Burnout from the burnout from the job search.

This is my first post, which I have to admit is a little shameful as I am almost on Elpha daily as there is so much content I've benefited from. I am working on being more vulnerable in asking for help this year.

A bit about me, I quit my job mid-last year due to burnout and took the summer off to relax & reset. Since then, I have been on the rollercoaster of the job hunt for the past 6 months. To constantly hear about open positions, apply for them, interview, then get rejected is a story that is not just unique to me, and been trying to not let it get to me, but after a while, it's truly demoralizing. I've never experienced this much struggle in trying to find a decent job before and I'm hoping that this will be my last month going through this cycle.

I would love to hear any advice on how anyone else made it through this season of the "job hunt" and would also appreciate any referrals in the Project Management/Operations/Event planning space. I am also open to taking on a more entry-level position to grow into a role if that is a better fit.

As this definitely feels "weird" to post (cringing as I hit the post button), I am hoping to connect with the Elpha community more, as there are so many amazing women I can learn from.

Hi @njokimaina - Thanks for sharing your experiences on here. I have gone through numerous job searches over the years. With time, they got easier but no less annoying. There is a way to organize a job search to make it less annoying and that's to make it more targeted. That means really knowing your values and interests and applying to the kinds of companies that tend to align with them. Once I had that figured out my job search became much less stressful. With that said, job searches can be unpredictable, but there are a few ways you can hack the search to get more interviews and therefore opportunities for job offers. One of them is to focus on smaller startups that receive less applicants so they tend to have a faster response rate. Happy to chat further, I sent you a DM.
Thank you Anna! I'm looking forward to chatting with you 😊
Hi Anna, I would love to hear more about your strategy to get faster responses. Specifically, where you find the startups (I haven't had much luck on Angel or Indeed). I have been in burnout for a year in my role and in the job hunt, but unable to leave the current role until I have replacement income.
@alexebrahimi also just shared a post around her experience around job hunting burn out and some tips to navigate that here! You two may want to connect!
I will def check that out! Thank you!
Hey @njokimaina, you are not alone. Job search rejection takes a toll. There is a free session of Malinda Coler's Advanced Job Search Strategies tomorrow and that's what changed my approach entirely. It led me to four job offers within 10 weeks of learning more about pivoting my marketing background into the tech space. She helped me build up a lot of confidence and ownership around key results from my previous roles. I highly recommend checking it out to find a fresh perspective: makes sense that job searching feels like a unique kind of awful and uncomfortable... We all go through school with guidance and then job onboarding with guidance, but when you find yourself alone and job-seeking there is no path or structure, it's really depleting! Thank you for sharing this post. You are not the only one feeling this way, but you WILL connect with the right job that pays you well and they will want you for exactly the skills you bring. <3
Can't wait to get to the top of the mountain! Lol thank you, I RSVP'd for the next info session, thank you!
Ah, sending you so much love because I know how incredibly un fun this process is. Kudos for sharing with us; vulnerability is a skill :)I was once 'funemployed' and job searching. I'd also quit my job due to burnout. I spent some time traveling and regrouping and then... I full on moved abroad and started my search in a foreign country on a tourist visa. 😳It was scary as hell. I spent a number of long nights tossing & turning after facing rejections, but every time I was at a rock bottom, I found this fierce tenacity deep inside me and kept going. I think being so far, physically, out of my comfort zone helped. I didn't have to show face to friends and family, as I hardly knew anyone there. What are you doing to apply? Back then I was creating projects for the companies that interested me and pitching them to the hiring managers if I could find their contact.
I've been on LinkedIn, taking courses, trying to connect with recruiters and people that work at companies that I would like to work for, so been trying to leverage my network. I'm hoping that an inside referral will be the path that leads to my next position.
Great! I'm sure some of these job search references others shared will be helpful. I will offer that I've done the job search a number of ways -- networking, sending in cover letters/resumes, and creating projects that add value -- and I had the highest hit rate w/ option 3. Lots of luck, you've got this.
