Monday, July 29, 2013

Keep Calm and Job Hunt On - Or Go for a Run

I've been back in California for just under three weeks now - kind of unreal. I am starting week two at the new job, still living in temporary housing, and am dealing with a great bit of uncertainty and "what ifs" than one would imagine after just landing back in her home state. But that's another conversation.

Not always easy, but always done.
What I really wanted to write about, after numerous questions and "Jeezo, how did you do that?" comments about running while on the job hunt. I spent the better part of June on a plane, or in multiple time zones during which red-eyes totally kicked my behind. However, June was also the core month of the #RWRunStreak, a challenge I'm proud to say that I met (even though it sometimes meant doubling up on runs). Whether you're job hunting in student affairs (a pretty taxing, ridiculous interview process) or in some other field, it's still not easy to maintain a regular fitness schedule while also remembering to check in for your flight, make sure you have all your interview materials, and are still mostly staying sane... let alone remembering your socks, shoes, and shorts.

How did I do it? I couldn't really tell you. But I have a few tips, suggestions, and ways to make fitness really pay off during those interviews.

1. Channel your nervous interview energy into a run! Morning interview jitters? Try and jog 'em out, either around the city you're visiting (ask for tips from locals or from the hotel desk), or even on a hotel gym treadmill. Knock out those butterflies, give yourself an endorphin boost to get the day started, and feel motivated and empowered to rock their socks off.

2. Use a run to discover your new (potential) home. There is no better way to get to know a city than to run its streets - for good and bad. I mean, stay safe, get recommendations of places to go and places to avoid, wear your Road ID, but also use that time to discover those hidden trails, parks, and places to check out. You can't see everything from a car window!

Ah, California scenery.
3. Go for a run to learn more about the place you could work for. This heavily applies to student affairs, as we're lucky enough to get to travel to campuses all over during our interview processes. This often includes a campus tour sometime during the day, but if you can talk about places you've already seen, or sights you appreciated during that morning jaunt around campus, why not talk about it? They'll appreciate that you've not only done your research reading that campus historical marker plaque, but that you loved it enough to talk about it! If you're also a student affairs nerd like me, you can even make a to-do list like this one - see how many campuses you can knock off of your "Campuses I've Run" list! (I've only got one that I've actually run on, despite having visited many of them)

4. Pack fitness clothes as if it's second nature. Suit? Check. Dress shoes? Check. Shorts? Check. Shirt, sports bra, armband, Garmin, socks, running shoes, check? Just as you would ensure that you have a full interview assembly packed and prepared, pack your favorite running clothes too! You're more likely to actually put them on if you bothered to pack them and haul them across the country with you.

5. Keep calm (no, there is no 'and...' to close that off). If you are the runner that truly gets outside (or on a machine) just to stay sane, continue to do that! There is no reason that travel or time zones could or should prevent you from maintaining a mental health regimen. If you know that, like me, you are a happier person when your day starts with a run, ensure that you make the effort to do so -- it'll make you happier during a long day, but also contributes to a more pleasant demeanor and likableness during those interviews!

I was lucky enough, despite seriously long flights and layovers, that my trips were all to the west coast this time around. When it comes to getting up in the morning, it was no struggle given that my brain and body were still usually on Eastern time so 5 am Pacific was no sweat (usually).

I put in more treadmill miles in June than I have in the last year, which I hated, but I was more happy to be running, putting in the work, and making the effort, than to be a sitting duck just because I wanted a little more sleep. They weren't always happy miles, and they were usually only in sets of two miles (and less), but it was mo
re than nothing and more than sitting more - especially after long flights, that was the last thing I usually needed. Running sets my days off on the right foot (or left), and I knew that made me a better person, much stronger, and more confident during those interview days.

Other tips or suggestions for running on the job hunt? How many campuses have you run on?


  1. I have never ran on the job hunt! I have only ran on the Cal Poly Pomona campus. They have a 5k there every year. When is your next race?

    1. That sounds fun! I am not sure about my next race. The only one I'm ACTUALLY signed up for is RnR Vegas, but I'm itching to do something before that. Going to be hard since come Labor Day, I'll be working Saturdays!