Hey, there! With this blog post, I would like to tell you about some thoughts on job hunting that are running in my mind for a while.
A sort of disclaimer
I don’t know who are you, where are you from, what have you been through, so I can’t say if what you’re going to read here could fit your life. Regardless, I hope it is going to help you or provide you some interesting input for further consideration.
I know that not everyone can do what I’m doing right now or what I’m going to share. In fact, I am not giving away a silver bullet to land your dream job. What I’m doing is just telling you some thoughts I had on this crazy job hunting thing and the status quo I reached, at least at the time of writing.
I work in the IT/cybersecurity industry and I’m a junior profile. I have a technical role with a technical background and occupy a stable position. I’m lucky because of it I have got the time to meditate on what I’ve been through, on what I would enjoy to do the most and all those hyppish stuff. I guess now it’s enough, and I can start telling you more.
My toxic relationship with job offerings
I don’t know when it all started, but I found myself constantly seeking jobs, and applying to a lot of them. And I was trying to frame the kind of job I was applying to accordingly to my interests.
At the beginning, I didn’t perceive this behavior as an issue; in fact I was enjoying doing the interviews. Honestly, this helped me to learn how to introduce myself, how to understand more, what others want to know and when and especially it helped me to start thinking about myself, my goals, my life and my interests.
Time passing by
Then last year, I found myself studying for the OSCP and the University Degree, while working full time. To be honest, this broke me. That’s freaking hard. I had to press the pause button on the University, to focus more on the OSCP, working and trying to maintain an healthy life. And so I did.
While I was studying for the OSCP, my job hunting addiction was still present but not at an high level. In fact, I did only two interviews in that period, but none of them became something more. In the meantime, I was growing technically and connecting with other people like me, and I was happy, I was very happy. Then I felt lilke I was mentally ready to take the OSCP exam, so I jumped on it and I made it through. In that period, for the last 3/4 months, my target was the OSCP and once I got it, I felt a bit disoriented. I neither knew where to look nor where to go. After a few days of full rest, I start thinking to not tackle down another certification as I was not sure what I would prefer to do in the cybersecurity industry. I knew that was something related to the offensive side of it, but I didn’t know what. Meanwhile, let me just say that in the office nothing was moving. These two elements together slowly started to take my motivation away, far way from me.
I was very unhappy with my daily job. I was so unmotivated that I struggled a lot to study even what I’m passionate about. I started to be a bit annoyed about the computer, at the point that after work I tried to stay away from it. I was getting more interested in watching Netflix on my tablet and scrolling with a sort of apathy on LinkedIn’s job offers on my smartphone.
Then, I figured out (spoiler: it was not a good idea) that all I needed was just to find another job to solve all of my issues. And oh here we go again with the interviews. But still nothing happened, even if a lot of the interviews went very well.
Point of Failure
A day, I had an interview for my dream job. It was going well. Then, everything changed once I started to answer to the technical questions. I didn’t see it coming as I was not too much worried because I thought I would handle it pretty well. But, I was not able to give them a technically precise and detailed answer, and for that reason I started feeling very bad. My head started feeling very confused, there was a lot of noise (in my head), and I was not able to focus on what they were asking me. I felt very embarrassed, oh it was awful.
Telling this to some friends of mine, they replied me that the questions were that kind of thing you can know if you work on that everyday. Maybe, for some of them it’s true, but I know this was not an excuse, I should had known that stuff, at least at a basic level.
I felt very bad for something like 10 days after that interview.
My mind, its thoughts and my awakening
I’ve begun to reflect on me, my background, my choices, my studies, my progress, my job, my dreams and ideas. It’s been tough to go through that kind of introspection, but I wish I did it a long time ago. Taking the time to look into my situation and me led me to taking a clearer picture of myself. I’ve noticed I was focusing on the wrong things.
I was in such a rush for obtaining another job, that I’ve not noticed how lucky I was (and yet, I am) to have a job like mine. I’ve figured out I was spending no more time on studying and investing on me. I’ve seen that I was no more training my body as I was used to do. Well, I’ve noticed I was completely losing the focus on life (or the control, if you prefer to consider it that way).
Qui et ora
From this awkward journey, I learned that I just have to live the now. I just need focusing on one thing at the time. Not rush in finding another job just because of some frictions in the office. I learned I was trying to run away from my problems, so in other words from myself.
If I have to dispense you my final advice on this, at least at the time writing, it is the following paragraph.
I’m speaking for those who are at their firsts job in the IT industry, but I’m pretty sure this could apply to higher seniority too. Moreover, as I’ve not got any experience but IT, I do not know if what you’re gonna read could be applied to other industries.
As long as your current job is not seriously damaging you mentally or physically (in that case, please, do not give up, look for a better place and ask for help, you deserve it), I think you should avoid the job hunting process. Instead, take your time to learn and explore what’s out there. Get your hands dirty with everything you can get your hands on.
By doing this, you’ll comprehend what you like most and what not. What you would like to be paid for and what not. Maybe you are gifted at reverse engineering, but as you’ve always perceived it as the big dragon, you’ve always been frightened to handle it. Get you involved in the communities or try creating one where you live. Join some open-source project, collaborate with others. In other words:
Connect with people. Learn, share and enjoy.
By expanding your horizons and exploring what you are capable of, some magic will happen: you’ll encounter some of the most amazing people, and the best job opportunities will come to you, even without you scrolling LinkedIn and wasting your time. You’ll get the opportunities that will fit you the most, and I’m pretty sure that after a while, you’ll start accepting job offers because you’ll genuinely love the offer (not merely the money) instead of taking them as a patch to your current position.
This is possible only if you live in the present. When I was studying for the OSCP, I was very happy because I was so focused on the present. All my energies were dedicated to the present.
Last but not least, bear in mind that you probably need a balance in your life. Do not spend the whole battery pack on job duties or studies. Remember that spending some energy for the family, friends, sports or whatever you like, is a good way to spend your energy. It’s also a must for your mental health. I would like closing this blog post by reminding to myself that I wrote a post about CTF and failures that I closed with the following sentence:
Be just yourself, do not rush it, embrace simplicity, enjoy the journey.
Is it funny, isn’t it huh?
P.S. You’ll find your path, do not get caught in the rat race.