Hi Rachel, thanks for sharing your story. I also moved abroad and am living on a resident visa in Mexico. Did you end up finding a company that would hire you while living abroad? I'm currently freelancing to avoid location restrictions, but considering looking for something full-time that doesn't require living in the U.S. When I was job searching last year I tried to get referrals as much as possible and did get many interviews but no offers that would allow me to stay abroad.
I did! It took me three months. I was like ... very near the end of my Schengen visa. I was going for product management roles in Berlin, so the context was pretty friendly. I was transitioning into PM (after having been out of work!) and I think being in a smaller city helped. Are you in CDMX? I'm not as familiar with that market, but I do know there are a number of American expats there and it must be possible!
@njokimaina I'm glad you posted. I am in the same place. I got laid off last February, 2021 (felt very burnt out) and this process of job search has been draining me. There have been many a day that I say "I can't do this anymore." to with the grace of God, I get my courage and move forward. I'm not sure what your process has been for your job search, I think these things are critical to be marketable and motivated:1. Figure out Create your brand (who is @njokimaina, what does she stand for (a coach can help you narrow this down) 2. Resume (update and use the latest trends)3. Job Postings (Your resume is important to match the job description and terms used in job posts)4. LinkedIn (updated and matched to your resume) / Increase and invite people to your network 5. Networking (I am not good with this, I'm a strong introvert, and it's really difficult)6. Hire a business coach or career coach. Someone who is going to motivate and help you move along the steps7. Join and participate in professional networks such as Elpha (done :-)8. Join a career coaching company (this is off affordable one). Memberships are available from $10-$150. 9. Join webinars and education on job search (Workit daily)10. Recruiter. Someone who specializes in your industry and role 11. Prepare for Interviewing. Find people you can mock interview (your coach might be able to help you)12. Daily affirmations, Gratitude 13. Tracking and reflecting on what you have achieved at the end each week. 14. Workout / healthy eating habits15. Surround yourself with supportive and non toxic people
Thank you for all those tips and advice! I need to work on tip #1, 3, 9, 10 & 11 more. I am speaking it, that God will provide our dream jobs very very soon!
I love this list! Thank you! For number 13, I actually made it a daily ritual because it helped motivate me. I had different categories and included everything I did, regardless of how small it might seem. For example, I'd write down the names and numbers of people I spoke to/emailed, the number of job posts I looked at, etc. Good luck, @njokimaina. We're rooting for you.
I am posting an operations role for a client in a week or two. It’s at an org focused on politics/reproductive justice. They’re prioritizing functional skills over industry background so as long as there’s philosophical alignment id encourage you to apply. If that’s at all of interest please pm me and I’ll give you a preview.
Hi Lia - I'm super interested in this role. I have an MBA and have been a volunteer with Planned Parenthood Action Fund. I quit my job last year to find something more meaningful and would love to learn more!
Thank you! That sound quite interesting, I will PM you.
This question is more for the reader of the thread, perhaps for OP as well - folks with a burnout (it must be very stressful!), and now job seeking, could you help me as a hiring manager to understand what should I do to not burn you out again? How do I know we are a fit, what’s expected from my org? This is in the same time meant as an exercise question for perhaps practicing seeing things from a HM side, as well as genuinely seeking input as someone who participates in lots of hiring loops.
Thank you for your question. I would love for more HR individuals to do this to find out what works & doesn't work. I think as far as the burnout. My burnout what due to being overworked and unrealistic expectations. Having a weekly check in in asking your employees whether they think they think it is a reasonable workload with the deadlines given and then being willing to be flexible is key. A good employee wants to get the work done and succeed, but it should not be at the expense of them sacrificing time with loved ones or not taking vacation time off. Encouraging employees to take time off can be really impactful, along with ensuring meeting are shorter and more structured to avoid unnecessary wasted time so that everyone remains productive. I think also monthly surveys, where employees can provide anonymous feedback on the company processes and structures is helpful so that those who may be afraid to speak directly to HR or the CEO about how they feel can feel heard and seen.
That is right on spot and brilliant detailed advice, thank you so much!
