Perhaps it's a quarter life crisis?

Hey Elpha aunties! So i've been having the worst time with jobs/careers since i finished grad school in 2019. I originally went to school to get a masters in public health, which was honestly one of the biggest financial mistakes I've made in my 20s thus far. After 18 months of job hunting I finally found a role at LA dept of Public Health, which was hell on earth given we were peak pandemic and the coworkers were awful. I was let go after 3 months because I was deemed as a "bad fit". I later met with a career coach who recommended recruiting and was really intriuged. I really like how as a recruiter that I would be helping people find jobs. I had contact with recruiters that were not the best and I really saw this career as "giving back". After about another 18 months bounching around contract recruiting gigs, I landed my first perm role at a mental health startup. I could tell from the get go that the other recruiters were not very fond of me. I stood out like a sore thumb for i was the only black AND person of color in general on that entire team, the micro aggressions were out of this world, and the recruiting coordinator would complain about me at least once a week to our manager. They eventually let me go about 2 months ago but luckily I was given severance. I am still having a hard time processing all of this. I got 2 employee appreciation awards and even got a shoutout from one of the exective board members during our all corporate meeting. Now i am just traumatized to go back out there with a new job because it seems to be the same pattern: youngest one on the team, only black person in the department, co workers training me the wrong way to sabotage me, and then complaining about me to everyone etc. I'm at a place where I really enjoy recruiting but I feel like I need to be in a role that is less people facing so I don't attract too much attention. I also would be in a role where I am to so easily disposed of. I don't know what to do anymore.

Before I send any ideas or potential advice, please hear one thing - it's not you. You graduated into a world-disrupting event, worked on the frontlines of one of the hardest hit industries during a time of complete uncertainty. Despite this, you found a way forward - recruiting - where are you indeed under-represented and underestimated as a young Black woman. It's not you.You will absolutely need other Black women (ideally who also do recruiting) who can provide solidarity, advice, but also hope. If you're on Twitter, you can find people through #BlackTechTwitter and POCIT. See if you can make contact with @ParissAthena (Twitter) and @venikunche (Twitter) who have both founded firms around sourcing diverse talent. They may have ideas, but also resources. You can be successful with recruiting. (I would bold that last sentence if I could.) You will need people who have done it to get ideas on how to combat everything from microaggressions to overt racism, sexism, and fear of your youth, eagerness and talent. Don't let them take away your sparkle. You have plenty of evidence that you can not only do the work, but do it well and excel. Please hold onto that.One book I'm reading is the newly released "Let This Radicalize You" from Kelly Hayes and Mariame Kaba. Both are activists. I found the following from the chapter 'Hope and Grief Can Coexist' - it may offer some comfort and advice. It talks about the _practice_ of hope summarized by Joanna Macy and Christ Johnstone:"Active Hope is a practice. Like tai chi or gardening, it is something we do rather than have. It is a process we can apply to any situation, and it involves 3 key steps. 1. we take a clear view of reality. 2. we identify what we hope for in terms of the direction we'd like to see things move in or the values we'd like to see expressed. 3 we take steps to move ourselves or our situation in that direction. Since Active Hope doesn't require our optimism, we can apply it even in areas where we feel hopeless."For me, this last sentence is key, since I personally lack natural optimism. You are allowed your grief and your grief can coexist with Active Hope. I hope you don't hide or take an expendable role. I hope you reclaim all the things that make you who you are and find - or make - your space. You deserve that and more.
Bridget said it beautifully, it is definitely not you! There were so many events playing literally against you! Your MPH was not a financial mistake and the ROI will come, it may not be in the next 5 years (as frustrating as it is) but it will come at some point in ways you may not even envision.I totally hear you on being traumatised to go back out there given the experiences you've had! I'd totally take a break to process everything (you said you were doing this right now which is wonderful). As for your next steps, do you still want to be in the recruiting/HR space or explore other? I think it may be a good thing to see what others with an MPH have done especially those who drifted away from the PH part. Trust, there are so many companies and people out there that you will find your "fit" and a place you feel comfortable. Lastly, I personally have never been successful at getting jobs off job postings, I always get them from my network and most of the times those roles weren't advertised (except for one), so it could well be that you need to sadly employ a more creative way to find a role and assess the vibes (as the Gen.Z would say :))
Also given @katyahancock's background and heavy involvment in the health space, she may be a good person for you to know :)
Thx for flagging this for me
I can resonate with this as a fellow POC. I have been treated differently by managers and colleagues because I am Latinx (and I am 99% sure my boss discriminated against me because of this and my gender and then fired me for it…he claims performance but that’s not what my stakeholders said when I asked for performance feedback).I agree: it’s not you. The system is broken and it’s not designed to support and lift POC into successful positions. We have to fight 10x harder to be successful and get to the positions that privileged folks do and it’s incredibly draining. Finding a supportive community is KEY. I have found sis many great people on LinkedIn that are lifting me up and giving me motivation to keep job hunting. I know how tiring it is. Please know you have more people in your corner than you know (myself included!) and we are rooting for your success.
Your time and money spent towards MPH is not just the degree but also the college name/brand and network! Get in touch with your professors, researchers, peers, career center services/recruiting, etc. leverage these connections to find out about worthwhile opportunities in the field.
I'm so sorry you're having this struggle. Agree with the other comments, this is a challenging market. Being the only person of color on the team and feeling ostracized is just terrible. Also agree that you should leverage the university network from your MPH as much as possible. I know of a couple of niche recruiting firms in digital health you should check out. One is called OnboardHealth, which specializes in building inclusive and diverse teams. Andre Blackman is the CEO and he's an awesome guy, feel free to reach out to him on LinkedIn and let him know you heard about him through me (Katya Hancock, StartUp Health). niche recruiting firm in digital health is Aequitas. One of my former colleagues works there, Polina Hanin. Same offer as above, ping her and mention me. do not know if either of those firms are hiring but they would likely be up for giving you some good feedback at a minimum. My other advice is to take a few weeks off from job hunting if you are burned out. Understand this may not be feasible, but if it is it possible to take even a week off (or long weekend) to recharge it will make a difference. The concept of being a faucet versus a drain is real, people can sense your energy.Best of luck to you!
So kind of you to offer thoughts, Katya! Knew you'd have great ideas/insights