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  • Writer's pictureBayLeigh Routt

Overcome Anxiety While Job Hunting

Many of us have traveled along the tough, tiresome, and emotionally taxing road known as job hunting. It’s exhausting. It’s long. It sucks. Job hunting is incredibly anxiety inducing and difficult, even at in its simplest form. It’s hard and stressful enough, but still not having a single clue what I want to do with my future makes even little things about job hunting even more anxiety inducing. I've been very lucky to work with great companies and amazing people (leaders and peers included), but I still have doubts about my future and my long-term career. Sometimes it is a lot easier to identity what you don’t want to do if someone offers ideas than it is to come up with even the slightest idea of what I want to do job or career wise.

For what seems like forever, I’ve searched relentlessly for job openings on common websites like LinkedIn and; I’ve spent hours updating and improving my LinkedIn profile to better showcase my skills, experience, and talents. If you’re passionate about certain causes or taking action, is also a great resource. Idealist, a nonprofit based in New York, is a resource much like the other two I previously mentioned, is geared to those who are motivated by big ideas, passionate about collaborating to support causes, and determined to make long-lasting change. Idealist was recommended to me by a friend as we were both wrapping up our year of service as AmeriCorps VISTAs; I was, and still am, interested in establishing a career for myself that contributes to something much bigger than myself. If you’re like me, I think you may enjoy using Idealist while job hunting because it allows you to filter your search based on “organization type” (such as nonprofit or government) or “issue areas” (i.e. agriculture, arts & music, energy, human rights, legal assistance, reproductive health, etc.). also allows you to search for jobs using typical filters you’ll find on resources like LinkedIn or Indeed (like location or professional level).

Woman wearing black classes bites on a pencil nervously staring at her laptop

Sometimes before I start another round of job searching, I brainstorm a variety of things so that the process is focused. I like using the Passion Planner Roadmap to consider my goals or expectations as well as how they may have changed, even if I completed one recently. I also like using the Passion Planner monthly reflections because it includes great questions that help guide my brainstorming sessions. While I’m brainstorming, I like to list my talents and skills in addition to the fields I know I’m good at—even if I’m not certain that’s the direction I want to pursue. Job hunting requires a great deal of personal understanding and questioning. I’m doing my best to make job hunting as easy and logical as I can, but it’s still extremely stressful emotionally because I don’t know what I want to do; combined with anxiety, job hunting is extremely difficult. I’m certain that someone out there feels the same way—no matter how much brainstorming, researching, or planning you do to relieve some stress.

As someone with anxiety, the job hunting is especially tiresome because of how my brain operates. I genuinely struggle to understand what I want to do job-wise in the short-term, which help me sustain a job in the long-term or even build a career. To some degree, I know what I’m good at—and I could use that to my advantage job or career wise; however, that does not necessarily equate to what I should (or even want) to do. Farnoosh Brock, the founder and president of Prolific Living, started the business when “it became clear that a corporate job was not enough to fulfill [her] purpose, [her] mission and [her] dreams…” Together Brock and her husband left their corporate jobs and became full-time entrepreneurs. In a blog post about getting to know yourself, Brock says:

“Knowing yourself is the process of understanding you—the human being—on deeper levels than the surface. It is an unpredictable road that you must be willing to explore. It brings you face-to-face with your deep self-doubts and insecurities. It makes you take a serious look at the way you are living your life and put it to question.The whole thing can suck for a little while but then it gets better, and like anything else, a little hard work at the start pays dividends in abundance for the rest of your life.”

For the past few months, I have tried my best to explore my passions and interests; I have attempted to do some soul searching and figure out what “my calling” may be in order to make the job search easier. Months later and I’m still no closer to understanding myself or figuring out what kind of job I want — even one that isn’t necessarily a life-long career. Trust me: I have spent lots of agonizing hours and nights trying to figure out who I am or what kind of job I might want to have, but it’s fallen short. If anyone has any general tips for job hunting, advice for trying to understand yourself and figure out what type of job you might want, or any information at all, I would be more than grateful to hear your thoughts.

If you are like me and live with anxiety, consider checking out these sources about how to manage your anxiety when job hunting.


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