Made Sh*t Happen: How Kevin Bailey Navigated a 7-Month Job Search After Graduation

Written by Jenny Blake I am delighted to bring you the story of Kevin Bailey today. By the time I (virtually) met Kevin last July, he was a bit exasperated by the job search after graduating in April 2012.

Kevin BaileyYou'd never know it from his contagiously sunny demeanor, but Kevin felt like he had tried everything to find a job, without success. Living at home with no car, no job, and not much traction, it would have been easy for Kevin to listen to the doom-and-gloom in the media and give up hope.

But Kevin Bailey is no quitter. He joined Make Sh*t Happen that August, and by November landed a job as an IT recruiter. When I talked to him this weekend to get updates for today's post, he proudly announced that he's moving out in a month and now looking at new cars — both were on his Big Scary Hairy Goal list (second to finding a job), and seemed almost unimaginable just six short months ago.

Kevin felt so much compassion for other job-seekers that when I asked him to share his case study for this post, he ended up writing a 17-page Word doc! He doesn't have a blog or any social media to promote — he genuinely wants to help others who feel as frustrated and confused as he once did.

You can check-out the full version of this case study on Scribd: 9.5 Tips for the Frustrated Job Seeker -- a side-splitting account of Kevin's successes, failures and tips for job seekers.

Kevin has also generously offered to speak with anyone who wants a little advice or encouragement, and if you're looking for a job in IT, he's your guy! You can send him glowing notes, questions and feedback at: keailey87 [at] msn [dot] com.

Make Sh*t Happen Now Open for Rolling Enrollment!

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The live version of the course costs $400 — starting today you can get access for just $129. And the best part? After you sign-up, you'll get a 20% off discount code for you and a friend, because I know how much accountability and support matter when pursuing something huge.

Click here to learn more and get started! And continue reading for Kevin's hilarious, heartwarming and all-around-amazing story :)

Made Sh*t Happen: How Kevin Bailey Finally Found a Job He Loves After a 7-Month Search

VALUES: Why was this goal important to you?

In reality this goal was so much more important than just getting a job.

What I wanted (scratch that) what I NEEDED, was a new lifestyle. I began this little job hunt journey of mine, fresh out of getting let go from my first non-college job. It was your typical 90 days from hired to fired type fiasco. The performance evaluation went something like... “We think you're AWESOME and AMAZING, and WE LOVE YOU, and you're fired, BUT WE'LL MISS YOU!!!"

Despite the obvious blow to my self-confidence, losing my first job sucked for two major reasons:

  1. It forced me to have to do what I considered the unthinkable — I moved back in with my parents. (NOOO!!!!). Yep, that's right. My freedom, my house parties, and yes my sex life, all put on hold. I love my family, but there's nothing less sexy than a 24 year old man saying "Hey girl, wanna come back to my parents’ house?"
  2. Student loan debt! Those student loan companies were so friendly and helpful my freshman year of college. Any time I was a little short on cash, they'd be MORE than happy to give me a few bucks. What's a couple thousand dollars amongst friends right? Freshmen Kevin LOVED loan companies, or as he liked to call them... free money givers!!! Free money for clothes, free money for beer, free money for condoms (That's right! No Shame!) Yay! Thanks student loans companies! I love free money!!!

Flash forward 5 years later.

Some might call it poetic justice, but literally the week after I lose my job, I get a letter in the mail from a not quite as friendly student loan company saying something along the lines of...

"Hey buddy, so you know all that money we've been so generously giving you for the past 4 years? Yeah we're gonna need you to start paying that back. NOW!!!"

I didn't need 4 years of college to do the math. 6 figure debt + No job = BAD SITUATION!!!

COURAGE: How did you build the courage to actually do it? How did you know it was time?

You'll be amazed and the things you can do, when you don't have a choice. Fear is a powerful motivator. I couldn't comprehend the horror of being stuck living with my parents, while defaulting on my student loans, and ruining my financial future. Nope! That was just not going to happen. At least not without a good fight!

Faced with the two options of freedom verse imprisonment, I choose freedom. And if that meant I needed to routinely push myself out of my comfort zone, in order to land that job, that is exactly what I was going to do!

SUPPORT: Who held you accountable to your goal? Were friends and family supportive?

If there is anything I can hammer home for those in the midst of your Big Hairy Scary conquests, it's this; don't' try to do it alone! Family, friends, business partners, life coaches, and that nice barista girl you met at Starbucks are all there to make your life easier.

I am 100% positive I could have never accomplished my goal of getting a professional job, if it weren't for the love and support of so many wonderful people. My mom and sister who gave me weekly accountability meetings, the professional business men and women I met at all business conferences I attended, and all of the MSHers! And of course a BIG shout out to the crème de la crop, the myth, the legend, Ms. Jenny Blake!

FEAR/DOUBTS: What were your biggest fears, doubts and insecurities before starting?

For better or worse I didn't really have the luxury of not accomplishing my goal. In order to survive, I needed a job. Plain and simple. And I knew that I would eventually find myself a job, but I will say the scariest part of this whole ordeal were two burning questions that I could not answer.

What job would I get?

I had seen my fellow colleagues with the exact same degree, in a variety of different employment situations. Some, like me were unemployed. Others were making minimum wage at the local restaurants, and a few where actually in big professional jobs making an actual decent salary. The scary part was not knowing where I would end up on this spectrum. Would I actually make it to a good professional job, or would I end up flipping burgers at my local fast food joint?

When would I get it?

