I’ve spend a long time in school or in training of some sort. Of course, we should all aim to be lifelong learners, but the days of tuition, proctored exams, and physically going to a classroom at a dedicated time each day/week are finally behind me. When I applied for my first “real” job it dawned on me how much time had been spent in training. Working backwards: 2 years of a MS (with concurrent 2-year pharmacy residency thrown in), 4 years of a PharmD, and 4 years of a BS.
As I reached the last half of my final year of residency (aka, job search and chill), I had to re-learn a whole new strategy of finding my path. For 10 years, I had a specified application deadline, a date I knew where I’d be for the next 2-4 years, and a defined next step. And finally in my late twenties I had to learn the lesson that life doesn’t work this way.
Is this what being an “adult” is supposed to be? So much uncertainty, taking risks, figuring out what I “should” be doing?
There’s a lot of pressure built up in finding the “perfect” first job out of residency. I mean, this is what I’ve been working for, right? I had to find something that is perfectly in line with what I lost all that sleep and years of my life from stress for. Otherwise, was it even worth it?
These questions brought me to a very different path. Instead of succumbing to fear of disappointing others, I looked into myself. Whenever anyone asked what I wanted to do after residency – I never was able to specifically state it. I know what I like, what characteristics I want in a position, but overall – I just want to be happy. So, that’s what I told people. And that’s what I used as my compass for the job search.
What makes me happy? I don’t want my job/career to define me. It is a large part of my life and I get fulfillment from it, but I make sincere efforts to not be defined by it. Multiple episodes of burnout brought me to this point, but that’s for another post.
In the end, I decided to live in a place where there is life happening all around me and all I have to do is walk outside to embrace it. I defined my job search boundaries as:
- Good public transportation
- Not the Southeast
- Good tech job opportunities for my boyfriend
I was left with: New York City, Chicago, Boston. I had leads in all three but at the end of the day, New York City won out.
The lesson I learned in the job search journey was really defining what I wanted out of a situation and embracing it. No matter what anyone else thought unless it was truly leading me down a damaging path.
Venturing to New York City isn’t for the faint of heart – or faint of wallets. Stay tuned for some tips we used/learned along the way!