Stephanie's August 2020: First post, Lessons, and more!

Here's to my first blog post and reflection of life post-college


Welcome! Needless to say, August was another month that seemed to "fly by", however I decided to savor it a bit by starting these monthly recaps.

Still in quarantine? Living back at home? No more school? What exactly is life after college?


It varies, but I hope you enjoy reading a bit about my world as I enjoyed writing this reflection. -- Stephanie

 

[Notice: I get carried away and am quite the lengthy writer, so get ready for a long read!]


Lifestyle: Day in the Life of a Post-Grad Career Seeker

Over the past month, my weeks have been relatively the same in terms of daily activities, but differently in the way I now perceive them.


Mornings:

10:30am: This is when I typically start off my day if I don’t have any calls or interviews. (lol guilty pleasure of sleeping in now that I don’t have school!)

  • I like to make myself coffee right after I wake up. I just love the taste of coffee, and it makes all mornings better. I typically choose instant just because I can't be bothered in the kitchen too long now that I'm living back at home.

11:00am: Start job role sourcing, people sourcing, and content sourcing

  • If I have interviews, I tend to schedule them around this time in the morning, I don’t know why but mornings just feel right to me!

  • On interviewing: my sister sleeps in till 1pm (lol ikr wtf) so I don’t use my room. My dad uses the living room to jump on his work zooms, so that leads me to kick my mom out of her room and I use that one to go on interviews. Ah another side-effect of living with a lot of people again. 

Afternoons:

12:00pm: I typically start sending outreach messages around noon because this is when I assume most people would be on a lunch break and on their phones/linkedin. I’m surprised at how long it still takes me to craft messages. Any other over-writers out there?


2:00pm: If someone does reply to me, late afternoon is when they would be open to having a chat. I wonder if this would be my open free time one day too


3:00pm: I have a bad habit of eating late after I finished my tasks (taken from my mom).

It has been nice being at home means my mom already has something home cooked and ready for me :)


Evenings:

4:30pm - 6:00pm: Walks with my sister is probably one of my favorite times of the day to just shut off. These walks to some place different every now and then, also rekindled my love for the neighborhood and city I live in.


Nostalgic places -- yet seeing some new store(s) open or park renovations, reflecting on old shops that closed down, and enjoying the ones that are still open since I was a kid. You really can walk anywhere in San Francisco and find anything within a foot’s reach, something I missed living in the suburbs and something I treasure deeply in my evening walks.


7:00pm: To kill the mood, I take a nap around this time. I can't help it I just start to get drowsy...


Nights:

9:30pm: After a workout and shower, I tend to eat dinner around this time. Yeah still gotta work on those meal times..


10:00pm: Notice how I put “job and people source” in my mornings, but not actually apply? Most of my actual applying goes during this time at night because that’s the time when I don’t send messages, jump on an info call, or interview. 


11:00pm-3:00am: And probably the most important change in my lifestyle during the month of August.

I spend this time rewatching old TV shows and re-falling in love with them in a different way, youtube-ing, sketching art, or watching dramas with my mom.

Being jobless can be a very anxious position, and I used to do career related stuff all day and night until it was time to sleep and restart. More to discuss later in the post, but it was really in August after a rejection, I decided to dedicate my nights as my “me time” and I’ve been excited for other non-job things when I wake up. Such as, what’s going to happen in the next episode I watch! 


Weekends: In August, I decided to sign out of LinkedIn on my phone on weekends. Best choice ever. I spend weekends with family and friends out doing non-work things, and I believe it's very much needed!

 

Lows: Rejections, rejections, and ... rejections?

It’s ironic how the two things that drive me in life (family/friends/community and a rewarding career), are also the two things that can hurt me the most.


The post-grad hunt is full of rejections, and August was no exception.

I've applied to more roles than I can count, and received just as many auto no-reply rejects.

I’ve interviewed with 3 companies in roles I wanted, each took about 3+ weeks to interview, and I got rejected from 2. (I'm hanging on a thread still interviewing for the last one)


Hard part is knowing that I almost had it, something almost perfect.

The rejection for the Product Marketing role really broke me. This being an ideal role of mine, and the second time I got rejected after making it far into rounds, made it all the worse.

And that’s exactly why after hitting this low, I decided to take a step back mid-August, and dedicate my 11-3am nights to “me time” activities.


The hardest part after the rejection for me, is my family and community. 
I don’t know if it’s the first-gen identity in me, or that I had lived such an amazing life compared to my family and many others -- but the feeling of being necessary to my family and now SF community, is profound. 

