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Finding a job is an ongoing challenge for many in communications and PR. Here’s an insight into how it really feels to be in the midst of that struggle.

by Son Pham

It’s Friday and it’s supposed to feel good.

But that’s not the case. Perhaps I’ve indulged myself in too much Netflix when in fact, life is like a novel where we need to write our own story, and in that story, we smile, we cry, we laugh, we struggle, and we fight. We have to fight.

Because like 1/3 of the population (or 100% of LinkedIn), I am looking for a job at the moment. I long for the days I can proclaim I’m thrilled. I wish I could just say: “I am delighted to announce that I accepted a new job offer”, but I have to let you down here.

I received the email this morning. Unfortunately, I am not successful this time with my application for a role at a company that I would love to work at. After four rounds of process, from sending the CV to interview and a problem-solving brief, it’s a bit frustrating when I can’t get the job that I love, at a company that I love. I said a massive thank you to them because at least they respect my application and my efforts; giving me personalized feedback. Also, it’s always such a humbling experience to have the chance to talk to people you admire. The way they treat a candidate like me is not different from their statements on their website and social media.

I’m not moaning. I’m just confused. I thought we are trying to build a better place. I was completely ghosted by another company that I admired very much by the work that they’re doing. I went to the last interview with them after two initial rounds. They gave me their word they would get back to me. They never did. Even after I sent a follow-up email. How can you do that when you have a social media presence built on how you treat people?

Maybe because I’m a Libra, I just felt betrayed by that. If you chose to not take me on board, just let me know. I can’t stand being kept hanging. Don’t we work in Communications.

I know that I deliberately chose to come to another country, to be a stranger in a strange culture, to leave the comfort of my native language to a second language country. I know that I’m just about to graduate, with only some working experience under my belt. I know that everyone has to go through what I’ve gone through with the job market, to be able to find the job that they want. I know that I’m not in a position to moan. But I know that I don’t want my parents to tell me “I told you so! You can have everything in Vietnam.” Well not everything-everything, but you know what they meant.

I was born and raised in Vietnam where the prejudice of society is strong. Boys need to play football with blue trousers. Girls need to become a barbie in a pink dress, for the sake of everybody except themselves. Boys learn Math and Science, girls learn Literature and Language. Parents are always right. Teachers are always right. People who are even only two years your senior are always right. The society is always right. The monologue where the opinions of others are supposed to be higher than yours is always there. You have to listen to people who are older than you even if what they say is illogical or unreasonable. You have to listen, or else you are a bad kid. It is extremely hard for kids to express themselves when they are imprisoned in their own thoughts. Who’s going to listen to them anyway? Whatever you do, you’ll never be good enough, for your parents, for the society. There is no conversation. Sorry, nobody ever left the chat but there is never a real conversation. Growing up I’ve wanted myself to be heard, to be listened and to be respected and I don’t want anybody to feel like their voice isn’t be heard.

It’s communications after all, two-way communication. I’ve learnt of that. I just don’t see any harm of being kind to others, respectful to others, kids, adults, grown-ups, everyone. We have to learn to be kind to others, carefully.

Where am I going from this? I guess I have to fight. I guess I can let myself be scared but can’t let myself be afraid. I guess I have to have that resilience and that confidence. About two weeks ago, I got a chance to talk to people about confidence and how to maintain it, because I felt lost, I felt deflated, I feel like I’m a failure, but there is one thing I will always remember, that is: “Keep knocking doors. If no door opens, keep knocking harder.”

And this: “Take every rejection as learning opportunity and an impulse to become the best you can be, and one of the very best at what you do. Fight the urge to be an ostrich and push your limits.”

It’s Friday and it’s supposed to feel good. And I’ll move. I’ll fight. I’m only one story away.

Son Pham is an MA in PR and strategic communications at Leeds Becketts University and looking for work opportunities. You can say hello on Twitter at @BeyondSon

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 Image via OSU Special Collections

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