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The Independence Issue: Ask Aunty E


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Dear Aunty E, 

So, I’ve been having really bad luck finding a job right now, and I know it’s partly because I don’t really have experience in the industry I’m trying to pursue. All I’ve got on my resume is volunteer work in management and some customer service, but I think employers gloss over this because they weren’t “real” jobs? I also know it’s just difficult to find a job amidst the pandemic to begin with. But I need to start making some money and put my college education to good use. Should I look into part-time jobs or internships instead? Any tips or suggestions? 

Sincerely, 

Jobless and Hopeless

Dear Jobless and Hopeless,  

I can resonate with what you’re going through because I’m also going through the exact same thing! Coronavirus is killing the job market right now, so I really commemorate you for your resilience in powering through a difficult job hunting process.

First and foremost, you should NOT feel discouraged from applying to a job due to a subpar resume or a lack of experience. It’s worth a shot, and you’re never going to know your chances if you choose not to apply at all!! But I would say that one way of boosting your ability to become a more competitive candidate is by directly reaching out to the company’s recruiter/hiring manager to introduce yourself and discuss what skills and attributes you can bring to their team (simply applying online doesn’t do much to help you stand out).

Personally, after hundreds of failed attempts at online applications and countless encounters with shady recruiting agencies, I began LinkedIn-stalking magazine editors and directly emailing them about what new perspectives and ideas I can bring to their team. I’ve landed so many opportunities and freelance gigs this way!! I also took advantage of my school’s career center, optimized on networking (for example, reaching out and connecting with previous/current employees of a company I’m interviewing at and then name-dropping them during the interview) and maintained relationships with HR associates and recruiters even if I didn’t get the position (send them thank you emails immediately following your interview and ask if you can stay in touch via LinkedIn as it encourages them to reach out to you for future job openings). 

All in all, I definitely agree with you that job hunting is an incredibly difficult and frustrating process. Although the job market is looking pretty weary during these unprecedented times, it’s all about staying positive, using all this quarantine time to build your professional network and work on any resume-boosting training certifications (i.e., Google provides free online programs to be certified in Google Analytics and Ad Manager as does Coursera). 

Best of luck! 

Sincerely, 

Aunty E

 


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Dear Aunty E,

I wanted to ask for advice on marriage and dating. All my life as an Asian girl, my mom has raised me to believe that my life goal is to find a husband and get married. I’ve constantly been told to act like a lady or become a certain way to please my future in-laws. So, I grew up mistakenly thinking that marriage is my only true measure of success. Whenever I go to family gatherings, my grandparents and aunties would ask me if I was dating anyone. As I get older, I know these questions will get much worse, especially if I’m still single. It seems like they don’t really care about my career and academic achievements!! 

The thing is, Aunty E, I’ve dated guys before and always felt the need to find my future husband. My last boyfriend was a really great guy, but I was never down to commit, settle down, and get married. I just always felt restless. My older sister got married early at 25, and she seems to be doing okay. But for some reason, I can’t imagine myself being okay with dating someone until I’m 30, getting married, and having kids. It has really made me question the idea of marriage. Marriage seems like some great life fulfillment, but I’ve realized there’s other areas of life worth exploring. 

How or when do you even begin to feel okay with settling down and getting married to someone? What is the secret to finding someone and being okay with dating them for the rest of your life? 

Sincerely, 

Single But Not Ready to Mingle

Dear Single But Not Ready to Mingle,

Thanks for writing in! You’re definitely not the only Asian girl to have felt this way about dating and marriage. Recently, I came upon this article about the decline of marriage rates among women in South Korea. Asian cultures are influenced by Confucian customs, one which extremely values the importance of marriage and family heritage. So, it’s only natural for your parents and relatives to be expressing their concern about your current relationship status.

But, you have a really good point, marriage should NOT be your only measure of success, and a man should never define your self-worth. Although it’s hard trying to avoid those dreaded ‘marriage’ lectures, I encourage you to remain true to yourself and don’t let these comments get to you. 

Also, it’s completely normal to feel a bit uncertain about settling down with somebody. Love shouldn’t have to be forced, and trust me, as cheesy as this sounds–when you’re with a guy you WANT to settle down with, you will know. I’m definitely on the same boat as you since I’m also taking a few years to myself, figuring out my career path, reveling in my independence, and still searching for what other adventures and discoveries life entails. 

There’s no secret in finding someone who you will spend the rest of your life with. If there was, then what’s the point of love?? If there was a magic formula on how to find your soulmate, then feelings won’t exist. Emotions won’t be valid. Passion wouldn’t be so intoxicatingly powerful. 

So, you do you, girl. Try not to focus too much on marriage and kids until you feel ready to settle down and ready to take on the next chapter of your life.

Sincerely, 

Aunty E

Overachiever Magazine was started by Rehana Paul in October of 2018 to give a platform to all Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities.

Our name is poking fun at the stereotype that all Asians are overachievers, especially Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities. It’s also in recognition of all of us who have had no choice but to be overachievers: managing societal expectations, family obligations, and educational opportunities, all while fighting the patriarchy.

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