I think the biggest thing one can do is make the interview process as painless as possible. I came to this thread because I just had a final interview today and I’m not sure it went well. I feel like I can’t do it again, if I don’t get an offer. I’m so burned out. The amount of work that many tech companies ask from a candidate is hard to maintain. It’s an enormous amount of work on top of a current full time job, and often concurrent opportunities. After the emotional roller coaster of the interview round I just had, I’m genuinely considering declining my next interview. Doing a live, collaborative exercise I have found to be the best way to determine a fit, without asking folks to prepare a huge presentation, or do a project.
I'm replying from a job seeker's perspective. Please, make the JD's honest (prioritizing what the role actually needs) and please make the application process shorter. Do we really need to submit 3 essays on why we're excited about this role? Does your team even read them? Could the essays come after being shortlisted? If the role requires technical skills, please explicitly say that. If it requires general skills, please say that. Lastly, if people haven't been shortlisted, please let them know. A courtesy email goes a long way to help against feeling demoralized.
Thank you very much. This is about the application process, which the hiring manager (me) has less influence over typically as the recruiter function owns a lot of the steps. Of course I will take the feedback to them. When I wrote the original question I was thinking more towards the work itself, but now I see the application process is also important. Thanks for all the input.
Honestly, many of us are applying to various companies so it would be nice to not be disqualified for not knowing intimate details about the company or which venture capitalist funded a new round. A lot of companies ask us to put all our emotional energy into getting this job which is unfair when the candidate is concurrently interviewing at multiple places, lack of energy or information shouldn't be taken as a lack of interest in the job. It's hard to cheerlead for a random company after being burned so many times or when it's an unknown/take themselves too seriously.
Ah, this resonated with me on a molecular level. I deeply empathize with where you are coming from and extend endless compassion towards you (and anyone else in this cyclical predicament). My own experience with this throughout the last year, most specifically, resulted in the loss of a personal relationship that meant the world to me... not to mention the position and proverbial "rut" it put me in.Story time:My own professional burnout got to its height when I was working over quite literally 90+ hours a week in order to establish Clients with the first venture I founded and operate, a full-service creative firm that specializes in authentic authority. While it did end up resulting in nearly $300K of contracts closed in less than a couple months due to an organic campaign I did on Sales Navigator with LinkedIn (including a six figure contract with a National Hockey League player venturing into the start-up scene), the absolute, behind-the-scenes truth of the matter? It was /not/ worth it in the end. It was entirely unsustainable, counterintuitive, counterproductive, etc. Learned that lesson the hard way, unfortunately. While I was blessed enough to end up with a $20K settlement to support myself during some much-needed time off, I recognize and acknowledge this is not the case for the vast majority. It also backfired in a way, in the sense that when I did begin looking for paid work, resources, etc. again, it was a horrific experience that I did not appropriately mitigate.Fast forward to well over 6+ months after (prematurely) resigning from an in-house position, I have had less than a handful of legitimate opportunities extended to me and exactly zero of them resulted in anything of legitimate substance - this with several thousand applications, probably over 50+ interviews, etc. I began to wonder if it was me... was it my resume, my experience, my skill-sets, my qualifications, my approaches, my mentality, my what? What in the world was/is it?? And why is it so difficult to get an answer to that?Well, in lieu of discovering the whats and whys, I made the semi-recent executive decision to embark on a journey in the purpose-led pursuit of the next-gen frontier. I figured, you know what? Screw it, if they do not recognize, acknowledge, and want to utilize my invaluable time (everyone's time is invaluable, period, regardless of self-doubt, self-criticism, others' perspectives, etc.), then I will create and discover what will. Who will. The question then became not why, but /how/ will I achieve doing so while also supporting myself?This is when I bit the proverbial bullet and went full force and full throttle in founding and launching the private, pre-beta of a venture I am infinitely passionate about. I put in 60-70+ hours of work a week (made a pact and vow to myself to not ever hit the 85-90+ range ever again, regardless how difficult of a position I may be in). I started from scratch with no reserve resources to allocate, no idea how I was going to gain and build the momentum required for this to be worth it and happen in the end, etc. A week and a half later, I had had discovery meetings with 8+ individuals, start-ups, organizations, companies, DAOs, etc. - not a single one of them have turned me down yet and there are 10+ meetings and next steps underway to move forward with. While I am far from full viability and reasonable resources, admittedly terrified and plagued with Imposter's Syndrome, etc., the return of value and worth that I have received already is beyond anything I would or could have ever even begun to anticipate, let alone succinctly articulate.The validation, proof of concepts, evidence, support, etc. that I have