Job Search Advice For The New Year: Nothing Is Free


At this time of year we are bombarded with advertisements trying to entice us to buy more, get this, give that and so on.

My favourite marketing strategy is the ‘buy one get one free’ or ‘buy two get two free.’

We are led to believe that there is such a thing as free.

The reality is that nothing in life is free. Someone is paying, whether it be the workers, the environment, or perhaps you – paying not with money but with your time listening to a marketing ploy.

“Nothing comes from nothing and nothing ever could,” (yes, I just watched the Sound of Music). I have found that if I allow myself to accept this as a fact, I am much less easily manipulated. If something seems too easy, if someone is telling me that something is free, I should be skeptical.

As a society we are constantly looking for the easy out, how we can get something for nothing. We want to lose weight without exercising or solve financial hardship by winning the lottery. The reality is, as Thomas Edison stated, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

When it comes to finding your ideal career, it is an upward climb; it is, indeed, hard work. Just pulling together a decent resume can take days. To be successful in a career search, you have to simultaneously be introspective and outgoing.

You need to take the time to understand yourself, your needs, skills, values, and passions, and then look for where those align with a company or a career. You can get advice and tips, but ultimately no one can do the work for you. You have to be willing to put yourself out there time and again and risk being knocked down. Then you need to pick yourself up, brush yourself off and do it all over again.

Sound terrible? Yes, indeed it may be.

There will be moments where you feel like you are a failure, like you have wasted your time, like you have done everything right and yet everything is going wrong. You will feel that you deserve it this time around – and you might. But still you don’t get the job.

And then, just when you think you can’t get up again, you can’t stand submitting another application or preparing for another interview, just when you are ready to quit, you try again because you remember those cheesy quotes that “nothing worth having is free.”

And in that moment between overwhelming exhaustion and opportunity is when things start to look up. That is when you realize how hard it is to beat someone who never gives up (thank you, Babe Ruth).

So, in this New Year that is filled with cheap promises of easy comforts – do not be misled. Nothing comes from nothing and nothing ever could.

About the author

Clare Tattersall is the Manager of Career Development and Community Based Learning at Huron University College at Western University in London, Ont. She oversees the international exchange and internship programs, offers career counseling and development appointments and workshops, and has developed and implemented a co-curricular certificate in Leadership and Professional Development. Clare holds a Master’s degree in English Language and Literature and has over 10 years of experience in the communications sector and post-secondary administration.