During my posting hiatus, I was immersed in the job search. I had a few on-campuses and a great deal of time to sit and reflect. The search process was stressful and seemed to take many turns. Yet, now that it is concluded, I felt it important to share my thoughts here for other folks that will search or are still searching.
The (False) Hope of TPE
I attended The Placement Exchange in Indianapolis. I had an interview schedule that I was happy about and a few jobs that I was intrigued by. It was a busy three days, yet I left TPE feeling good about my experience.
TPE has a mythic lore surrounding it. No matter who you ask, you will get some opinion that mentions the importance of self-care and not to do too many interviews. Both of those bits of advice were true. What I found frustrating was the amount of folks that I spoke to, all made it sound as if TPE is where you will get your job. For me, that was not the case. TPE was great practice for interviews, but I felt the pressure to get a job from TPE and when I kept getting ‘no thanks’ emails after TPE, my stress levels skyrocketed. However, that does not mean that TPE does not work for some people. TPE was a generally positive experience and I would recommend it to anyone searching.
During my search I had four on-campus visits, one of which was for a non-student affairs position. These experiences all varied, but what stayed true was the exhausting nature of the on-campus. As an introvert, having to talk about myself all day is not only taxing, but slightly stress inducing. The seemingly never ending onslaught of people talking with you and little time to take a breath alone was an experience that I don’t want to experience again.
I had hoped that the on-campuses would allow time to recharge, even for a few minutes, during the course of the day. However, that was not the standard and I would find myself hurrying to the bathroom just to be in silence.
Landing the Job
The job search is a vastly different experience for everyone who goes through it. Some are bound by geography, others by functional area. Yet, no matter what stipulations you have (or don’t have), the search is not any less challenging. The process is bumpy and an emotional roller coaster. One of my cohort-mates, describes the search as a constant state of being manic, and I find it hard to disagree with her.
After my on-campuses and the initial offer, I was ecstatic. The job that I most connected with was the on-campus I felt least confident in, yet they saw something in me that would work on their team. I could not be happier to be working there starting in July.
It is a surreal feeling, knowing I am done with the search. I don’t think it has really sunk in that I am done with graduate school and will be starting full time employment. Yet, the lessons I learned through the job search will stay with me as I advance through this field.