received is better for my heart, mind, and soul than anything I have spent a lifetime trying to pursue, achieve, and accomplish. It has already been the most humbling experience of my personal and professional life. It is barely off the ground, but the momentum is gaining traction on its own (and there are 35+ applicants to go through on the first job post I made on LinkedIn to join us early, with the very first hire officially made this past weekend). Ironically enough, to circle back to the aforementioned ending of a personal relationship, I was told to "get it together" and that they need someone to "grow with" them; this happened this past weekend. Still processing it.The thing is: those of us who are fellow visionaries, we must be willing to accept the sacrifices that are inevitable along the way to making our dreams a viable reality. While I may have been told what I was by this individual, I was also told this weekend by my first hire the following: "If you can dream it I can build it." ... and you know what? That, in and of itself, is worth more than any remuneration, rewards, relationships, etc. I could have, because that sheer degree of faith and belief in me, it is the fuel I have been in need of my entire life, the best defense to instantaneously resolve how often I have been told I am "too much" by those in my past, etc. They are in the past for a reason and I do not make any apologies for my unabridged version of existence, for my visionary frame-of-mind, for being unwilling to censor myself, just as I would encourage for anyone else to abide by and support their internal selves with.TL;DR:The entire point of this has not been to unveil some pivotal secret or to prompt you in any which direction, it is to invoke the immense power of what happens when the right shifts of mentality, headspace, etc. are made and carried through with. /That/ alone is what defines the difference between the make or break it, the success or "failure," the (cap)ability or the inconceivability, etc.Harness your value, equip your worth on your sleeve, continue to be indispensably vulnerable regardless of how scary it is and how much it can hurt, behave and operate with the understanding within yourself that YOU /are/ way more worth goodness, kindness, empathy, opportunity, etc. than ever fully self-realized or self-actualized into existence. At the end of the day, my dear friend(s), you have the reigns of your individual person and of your life in your hands - and that means you are already over 51%+ there.Discovering the rest of the puzzle pieces is a courtesy at most: although necessary, it is not what defines anything. You define your own narratives, your own purposes, your own initiatives, your own value, your own anything. No one else does, regardless if they are capable of recognizing and acknowledging such in the end. Do not ever let anyone, whether personal or professional, define you, your worth, your values, your anything. It is counterintuitive, it is an equation which will not ever fully benefit you in the end. Let go of the vicious negative cycles that do you no good. Let go of the "status quo." Let go of expectations. Let go of that which does not directly correlate to goodness, however which ways you may personally define what goodness may be is regardless of the point.Let go of the rejections and use them for the only thing they are worth: proof and evidence that you are trying, which is all that matters in the end contrary to popular belief - understand that they are doing you a favor, that it lays the fundamental foundation for you to go on to discover that which will accept you, value you, and appreciate you. Use them as fuel to discover alternative, (non-)traditional paths, trajectories, and outcomes. You got this. You have had this. You will continue to persevere, to exercise persistence, to achieve accomplishments, to navigate internal and external factors and variables with mindfulness. Regardless of who or who may not be on the receiving ends of those when the bottom line is discovered is besides the point - the point is everything happens for a reason, it truly does, even if we are not able to identify as such... Remember that. TL;DR x2: It cannot rain all the time, even when it comes in monsoons. This, too, shall pass. I am here for you and more than happy and willing to provide myself as a resource, asset, mentor, friend, anything which may be helpful. My DMs are always open and encouraged.PS: Try the companies here on Elpha and/or explore AngelList, Starthawk, Hirect, entry-level remote web3 / multichain / decentralized / so forth positions on a myriad of job posting sites - even joining select decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) and their networks and communities gives the option for you to complete tasks on bounty boards, of which some of them do provide compensation for - otherwise, the incentives and benefits are accumulated for a later time, which is also worth it in and of itself as you can proactively build out a current portfolio and utilize that to land your next venture.May also be worth trying freelancing or independent contracting for temporary, more immediate relief as opposed to the 2-3+ week time frame it takes for more traditional positions to close and onboard, let alone the 4-6+ weeks it takes to receive a first paycheck. Happy to elaborate on these resources, too, if there is genuine interest. PPS: I would be open to having a conversation about how we may be able to collaborate and/or work together in the near future. I am not in a position to provide immediate remuneration, but tangible compensation is well on its way and in sight. Otherwise, will tap into my professional network and see which opportunities may align with you and make some introductions, if you would like. No hard feelings either way, just wanted to provide this candid expose to hopefully motivate you and invoke those pivotal shifts.