Perhaps the scariest problem was the issue of my school loans. It made my situation a lot more real, because unlike many other newly grads who could take a few months off from the real world, I had been given a financial deadline. No deferment, no forbearance, my debt was due! But what options did I have? Jobs weren't exactly falling from the sky, and as hard as I tried I couldn't wish money into existence.

It frustrated me to think how I could've been dealt such a crappy life hand. I went to college, I got my degree, and now here I was being punished for it. It made no sense!

Still, after a few days of throwing myself a good old fashioned pity party, I grudgingly accepted the fact that life wasn't fair, and choose to handle the situation to the best of my ability. I had no control over whether a company would hire me before I needed to start repaying my loans, but I did have control over transforming myself into a smart job hunter to increase my chances of being hired. Thankfully this mindset paid off and I was able to snag a job just in the nick of time.

THE DIP: Was there ever a moment/period of time that you felt you had hit a dip (felt like a failure and/or wanted to quit)?

Oh "The Dip" how you doing my good old friend? I miss you!!! I'll never forget the first time we met! It was when I got my third consecutive rejection email. I was shutting down my computer, and getting ready to go to bed, when you appeared out of nowhere and introduced yourself. I think you said something like:

"Hi! I'm The Dip, I'm here to make you feel like shit." And then I said, "Hi Dip, I'm Kevin. And I don't really want to feel like shit." And then you said, "Oh, really? Well umm... that's too bad, cause that's kinda what I do."

Now, I don't want to hurt your feelings Dip, but I didn't really like you very much when I first met you. Let's be honest; you're arrogant, intrusive, condescending, and just kinda a bully. I mean come on, telling me I'm not smart enough to get a real job, that I'm wasting my time applying to anything other than Taco Bell, saying no one hires college students without a 4.0 and 3 internships -- that's pretty harsh bro!

But! As you know, during my job hunt you and I spent a lot of time together, and I we grew to learn more about each other, I was finally able to see you as you truly are.

Yes, you can be perceived as an unwelcomed jerk, sent to destroy dreamer’s goals and aspirations, but you're just (like so many of us) misunderstood.

You see Dip, I know you well enough now to understand that you don't really want us to fail. Nope. On the contraire, you are our biggest goal supporter!

As I'm sure you know Dip, you prevent us dream making folks, from getting too comfortable. You make sure things aren't too easy, and that is exactly what we need!

Dip, you give our goals meaning and value. How could we possibly appreciate what we have, if we don't know what it's worth? If you weren't around life would be so BORING. We'd all just simply do what we needed to do and that be it. Next. There be no pep talks, no motivational speakers, Hollywood would go bankrupt cause there'd be no more "hero's journey," and poor Jenny Blake would be out of the job (sorry Jenny). In short without my good old friend The Dip life would be empty and meaningless.

But fortunately Dip, you are here, and I for one, would not want to have it any other way. Thank you Dip for constantly helping me grow, learn, and appreciate life.

Now that I actually have a good job, I haven't seen you in a while, but I know you'll be back. And when you do return I will embrace you with open arms, knowing full well that if you are here, then I am exactly where I should be!

SUCCESS! How did you feel after accomplishing your goal? What did you learn about yourself in the process? What are you most proud of?

I would love to tell you that once I got the job offer, balloons fell from the sky, confetti shot into the air, and the marching band began to play, but truthfully I entered into my new job very cautiously.

For the past year or so I have been so used to failure, that it has been really difficult for me to accept that this actually -- perhaps -- just possibly -- might be -- the real deal! ...maybe.

The months following the job offer I was waiting for the other shoe to drop.

The days before my first day of work, I didn't tell anyone that I had just gotten a new job because I was convinced that at any moment the hiring manager was going to call my cell phone and say something along the lines of, "Oh! I'm so sorry, we actually had two Kevin's apply for this position, and I accidentally offered the job to the wrong one. My bad."

During my first week working there I was positive my boss was going to say "Whoa Kevin! You can't handle this position. What were we thinking? You're fired!"

But still, each day I'm gaining more confidence in my inner awesomeness, and my ability to handle whatever unforeseen events life throws at me.

Perhaps the most important, yet underrated section of the MSH course is Celebrate! I found that section really resonated with me, because I have a habit of downplaying my accomplishments. There's always a next step, or something I could've done better, or I just got lucky, or (like in this case) soon everything will fall apart.

I am an instinctive rainbow chaser, sacrificing today's happiness, for tomorrow’s better fortune. But I'm slowly becoming enlighten to this fallacy, and beginning to understand the importance of the present.

I worked my ass off to get this new job, and dammit I deserve to enjoy it! I get my own office, on the 19th floor of 30-story building, I couldn't love my co-workers more, I'm making more money than the average newly grad (with the possibility of making a 6-figure income within the next few years), last week I enjoyed a private rooftop party with an open bar overlooking the Downtown Los Angeles skyline, I routinely go out to the nicest restaurants and eat out on the companies dime, and literally as I'm writing this last paragraph, I am on a plane back from all-expense paid business trip to Phoenix, Arizona.

I am very happy, and proud of myself for not only all the work that I have put into making this a reality, but recognizing and appreciating all that I have accomplished. These are the good times!

ADVICE: What advice would you give to future Make Sh*t Happeners?

Get out there and Give'em hell!

I shall leave you with one of my favorite simple quotes of all time:

“A ship is safe in harbor, but that's not what ships are for.” —William G.T. Shedd

Ready to take your own big dream from "nice idea" to inevitable success? Enroll in Make Sh*t Happen today! Even better: corral a few friends and go through as an iron-clad accountability mastermind group :)