I didn’t think too much about my first “internship” the summer in high school 2014. I wanted to learn how to earn money on my own, experience an office life, even though all I did was admin tasks. Nothing too special. My parents and grandfather however, got super hopeful, like I was some future changer. (And of course at the time, I didn’t join VSA yet, and didn’t understand my family’s upbringing)

The next summer I did the same, with something more refined -- and that would repeat for the next years until now.


What I didn’t notice was that my family wasn’t the only one with growing hope. 

I am SO fortunate to have had the experiences I’ve had today, because of the nonprofit and communities I joined in high school who supported my growth. Because of that, they were also anticipating my graduation date and what I would do after.

As much as I want to keep my job search status a secret until I get a yes, it’s just so hard when everyone’s asking you and living with parents. 


And that’s exactly why, when I got rejected after making it so far in early August -- I wasn’t just disappointed for myself, when sharing the rejection news I felt like I shattered the hopes of my family and community.


Rejections in August, Just an all time low..):


 

Lessons: My favorite part to an ending

You can't choose the situation you're born into, but I believe we have the power to choose how we perceive things and take action to bring change. Lessons are the light of a low.


1) It all starts with: STOP complaining and comparing yourself

Let’s be honest, I’ve had my fair share of complaining why things didn’t work out.

After making it far into the process for two companies, I initially complained about myself and thought “why? there MUST be something wrong with m---”wait don’t finish that line. 

Don’t let rejection take over your life, and especially don’t let it lose sight of who you are.


2) No matter how tough it is, you HAVE to continue doing!

Things may be unfortunate, but it’s only permanent if you do nothing about it.


3) Have Hope

Have hope that things will somehow work out if you continue to work hard. Maybe some will say I’m being overly optimistic, but having hope is what I have to do when I’m feeling low. 


4) Let go of things you can't control

This is part 1 of my greatest lesson this month. I can’t express how liberating it was mid-August, to accept and let go of things I cannot control.


Focusing on what I can control: whether that’s in the job hunt, with my family and friends, or creating outlets of happiness for myself.

Letting go of things I can’t control: who gets the job, how one feels about me, and many more, is what saved me and brought me to the state of mind I have today.


5) You are NOT your job

Part 2 of my greatest lesson this month. This one was very hard to take in, especially because I feel like I’m a very articulate person and have prepped multiple steps ahead to not fail.


The reality is, finding a job is NOT easy and it's toxic to measure your worth by it. Now, I like to measure who I am based on what I care about and how I take action towards it. 


My family continues to care for me even though I am jobless. A non-profit scholarship program I’m a part of, invited me to speak on a panel for Changemakers Building Positive Workplaces -- wholeheartedly knowing that I am still jobless. 

Fearful? Definitely. But wholeheartedly determined to share my story, especially as an underrepresented person in corporate and tech, and to bridge the gap for future students. 


I came across this article on my LinkedIn feed that couldn’t have been more fitting. No not by some influencer, but by an author I had to read novels for in AP English Lang, Toni Morrison.

It’s definitely worth a read if you have a minute:  The Work you do, The Person you are.


Understanding my worth is more than the job I’m given, free’d all the negative thoughts in my mind.
I hope this piece free’s you, too.


 

Picture choice of the month: Hope, Bunnies, and Happy (almost) Mid-Autumn Festival


With this being the first-ever post, I decided to dedicate to things I really like: Lotus and Bunnies.

Not sure if it’s because of the inspiring story of the lotus, it’s pretty pink color, or my buddhist origin and my dad’s love at home for the flower too -- I’ve always loved the Lotus flower. 


The lotus story, to grow beautifully despite being born in murky water -- brings hope during the darkest of situations. These times are difficult, especially amidst a pandemic, and I hope this lotus brings you some hope for the future. 

I just love bunnies, no deep backstory for it. BUT, it’s now September, which means we’re also reaching the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival. A sign that summer really is passing us soon this year. Let’s welcome Fall, wrap up the year strong, and have hope.


Until next time,

-- Stephanie


 

And, if you had zero takeaways from my post, I hope I can at least give you some song recommendations!


Songs I've been listening to this month:

  • No Fear No More -- Madeon

  • Red Lights (Just a Gent Remix) -- Kill Paris

  • Superlove (ft Oh Wonder) -- Whethan

  • B.S. (ft H.E.R.) -- Jhene Aiko

  • Teenage Fantasy -- Jorja Smith

  • Get Your Wish -- Porter Robinson