs her day and posts motivational messages on Instagram stories. One message in particular really struck me. “Don’t settle for less than what you’re worth," she said. "Know your worth and know that you’re bomb as heck.”
Through my mother: I told her I didn’t feel qualified for a job I was about to interview for. She simply replied, “You have to believe in yourself.”
This whole time I thought God was trying to test my faith when He was really teaching me lessons in patience and self-worth. God put me on this path post grad for a purpose. He knows exactly where he’s placing me so His will can be done. I do not need to be anything more for God to love me or for God to use me. In case you forgot, God loves you. He is going to bless and provide for you just as he always has because He loves you as His child.
Originally written June, 13, 2017.