Wow....I am at a loss for words at how powerful, insightful and helpful your response is. I want to start off by saying thank you. Thank you for taking the time and sharing your journey and advice. There is so much to unpack, and I would absolutely love to chat with you further. I really appreciate it and will send you a DM. This week is already looking up! 🙌🏾
Hey there. It's completely normal and expected that the job search will take a toll on you. A job search requires patience, persistence, and resilience. It's important to have support throughout the process. Here are a few things I recommend:- Determine what support system you have in place to help you be effective throughout your job search -- Most people feel they have to go it alone and end up guessing where to spend their time versus leveraging a coach, mentor, peer, or other tools and resources to be strategic- By having proper guidance, you'll be sure to improve your approach to ensure you see traction and responses to your applications & networking; otherwise, the burnout can come from hearing nothing back- Determine your accountability plan to make sure you're staying on top of your goals & staying organized; give yourself a structure and a daily routine; proactively plan your time- Be sure not to approach the job in a transactional, check-the-box sort of way -- see networking and interviews as a mirror into the job you would land and an opportunity for two-way assessment of fit -- if you're approaching it in a heads-down way, you'll be putting in the time & energy & risk continuously doing that without seeing results. Once a week, take a step back to reflect on how you're doing and where you can improve. Self-awareness is key. Though it's not always comfortable to do, it can be pivotal to ensuring you're honest with yourself about what roles you should be going after.- Consider how many roles/industries you're applying to-- this may be a sign that you'd want to take a step back and pursue career exploration to clarify your ideal fit direction; career clarity will help make your search more efficient, targeted, and effective- Try doing a project -- this can drastically improve one's mental state during a job search. During a job search, we're in this "seeking" state but we often forget our value & skills. If you can do something productive and creative, it'll a) give you something to talk about during interviews b) remind & allow you to explore what work you want to pursue c) remind you of your skills & value & improve your confidence.- Don't ignore your self-care to ensure your mindset is staying resilient during your search - this should be a part of your everyday routineBTW, I'm Rachel, a Career Exploration Coach (, and I'm happy to chat further if you'd like! -->
Thank you Rachel for taking the time to provide such insight and advice, I really appreciate it. I am defintely going to be working on completing more projects to my portfolio.
Hi @njokimaina, the burnout is real and completely makes sense. Along with the other great advice below, a friend has mentioned using something like to scan your resume vs. the language in a job description for alignment. For me, finding opportunities to streamline tasks and reduce my mental load can help reduce the burden of a job search. At other seasons in my career, I've also given myself a day off a week (or an afternoon) to help me feel less burnt out. If you are open to in-person roles in NC, my organization has some in-person/hybrid Operations PM openings in our virtual care team. I'd be happy to connect about those. Unfortunately we do not have many remote options at this time. Good luck in your search!
Hi Christina! Thank you, I have heard of Jobscan, but have not been using that tool, I will hop on that ASAP. I am based in Long Beach, CA, unfortunately, I am not a fit for the in-person role, however in the future, if a remote position opens up, I would love to learn more. Thank you again, and hope you have a great rest of your week!