Job hopping, no matter how common that word is for fresh grads, is something I’ve grown to hate.
Who am I to complain? I’m relatively young. I’ve only been in the workforce for two years. But even experienced individuals will agree with me when I say job hopping squeezes us out ’til nothing is left.
Personally, it’s my fault for tying employment with my self-worth. That could be a product of my own fear of failure or society’s expectations from a young fresh graduate.
I felt that no matter how bad or how great I did back in college, I was a walking pile of human garbage.
I became a post-graduate Goldilocks. I went from job to job like an indecisive little blonde girl over porridge—one job’s too taxing, the other one I didn’t fit well in, and this one felt just right. The process could be common and all. But boy, it troubled the hell out of my psyche.
This took a toll on my mental health—big time. Unemployment made me feel useless. I beat myself up and unfairly weighed my self-worth with my employment status. I felt that no matter how bad or how great I did back in college, I was a walking pile of human garbage.
Not able to land or stay in my current position made me question my skills in writing and visual arts. I wondered if there was a slither of talent or passion left in my body, and most importantly, if my gamble of taking liberal arts was worth the risk.
I knew that I need come into terms of my own failures.
Eventually, I had to admit to myself that this constant pondering and wallowing isn’t healthy anymore. I knew that I need to come to terms with my own failures. That’s when I started consuming virtual content to help ease my distress, from think pieces on failure by creatives I stan to K-dramas that are way too relatable for job hoppers out there.
I think out of all the emotional turmoil I experienced, the feeling of alienation during job hopping was the worst. To the young job hoppers out there, you are not alone. And if it all gets a bit too much, here is a virtual self-care package to help you cope and feel better during this trying time.
Sol LeWitt’s advice to Eva Hesse read by Andrew Scott
For people who are stuck in a terrible rut, the first thing a person needs is a wake up call. Andrew Scott’s (BBC’s Sherlock) rendition of the artist Sol LeWitt’s letter to sculptor Eva Hesse is the perfect epitome of that. Every time I find myself filled with self-doubt and lacking self-worth, I put this on blast.
Think of this as an intense and elaborate version of Shia Labeaouf’s Just Do It video. Andrew’s recitation demands listeners to move and pull one’s self out of whatever funk they are in. But most importantly, this letter by Sol consoles Eva to not face failure with worry, but embrace it instead.
Here’s an important paragraph that I feel people should take to heart: “Try to do some BAD work—the worst you can think of and see what happens but mainly relax and let everything go to hell—you are not responsible for the world—you are only responsible for your work.
But if life would be easier for you if you stopped working—then stop. Don’t punish yourself. However, I think that it is so deeply engrained in you that it would be easier to DO.”
That’s something a lot of young people need to hear. God knows I’m one of them.
Tiny Beautiful Things
As a person who mocks Chicken Soup for the Soul constantly, I found myself eating my own words after reading a self-help book for people like me who hates them. Cheryl Strayed’s Tiny Beautiful Things reeled me in the self-help book culture.
In times when I’m doubting my own abilities, I consoled with my literature professor on how to get my groove on writing back. She sent me the link to Cheryl’s Dear Sugar column called “Write like a motherfucker.” With the column’s sweet, poignant, and tongue in cheek humor, I was down to read more.
Tiny Beautiful Things is an amazing self-help book for someone who needs honesty and compassion during a difficult times. If anything, understanding above all is what every job hopper needs. Reading Cheryl’s advice column shows its readers that she’s not here to judge nor shame. She’s here to cuss like a sailor, to console her readers, and to tell you in all intents and purposes that everything’s going to turn out fine.
Whether failure or inadequacy hits, just remember that it’s merely an obstacle and not the end all be all of life.
Noah Baumbach’s Frances Ha (2012)
Noah Baumbach’s Frances Ha might be the perfect coming-of-age film for young adults. But hey, that’s just me talking. You have to experience the film to reach some sort of verdict on that.
It focuses on a young unemployed woman named Frances Halloway. As she navigates through adulthood, she wrestles with her passion for modern dance and her own immaturity. It tackles the fear of growing up and taking on responsibility for the passion burning inside. For creatives job hoppers out there, this could be the most relatable yet consoling piece of cinema everyone needs to watch.
Full disclosure: I am a slut for technological advances. Apps focusing on aiding one’s mental health isn’t limited to people like me who suffer from mental illnesses. Whatever works for you personally is fine as long as it does the trick for you.
But for people who are testing the waters, Moodpath is something I can recommend. Moodpath tracks your mood and aids its users if they feel overwhelmed. It helps users adapt cognitive exercises to lessen one’s breakdowns. It also helps users to learn self-compassion, something that all people need, including job hoppers.
Of course, nothing beats a good session with your current psych. But it’s nice to have something handy when depression or anxiety hits.
The Best Moment to Quit Your Job
The word “relatable” isn’t enough to describe this unique slice of life. I personally would like to commend this K-drama for tackling the issue of employment among young people. The Best Moment to Quit Your Job focuses on four young women taking on their first jobs.
From a young multimedia artist desperate for regularization to her passionate pâtissier friend five seconds close to a burn out, this K-drama tackles the various difficulties of a first time employee through scenarios of politics within the office to the internal turmoil of suppressing a breakdown during work hours.
An exchange I carry close to heart was between the characters Namhee and Yun Ji. It happened when Yun ji asked, “Why am I so bad at my life?” In which Namhee replied, “You can’t help it. Everyone’s doing [life] for the first time. Whether we turn 26, or 30, or 40, it’s our first time. We can’t be good at it. It’s our first time at life.”
This is something I think about every day. And when job hoppers out there feel down, try repeating this exchange like a mantra.
The National’s Matt Berninger on Patience
From time to time, there is one essay that I always go back to. This is Matt Berninger’s essay on patience. Being an avid fan of his band The National, I admire his poignancy in songwirting and dry humor during interviews. It could also be because of another commonality: our birthdays. Whatever the reason is, I gravitate towards him and that’s that.
It doesn’t take a fan to appreciate his take on being patient in one’s career and life. His band The National might be a big name in festival circuits in the West. But in his piece, he acknowledges the transience of fame. He acknowledges that pursing a career as a musician was a gamble and that not every show is a great show, regardless how much they wanted it to turn out great.
A brilliant excerpt from his piece is this: “Patience… and respect that it takes time. Make sure to give yourself that time. Also respect the failure.” It’s easier said than done. But for someone to say that failure is something to be respected takes balls. Maybe that’s the gusto every job hopper needs to survive.
Those are just some virtual pieces of content that can help you cope. Whether failure or inadequacy hits, just remember that it’s merely an obstacle and not the end all be all of life. We are allowed to breakdown and fall apart. But we are also allowed to be happy and to dream bigger, regardless of numerous trial and errors.
No one is ever perfect and we’re all experiencing life for the first time. I leave everyone with the wise barracuda from Courage the Cowardly Dog:
Art by Marx Fidel