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Reality Unscripted
If You're Having Trouble Finding a Job

You've worked hard.  Stayed up night after night studying.  Suffered through exhausting clinicals.  Missed out on time with friends and family.  Shoved thousands of facts into a weary brain.  Now all you want is to put all your new-found knowledge to work.  Get out there into the workplace and do your thing.  You're confident.  You're prepared.  You're ready.

You start pounding the pavement.  Sending out resumes.  Making calls.  Working your network.


You've got the degree, you passed the NCLEX.  No one cares.

Now what?  How do you pay the rent?  The student loans?  Let's face it, looking for a job doesn't bring in much of a salary.

My goal here is not to solve the job crisis, it's just to throw out a couple of ideas.  My hope is that others will chime in with thoughts of their own and together we can move towards gainful employment for every RN looking for work.  Heaven knows we're needed.  Just ask any patient who's been ignored due to cuts.

First off, do whatever it takes to get a little experience under your belt.  So what if it's not your ideal job.  My husband often complains that the new grad's motto seems to be "I have no experience but I'm willing to start at the top."

Well guess what.  It doesn't work that way.

The bottom of the totem pole is the entry point for most of us in the real world.  That means nights, weekends, nursing homes, part-time, or crummy pay.  In fact, sometimes it means the combination of all of them!  The thing is, if it's a nursing job, it builds a resume.  You don't have to have this job for 20 years!  You only have to have it until someone else wants to hire you.

The second thing you have to do is HAVE A GOOD ATTITUDE!  If the point is to find a better job after you have some experience, then you want the person's name on your application to actually say something nice about you when HR calls.  And trust me, it will make your life so much happier if you embrace the moment and try to get the most you can out of it.

I did not love either of my first two nursing jobs.  They were both in hospitals, and I stayed less then a year at each of them.  No subsequent employer ever mentioned that it should have been longer.  I learned a ton at each of them, made some friends, and never looked back.  They just became a chapter in my story.

It wasn't until three years after I graduated that I found my niche.  I loved Family Practice right off the bat.  The problem was it was a 2-day-a-week job.  Not exactly great for paying the bills.  But it was where I wanted to be, so I figured it out.  I did a little home health care, insurance physicals, and worked at a hospice.  I also did a boatload of babysitting and house sitting.

I scraped enough together to make a life that I enjoyed.  Eventually, I was able to go full time.  Of course, because office work doesn't pay as well, the babysitting and house sitting continued.  But I was very happy doing what I loved.

And isn't that the point?

Don't throw in the towel.  Just figure it out.  There is very little chance you will find a well-paying, full-time job that you adore right off the bat.  You were willing to work hard for the degree, now you may need to work hard for the right job.  But you've got it in you to stick it out.

You've already proved that.

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One Response to “If You’re Having Trouble Finding a Job”

  1. Olaf Garcia Says:

    Thanks Jana,

    When I first discovered getting a job was going to be such a challenge I was really frustrated. Now I’m taking it on as another challenge. If I have to work somewhere that’s not so great for awhile then that’s what I’ll do. I think it will ultimately make me a better nurse throughout my career. Also I love the “willing to start at the top” line. Hilarious.

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