From Trauma to Triumph: Navigating Your Career After Work-related Stress

christina wocintechchat com eF7HN40WbAQ unsplash scaled

After graduating from college, I naively thought that I would quickly start my career and be on my way to success. Now at the age of 29, I can look back on my journey and reflect on the numerous laughs, heartbreaks, and setbacks I’ve experienced while trying to find a career that I find fulfilling. Despite my efforts, I’m still searching for that one job that I can envision myself doing for the rest of my life. Looking back, I realize that the notion of having everything figured out immediately after graduation was an unrealistic expectation that was imposed upon me by some of the adults in my life who had worked the same job for decades.

It’s perfectly fine if you haven’t figured everything out yet. We often put a lot of pressure on ourselves to achieve success, but we tend to overlook the exciting journey of life. Here’s a glimpse into my personal journey of how I landed my current job.

Finding A Job

Finding a job in your field of study can be daunting, and it goes beyond having the right qualifications. Many factors, such as networking, interview skills, and even luck, come into play. I was quickly realizing that my assumptions about the job market are overly optimistic. Finding a job I enjoyed would require much effort and patience. I am a smart person who graduated with good grades. I did not understand why I wasn’t getting second interviews. My first job out of college finally came: a corporate recruiter. This job screamed bureaucracy and everything else I hate. Upon arriving to my first day at work, I immediately hated my job. And, after eight months, I left my corporate job for a non-profit job that would pay me more and had real career opportunities.

What I didn’t realize was that while working for this non-profit I would succumb to the worst mental state I had ever had. I was full-blown Menty-B all the time. It was like a bad relationship. I knew my job was not good for me in the long run, but I didn’t have the courage to leave. I stayed in this job for four agonizing years. It’s essential to find ways to cope with these feelings, whether by talking to friends and family or seeking professional help. I turned to the gym. This was going well until I started having panic attacks at 6 am in the gym whenever I thought about work. The decision to leave a job can be difficult, but it’s important to remember that your career is a journey, and sometimes, you need to take a detour to get to where you want to be.

Getting Laid Off

One spring day, my boss calls me and says funding was cut and I was going to lose my job. I was devastated. It took me a few days of coping to realize that this was my way out of the organization, no strings attached. I started applying for jobs immediately. But I soon realized that finding a job in 2023 was harder than I thought. Again, I am a smart girl with good grades, lots of previous experience, and excellent letters of recommendation. Why were so many companies rejecting my application? I got so many first-round interviews, but then they would drop silent.


I had no idea that interviewing is actually an art form, which requires practice. That’s when I decided to watch interviewing coaches on Youtube and started to plan my answers to interview questions more carefully. This made a huge difference, as I soon began receiving second interviews. Moreover, I also took the step of investing in a service to re-write my resume, which turned out to be another game changer. What I had overlooked was the fact that I needed to invest both time and money in myself in order to get a job.

A Light At The End Of A Tunnel

I finally accepted a job. It was exactly what I wanted (fully remote and employer-paid health insurance), but the pay was garbage. Shortly after that, I started consulting to make more money, which has become lucrative. But I am here to tell you that at 29, I am just beginning to figure out my career goals, which is okay.

In conclusion, transitioning from college to a career can be challenging, and preparing for the unexpected is crucial. Finding a job in your field of study can be difficult, and it’s necessary to be patient and persistent. Take care of your emotional and mental well-being during the job search process. You must do it if you think it’s time to move on. Remember that your career is a journey, and taking detours is okay. Read my post about why I love working from home.

Share on facebook
Share on pinterest
Share on twitter

What do you think?