“Thank you for applying for a position in our company. Unfortunately, we chose not to proceed with your application.”
These words are painfully familiar to a lot of Millennials starting their careers. We are eager to get a job to get experience. But you need the experience to get a job, and the whole thing starts to sound like an updated version of the “chicken or egg” dilemma. There are many reasons why it’s harder for us today than it was for the older generations. Companies expect graduates to have certain skills rather than provide training for them for a position. Business requirements are also changing fast, which makes it hard for universities to keep up giving the students the relevant skills for work.
Navigating in this uncertain environment is stressful, but eventually, most people figure it out and manage to start up their career. For some, it takes more time than for others. When you get turned down from one job opportunity after another, things can start to seem very grim. Why even try when it starts to look impossible? Some start having difficulties sleeping, a sustained stress can lead to anxiety, and even worse: depression.
There are a lot of misconceptions about anxiety and depression. Becoming sad because you didn’t get the job that you wanted is not depression. The creeping feeling of not having any prospects from being consistently turned away and feeling powerless because of it, might be. The misconceptions are part of the problem because they can lead to stigmatization. In developed countries roughly 50% of those with mental health problems do not receive help. When you look at developing countries, the number jumps up to a shocking 90%. In many countries, there is a stigma related to mental health issues, and that’s only making it harder for those who struggle with them. It might be hard to even admit that there might be something wrong.
It’s true that most people will pull through. But today, it’s more likely for you or someone that you know to suffer from anxiety purely because of worrying about your future. If you don’t, that’s good, but if you do, you should be able to recognize it. The misconceptions are a part of the problems of mental health. In a poll conducted in the USA, 20% of people reported getting feelings of depression after one year of job search. That is a significant amount of those looking for jobs.
There is no one solution that will work in every case. But part of finding a solution is recognizing that there is, in fact, a problem. You have to listen to yourself, and how you feel, you need self-awareness for that. Once you admit that things are not how they should be, (or if someone who you know tells you that), you can start looking for solutions. Many times, that in itself can give you a feeling of relief. Talking about talking about mental health with other people can help you realize that maybe your problems are not as unmanageable as you thought. If you lack some skills that your potential employer expects you to have, there are always ways to develop them. In the end, there is always someone getting that job, so even if it’s hard, it will eventually be you.