I was contacted recently by someone who used to be very close to me in high school. We have not spoken in years and she apologized for that but said that she had been struggling to find a job this entire year and was hoping I may be able to help her out.
I am not easily offended by people who don’t stay in touch, I know life is busy and priorities change. I was moved by the message however as I can only imagine the desperation that can overcome you when you are approaching 30 years and are struggling with employment. My response was to offer her an internship with the promise to employee full time after a six-month period.
In that moment, I couldn’t help but compare our upbringings. We had been friends since grade three and growing up I was always jealous of the ‘white picket fence-ness’ and her traditional middle-class suburban upbringing and home. Her parents were happily married, she lived in a big home with a pool and drove a fancy car. Her mom packed her school lunch every morning and she was popular and got good grades. I was sure she was set up for success after school.
I on the other hand, came from a broken home where custody battles were ongoing due to two unstable parents, we moved a lot, were evicted twice, I was taking a minibus taxi to school on my own by the time I was nine and I was responsible for figuring out my meals each day. She got an allowance monthly and I was working three days a week in a restaurant by the age of 13.
I knew that I had a slight advantage over her at life when she came over to my house when we were just 10 years old, to find me cooking an entire meal from scratch. At this stage, she could not make a cup of coffee or fry an egg. I didn’t realize at the time just how much of an advantage my forced independence would give me.
I look at our lives now and am amazed at how different our lives turned out to what I had imagined. I always thought she would be the successful one and never imagined her struggling to find a job for the better part of a year. In fact, I struggle to imagine anyone articulate and confident in communication struggling with this.
Landing a job or starting a business, is never easy but it’s about the survival of the fittest in the end and how hard you are willing to hustle for what you want. If you are from a privileged background, present well, speak clearly and confidently and are competent, the only reason you will struggle getting a job is if you don’t have the follow through to keep going.
If you are struggling to get a job, it means you are not either trying hard enough, under qualified for the positions you are applying for or your CV and online persona are not representing you in a favorable way and it’s more than likely the last one. Most people do not pay enough attention to being different and standing out in their job applications.
There are many people who do not try hard enough, however, either in their CV’s or in life in general. If you truly want that job, if you are truly in need of work, you will find a way. Offer your services at your dream place of employment as an intern with the confidence that they will hire you, upskill yourself through workshops or courses or get a professional to spruce up your CV. Whatever it takes, in the noise that is today’s world, you need to go the extra mile to stand out and if you don’t you may well sit a year without work.
Just as much as entrepreneurship is a hard road, employment is not necessarily the easier option and work will not just fall into your lap- you need to hustle every damn day!