I strongly recall the longevity of unemployment after finishing my undergraduate studies (6 months of unemployment), but I didn't really have any direction I wanted to go.
Then, I got my first job and managed to land my second job after that. I hated both jobs and was already planning on doing a master's degree in my first bout of unemployment, so was glad I started it.
I have now finished my first semester and think I did pretty well (it is a computer science conversion course). The "working gap-year", as I called this period of my life, allowed me to find a bit of direction, and I have a better idea of where I am heading with a future.
I am going to be pursuing PhD applications in the new year as well as network with employers (as a backup). But, I still get this worry and dread that I will end up back in the unemployment boat after I finish my master's course.
What ways can I avoid this or should I just be prepared to emotionally cope with this inevitability?
Gaps between jobs/studies is normal. As long as you working towards something bigger it is fine. A lot of people are jobless for a few months after a PhD but most people find a good stimulating job in the end. So the possible temporary unemployment is worth it in the long run. In my opinion.
Looking for employment can be a challenging process, depending on your location and the type of roles that you are aiming for. It can take from 6 months to one year to land a job. And yes, it can be emotionally draining.
I note that you are currently doing a master and going to apply for a PhD. Could you stop to think why you are doing a PhD? Is it because you truly want to become a Professor? Or is it to delay/avoid job finding? Your field is computer science, and I know that in this field, work experience is more valued than high academic qualifications so you may wish to reconsider that PhD if you intend to look for a job in the industry after doing a PhD as you may be seen as academically overqualified but having little work experience. If you wish to pursue an academic career or maybe even start your own consulting business, then yes, continue with your PhD.
How to cope with the inevitability of job hunting and stress it brings? Try telling yourself that every rejection gets you one step closer to the your dream job as you have learned from that application. Some people apply for up to 50 or more jobs before they land on one (depending on your current location). You can also take on minor roles (cleaner, tutoring, waitressing, etc) while waiting for your dream job, to reduce financial stress. In summary, you just have to deal with it head on because job hunting is unpleasant, but hey, we all have bills to pay.
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