Bouncing Back From A Career Low Point

We all hit our career search low points.  For some of you, job hunting might be the first time you were rejected or didn’t get something you (thought you) wanted.

I have certainly had plenty of ups and downs in my own career search. The ultimate low point was back in 2002…


My senior year at Stanford coincided with the dot.com bust.  Only two years prior, my classmates had been getting ridiculous signing bonuses and stock options.  But by 2002, those had evaporated, and then our career center burned down (yes, seriously).  At graduation, I had a couple of local teaching offers, but turned those down to move home while I continued to submit applications.

Meanwhile, my younger brother was a hometown hero thanks to an illustrious high school basketball career.  His career search was going far better than mine. He distributed fliers in the neighborhood, advertising his basketball coaching as well as house and petsitting services.  Bombarded with basketball clients, he outsourced the house and petsitting to me.  So I spent that summer collecting mail, watering plants, and walking dogs while my little brother took a 20 percent cut.

The true low point came when I started taking care of a horse.  Here I was with my bachelors and masters degrees from Stanford, shoveling manure in the 100+ degree Sacramento heat. I wondered where things had gone so wrong in my career search.


If only I had known what I know now about networking, resumes and cover letters, I’m sure I would have secured an interesting (and air conditioned) corporate role rather than having to spend that summer hanging out with horses in the heat.  But then again, that experience was what spurred me to start my own business. It made me a big believer that everything works out for a reason if you commit yourself to the search process.

Yesterday, during my morning run, the song “This” came on and I felt like it embodied the ups and downs of the career search.  Plus, Darius Rucker is one of the ultimate career switchers, going from the lead singer of a popular 90s rock band to a solo country artist 20 years later!

Here are some of the lyrics:

Maybe it didn’t turn out like I planned
Maybe that’s why I’m such, such a lucky man

For every stoplight I didn’t make
Every chance I did or I didn’t take
All the nights I went too far
All the girls that broke my heart
All the doors that I had to close
All the things I knew but I didn’t know
Thank God for all I missed
Cause it led me here to

I didn’t understand it way back when
But sitting here right now it all makes perfect sense

Down the line, whether it is next year or years from now, when you are speaking on a panel or giving someone advice, it is going to seem like your career all makes perfect sense.  Until then, keep up with the informationals, meet regularly with a career coach, and try to enjoy all of this.

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