“Dear colleagues, I am honored to have Michelle Kneeland DVM write this inspiring article. This blog will have guest authors once a month. Thank you, Michelle!” Dr. Mark Many wildlife students are becoming dismayed by the current job market and difficulties they face in finding wildlife career opportunities. I understand because I’ve been there too. I know what it’s like to be trapped in a sea of applicants, struggling to stay afloat. You keep treading water, hoping to be the next “chosen one” that gets thrown a life raft and hired for that position you desperately want.
Most applicants believe their only option is to compete against each other for the limited number of available jobs. After multiple rejections, many passionate and brilliant people start to wonder if their career is dead in the water. But it doesn’t have to be this way. I’ve been through this myself and I found a different way forward. There was one particular point when I was trying to advance to the next stage of my profession but nothing was working out for me. Every job opportunity was incredibly competitive, and even when I made it to the final round there was always some specific “thing” they were looking for that I didn’t have. I was always the square peg trying to fit into the round hole.
I came to the conclusion that I needed to stop letting other people dictate my career. I realized that I didn’t need to wait for someone to give me permission to pursue the type of career I desired. I didn’t have to choose from the options presented to me- I had the ability to create my own options. I stopped looking at the job boards, and I stopped listening to other people’s opinions about what I “should” do. Instead of looking externally for all the answers, I started looking deep within myself. To help myself get clear on the vision for my life and my career, I would schedule a little bit of alone time for myself every morning when I could clear my head with no distractions- before all the stress and anxiety of the day could take over my mind. Sometimes I would write my thoughts in a journal to help clarify what was going through my head. I began asking myself questions like:
- “What would my ideal future look like if there were no limitations? “
- “If money and job title were removed from the equation completely, what kind of work would I love to do?”
- “What impact do I wish to make in the world?”
- “How do I want to live my daily life? Where do I want to live?”
- “Where is there a need, and how can I use my particular skills to fill that void?”