For my fellow devs also looking for work

Jul 29 2023
About two months ago, the company I’ve worked for for over 5 years completely collapsed. I and all 900+ of my coworkers were suddenly out of work.
I’ve been working hard since then to find a new job in the software development industry. I’ve been practicing interview questions, learning new skills, building new apps, and applying for a ton of positions.
How’s it gone? Not so great, if I’m being honest. Well, let me rephrase that. What I’ve chosen to do has gone great. I’ve learned a ton and built some pretty cool apps that I’m very proud of. And I’m becoming more confident with interviewing.
Being ghosted is an incredibly poor user experience for a job applicant. More than that, it has the potential to hurt someone deep in their soul.
But the response from these companies has not gone well for me. It’s honestly pretty brutal to spend hours making individually-tailored resumes for dozens of positions, just to hear absolutely nothing back. And I’m definitely not the only one experiencing this.
Now, I understand that most of these companies are receiving hundreds or even thousands of applications for each open position, which makes it really hard to reply to each person who didn’t get the offer. I get that. I’ve never been in a position to hire for an open position, so I don’t know what it’s like. But that doesn’t change the fact that being ghosted is an incredibly poor user experience for a job applicant. More than that, it has the potential to hurt someone deep in their soul.
For weeks, I found it really hard to not take the silence personally. A part of myself felt like someone was looking straight at me and turning away without a word. But that’s not what was happening.
I realized something that really helped me relax, take a deep breath, and not take it so personally. That realization has become a mantra for me in this season:
They’re not rejecting YOU because they don’t know you.
It’s a communication problem. The people reviewing these job applications can’t know you like a friend. All they see is a database record or a piece of paper. And a ton of database records or pieces of paper at that.
If they really knew you, they would recognize the skill you have and what you bring to the table. And they would recognize you as a whole person. They’d see the other parts of your life, your interests and relationships that give your life vibrancy and meaning. In the end, they may still not offer you the job, but they’d acknowledge YOU. There would be an actual human connection.
So since these hiring reps can’t know you like a friend, don’t spend all your time trying to impress them. I get that everyone is at a different place in life with different levels of support or financial runway when they get laid off. But even so, you gotta make some time each and every day to connect and spend time with those in your life who DO know you and love you.
Work hard, keep applying to open positions, improve your skills, try to close that communication gap between you and the hiring reps (like I’m trying to do by blogging!), but also take time to rest and connect with those closest to you. Both are important.
Hey, I'm Andrew Pethoud! I'm a full-stack software engineer 💻 who loves building joyful digital experiences for humans 👫. I'm also passionate about walkable communities 🌳 and making cities safer for bikers and pedestrians 🚴, especially when they're my own kids 🧒.
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