Written by Angelina Havaris, Canada
I graduated back in April with an honours degree in Creative Writing and English Language and Literature. Living in a mid-sized suburban city, I knew it was unlikely that I’d immediately find local posts related to my field (editing and journalism internships or jobs here are very rare, and remote opportunities are highly competitive), so I prioritised finding a job for general work experience over advancing my career.
I had a rough template in mind for what life would look like after I returned home from a short stint at a summer camp elsewhere: I’d start job hunting, find something, apply, get an interview, and I’d be hired shortly afterwards. I had always thought that most employers would be keen to hire fresh grads, since they’re easier to train and usually have fewer demands or expectations, plus many of my friends also received offers for full-time jobs upon graduation.
However, securing a job has been more difficult than what I’d envisioned. I’ve been looking and applying continuously for the past couple of months, sometimes submitting 3-4 job applications a day. Even trying to get entry-level jobs has proved to be a challenge. With requirements such as “Two years of previous experience in x” or “Proficiency in *insert niche software I’d never heard of* is strongly recommended”, each job seemed more out of reach than the last.
With student debt to pay off and the desire to be productive and get my life “started”, I couldn’t help but feel more and more pressured with each passing day. What if I never find a job? Will I ever be able to start saving up money? What about my future?
However, despite the struggle to find work, there have been many blessings that have come out of this season of job hunting. I don’t say this to make light of the struggles–believe me, I would love to be employed–yet I also can’t ignore the ways God has blessed me in the midst of uncertainty.
1. I Have More Free Time Than I Probably Ever Will
In the beginning, I’d frequently joke about having too much free time on my hands. In hindsight though, when am I ever going to have this much free time again?
Just because I’m not formally employed doesn’t mean I can’t work. After all, work extends beyond just our jobs or careers. In Genesis, we see that Adam is tasked with working in the Garden of Eden and caring for it (Genesis 1:15), which is about stewarding and taking care of what God has given us.
Work can also look like volunteering or cultivating a new hobby or skill. For example, I’ve been using this time to work on writing articles for publication. I’ve also been lifting weights to try and become physically stronger. Having a lot of free time also means being more flexible to spend more time with my friends and doing things whenever it’s most convenient for them.
I don’t believe having plenty of time means we should pack our schedule to the brim just for the sake of being productive. Ultimately as believers, we’re called to do everything for the Lord (Colossians 3:23), which, to me, means putting to good use what God has given me. By working on becoming a better writer, I can hone one of the gifts God has given me. By working to become physically stronger, I can use the body that God gave me to cultivate diligence. By spending time with friends, I can grow closer to them and enjoy the blessings that come from good friendships.
2. I Have Many Things to Be Thankful For
In this season of job hunting, it’s easy to get caught up in what I don’t have—not getting any replies, not landing interviews, not having a job and a steady source of income. It’s hard not to compare myself to my friends and peers or even my own expectations and wonder why I’m not where I thought I’d be. I’ve beaten myself up for not applying for jobs earlier or getting involved in more extracurricular activities while I was still in school. And yet, I know that comparison and being hard on myself only lead to bitterness towards others and self-loathing.
As believers, we’re given a choice of what to do in trying and unsatisfying situations, and that is to rejoice in God (Philippians 4:4). Rejoicing does not mean forcing ourselves to like the situation we’re currently in; rather, it is about turning our focus onto God and celebrating His goodness and faithfulness.
Even though I don’t have a job right now, I’m thankful for the many ways God has provided for me. I’m grateful I can live at home while trying to find work. I’m grateful for my friends and family and how supportive they’ve been. I’m grateful for the many experiences and opportunities I’ve had over the past couple of years.
It’s not a surprise that the call to rejoice is followed by this command: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6). As we rejoice in God’s goodness and faithfulness, it helps us realise that we can choose not to be anxious, but to present our requests to God, who is sovereign and looks after our every need.
3. I Have Grown Closer to God
This season of job hunting has reminded me that I tend to neglect spending time with God when life gets busy, even though I know it is important to walk closely with God regardless of what my circumstances may be.
So lately, I’ve been much more intentional in my relationship with God through spending time in the Word and being honest with Him in prayer. Not because I believe that growing closer to Him will convince Him to give me what I want, but because I know that drawing closer to him is good for me. It’s made this difficult time slightly more bearable, knowing that I’m not walking through it alone. As Psalm 73:28 says, “But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.”
It’s become a norm in Christian circles to only share about struggles after we’ve gotten through them, rather than while we’re still in the midst of the struggles. It’s as though God’s provision afterwards is the only tangible proof of His goodness. But even though I currently still don’t have a job, it doesn’t change God’s goodness.
If anything, I’ve been able to reflect on the ways in which God has been good in the midst of my struggle to find work. While I’ve often felt frustrated and discouraged about not being able to get a job, each day I’ve also had renewed hope to keep trusting in God.
One of my favourite hymns of all time is “Great is Thy Faithfulness”, and as I reflect on the lyrics in light of my circumstances, these lines have really resonated with me:
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness
Lord unto me
God’s provision is evident in more than just physical resources. Yes, he gives us physical things such as work, but His provision also extends to our emotional and spiritual wellbeing. Even though I don’t know whether I’ll have a job in a week or a month from now, I have seen how God’s goodness is constant, and how He’s blessed me all this time while job hunting.