I sat in the car after arriving 20 minutes early (whoops), breathing slowly and thinking. I fought every bone in my body that naturally told me to worry. My mind started to wander but I focused instead and prayed. I straightened my dress and inspected my makeup in the mirror, waiting for 2:55 to come, as I had promised myself I would leave then.

You see, this was my first full-time job interview. I had struggled against being anxious about the interview for a week, since the day I was called about scheduling an in-person interview. I spent hours preparing- researching the organization, choosing my outfit, and thinking about my answers to possible questions. Yet, I was a little afraid.

Because, you know, a lot was on the line. I NEEDED a job. Really soon. I needed the peace of mind that came with having a job lined up for after graduation (which was only 37 days away). I needed to prove to people in my life that I was capable and smart.

But when I prayed, these “needs” seemed to disappear. When I righted my mind and focused on the Lord, I no longer “needed” to prove anything to anyone. I didn’t “need” that peace of mind. Sometimes, I believe, not having everything figured out is ok. However, sometimes others impose their own fears on you and make you second guess your ability.

Truthfully, I believed in myself during my few months of job hunting. I believed that I was capable and that I would find a job before graduation. I was fully trusting God to provide the right job in His own time. I worked hard at perfecting my applications, cover letters, and resume updates. I worked hard for 3.5 years so that I would be a top candidate on graduation day. However, other people started to express unwelcome doubt. I let other people’s fears for my well-being affect my ability to ensure my own well-being. And I think that is really sad.

I understand wanting someone to understand that maybe the job market isn’t as great as they think it is. But when you make them feel inadequate and unworthy of a job, doesn’t that defeat the purpose? Won’t it hurt their ability to see potential in themselves (which they just might need to get through the months of uncertainty)? Job hunting should be a time in a person’s life filled with encouragement because sometimes it is hard to see a bright ending. It should be filled with encouragement because anything less helpful can defeat an already positive and hard-working spirit.

In the moments before my interview started, I refocused and reminded myself that this season of life and this uncertainty was in God’s hands. I trusted that His will would be done and that the interview would go as it needed to. On top of this spiritual peace I had received from my Savior, I also got some special words from a friend right before I walked inside.

“Businesses would kill for people like you”

And I believed it.

If you know someone in the midst of a job search, whether it be a college student looking for their first job, or someone who desperately needs to leave the world of unemployment, I have some advice for you. First, if you don’t have anything helpful or caring to say, don’t say anything. Your words have the chance to hurt their confidence or to draw extra attention to something they are already upset or anxious about. Confidence is SO IMPORTANT in finding a job, so don’t take that away from them, ok?! Second, don’t talk to other people about someone’s struggle in mock concern. Others don’t need to know why you don’t think so-and-so can find a job in their given time limit. This is doubly harmful because when word spreads and people are expressing disbelief all around her, she will feel even more defeated.

Not all people find comfort in Christ when they are defeated. I’m thankful every day that I can pray for peace and feel God’s comfort, but it took me a while to get to a place where I listened to Him more than the rude words of others.

Be loving. Be genuine. Be uplifting.

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