6 ways to self-induce a breakdown about your career prospects

Girl, 22, has a bright future in unemployment.

Summer is approaching, which means you have a Big Four internship lined up or you don’t. You have a grad job or you don’t. You feel secure about starting your career or you’re still applying to jobs and getting rejected from everything. Here are some ways that will guarantee a career-related meltdown.

  1. Stalking people on LinkedIn.

The LinkedIn stalk – the best and fastest way to an existential crisis. The LinkedIn stalk also comes with bonus points: feelings of inferiority and inadequacy! That person has done more internships than you have – one point. So that person in your Economics tute got offered a grad position and you didn’t – five points. Stalking your academic rival/crush/ex-girlfriend/best friend and forgetting to set your profile to private – priceless. 

  1. Stalking your interviewers on LinkedIn to see whose profile they recently viewed.

You must know your competition, which is why you spend half an hour poring through the LinkedIn profiles of your interviewers. Not because you’re interested in your interviewers, but you want to see whose profiles they viewed recently because there’s a 90% chance that those profiles belong to applicants for the same job. You compare your LinkedIn with Stanley Morgan’s LinkedIn, wondering whether the recruiters prefer your internship with the Department of Treasury and Finance or Morgan’s internship with the Department of Economic Development.

After your rejection email, keep stalking these applicants to see which person lists the position on their LinkedIn. Feel sad after you find out, wondering whether you would’ve been successful if you had interned at Google or won the Nobel Peace Prize at age fifteen. Repeat this stalk during the next interview process because you’re a masochist.

  1. Scrolling through job listings at 3am in the morning.

It’s 3am, the perfect time to have a panic attack about unemployment after graduation. Rather than going through your breathing techniques or dealing with your anxiety and emotions in a healthy manner, you decide to log on to Seek/Pedestrian Jobs/Careers Online/LinkedIn/Mumbrella. Read all the job descriptions and realise that you’re:

1) Terribly unqualified for every ‘entry-level’ position – when companies say entry-level, what they really mean is that you need five-years industry experience;

2) Realise that every application closes at 5pm later that day and you need to write responses to Key Selection Criteria as well as research the company, write the cover letter and update your resume; and

3) It’s 3am and you’re too tired to do anything, but you’re not tired enough to stop freaking out about your future and you’re freaking out too much to fall asleep.

  1. Refreshing the application portal every five seconds.

Just in case your application status has changed since the last time you refreshed the page. You never know, maybe the IBM application portal crashed, maybe the recruiters made a mistake when they listed ‘job closed’ and you’ll magically receive an acceptance email in three…two…one…Refresh.

  1. Keeping a folder in your inbox to keep track of how many rejection emails you’ve received.

There is nothing more comforting than keeping all your failures in one place! Every time you log into your email, there’s a folder to remind you that no matter how hard you worked at uni, no matter how many internships you did over summer, and no matter what position you held in that Microfinance society, there was someone out there who scored a higher WAM, did more internships at more prestigious places, and probably founded that club where you currently serve as Secretary.

  1. Stress out about your future with other people who are also stressing about their future.

Sometimes, talking to other people who are also stressing about their future is helpful. You realise that you’re in the same sinking boat, there’s hysterical cackling, and you give each other advice that you can’t seem to take yourself.

Remind them that they’re talented and that they’ve achieved so much already, that they’ll find something in the industry they want to be in because they’re intelligent and hardworking, but you can’t seem to view your own achievements and work ethic in the same way.

You finish the conversation and start another job search.

The author would like to thank her housemates and friends for providing endless material for this article – both through observation and bonding over recruiters who never got back to us.

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