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My long-term job search, at times felt like it would go on for years and years. But recently I received news I am looking forward to sharing!

The Emotional Toll of a Long-Term Job Search: Looking Forward

Since May 18, 2018, I have been sitting on pins and needles. I have written about my long-term job search over the past couple of years. Written about the stress of a search that stalls indefinitely. How success outside my field made me feel. And how I planned to reinvigorate my job search. My relationship, as of now, with my job search has been longer than I held my last full-time position. And since I last worked, the world has shifted in ways I haven’t experienced while working for others.

While all of this was happening to me and around me, my husband and I decided to buy a condo. Moving through this process without a full-time job that contributes to the income necessary for a mortgage has been stressful. But I also recognize my privilege, even though at times it hasn’t felt like a privilege. The heart and mind are strange at times, which explains much of what I wrote about in the posts listed above.

But that changed a month ago. I have been using Indeed and ZipRecruiter to help with my job search. Some of the recommendations haven’t fit my goals, others feel like the right direction to take for a career outside my higher education world. Recently I applied for a job in workforce development that seemed like a good fit for me.

I think Rachel was on to something with looking for one of those job things!


Looking Forward to New Adventures

Unlike job searching in my field in higher education, this job search took only 2 and a half hours of interviews. And it ended with an offer within 24 hours after the final interview. I am happy that I have found a position in a non-profit that will use my expertise and experiences to their fullest. That I didn’t need to change myself to be attractive to the employer. And above all, that the work will challenge me without making me feel as though I was sacrificing my values.

That last part, feeling like my values are intact and my skills remain employable, has made this years-long wait worth it. Even though I still have much to learn about the work at the nonprofit, I am thrilled at learning something new and interesting. After three years of trying to maintain some semblance of professional life, I am anxious about returning to full-time work at the tail-end of a pandemic.

I suppose this anxiety is natural. Thankfully, knowing and understanding this has helped temper these feelings.

And helped me to replace them with something close to joy.

My emotions have been conflicted, so I just feel okay about the news. I know this is part of the job-loss grief experience.

Looking Forward to the End of My Job-Loss Grief

The reason I am feeling something next-to-joy is that I never imagined the end of my higher education career would end this way. I had always imagine retiring from work at a college or university. Perhaps teaching in a graduate program. And maybe even receiving recognition from my peers within my professional associations for a career in higher ed.

These have been private dreams that fueled my job searching in higher ed, even when all my interviews ended without a job offer. Writing about this dream that won’t come true, right now, allows me to let it go. Maybe this new job will lead to re-entry into higher ed in a different role. But I still need to move on, even if it circles back to my old career.

Job-loss grief, like the grief experienced when you lose a loved one, is tricky to anticipate. But like the grief I experienced and continue to experience after my mom died last fall, I have to name it. Work to understand its root. And hopefully be mentally resilient when it pops up again.


Not the End, But a New Beginning

With the start of a new job and an imminent move to a new place in the next few days, I am rethinking what this blog will become. While some of the posts helped me with my job search, and ostensibly others who read, I will need to rethink what I could and should write about in the near future! This is an amazing problem to have and I look forward to exploring new beginnings. I know this is not the end of the blog or my work coaching others. But its impact may be different. Time and new experiences will guide me and I can’t wait to share what this will be. Until then, I will likely repost past posts until the move is completed and my new job is settled.

For those who have followed my journey, I appreciate your commitment to my work. It has sustained me when I felt my voice was muddled or stifled.

Like Alexis Rose, I love this journey for me!

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Joseph Rios, EdD
leadershipandvaluesinaction@gmail.com
I am Joseph Rios and I believe that leadership is an expression of our values
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