Job hunting when you're exhausted


Job hunting is a very emotional process, riddled with ups and downs. FILE PHOTO | SHUTTERSTOCK

Being interviewed multiple times a year, for several companies, each requiring hours of preparation and then getting a regret email or silence afterwards can be exhausting.

For Larry Shikanda, job hunting has been a roller coaster of emotions. A stormy voyage, he says.

He has been an A student since high school, pursued Public Health at the university, and done professional courses since 2018, but every time he applies for a job he gets a regret notice.

He has just secured one contractual job which came to an end barely after him settling in. As soon as Covid-19 eased, the contract was not renewed.

“To survive, I have ventured into online writing doing health articles but ChatGPT has now taken the bulk of it,” he says.

Job hunting is a very emotional process, riddled with ups and downs. Nowadays, it requires one to elevate their networks, interact with other interviewees, and get wind of what exactly the industry needs.

But how do you continue job hunting despite the exhaustion? Or use the period to define your why and reinvent yourself for newer job opportunities.

Experts say you have to allow yourself to get into a place of exploration and empowerment, which will motivate you to find space for job hunting instead of filling that space with paralysing anger or fear.

Sarah Omaya, a Human Resource manager at Africa Biosystems says that job hunting exhaustion most times comes after looking for a job for more than three months and not succeeding.

Others are more resilient and it can be a year or two.

Read: Only 9pc of Kenyans have permanent, full-time jobs

What do you do?

She says the first thing is to identify whether it is you or the company that has a problem.

“Stop and analyse why you are not getting responses,” she says.

Many a time, job seekers tend not to have their profiles ready, that is curriculum vitae, resume, and LinkedIn profiles as per the job they are seeking.

Secondly, the problem could be stemming from applying for a job that does not match your competencies or you are not preparing well for the interview.

However, sometimes things may not be in your control.

“Companies have different policies. Some take a month, others three. Also, roles, budget, and leadership change but are all these in your control? No! You cannot control whether you are a culture fit in the company or not,” she says.

Be that as it may, if you are the type to get anxious after an interview, do not be shy to ask when to expect feedback.

So that if the time frame elapses and you have not heard from them then you already know the response.

Nevertheless, when you’ve done all that pertains to being ready personally and still do not get a positive response, take a breather, be compassionate with yourself, and re-focus.

What will keep you going?

Most of the time, job seekers worry too much but do nothing about their current job status. “Worry is like a rocking chair. Keeps you busy, gets you nowhere,” Ms Omaya says.


Sarah Omaya, a Human Resource with Africa Biosystems Limited. FILE PHOTO | POOL

As a job seeker, you need to prepare an activity schedule. Block some time off each day to send in your application. It is recommended to do so after doing something you love.

Also, tell people that you are looking for a job. Try and solve a problem within the company you are targeting. This way you become an asset to them.

“Move away from the computer and engage with people face to face,” she says.

At what point do you tap out and seek alternatives?

Lucas Marang'a, a transition coach with Cedar Africa Group shares that years back, he bought a truck that cost some pretty pennies to run a transport business.

“It ran for a long minute but it could not sustain itself. So, the truck was repossessed by the bank and since I had put my piece of land as security it was all gone,” he says.

Looking back, Mr Marang'a notes that he should have quit the first time he got a warning letter from the bank.

Read: Job satisfaction: Does your workplace meet these needs?

“I kept digging, convincing myself it would turn around. I was hopeful, a foolish one if I may say,” he says.

Similarly, with job seeking, it is harder to be clear on when to leave. Sometimes all it takes is an inward reflection on one’s skills and capabilities.

Mr Marang’a wears many hats, some of which he has discovered through frustrations and hitting rock bottom.

For instance, when he started writing, he did so to blow off some steam. He never thought he would write things that people would consume.


Lucas Marangá is a transition coach with Cedar Africa Group. FILE PHOTO | COURTESY

Almost six years into it, he has been able to write and make money out of it. “If you are stuck and it is not working you are looking for the wrong places.”

Transitioning should not be limited to what one studied. It stems from the heart, what you are passionate about, and up-skilling.

“For instance, my aunt pursued dentistry but got to a point where she was inclined to be a human resource practitioner and she went for it. When you lead from the heart, transitioning becomes easy,” he says.

When you start feeling smouldering discontent, it is evident you need to move to the next level. However, he cautions that job hunting should not start when you are at rock bottom but when all is glossy.

Asking yourself what else you can do or offer sharpens your skills.

“As the sun rises and sets, so will your job. One day you have it, evening comes and you are out of one.”

Before the day comes, once you feel that you are no longer interested in doing what you do, start looking at the other side. The grass could be greener there.

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