Drink: Caffe de La Cabra Ethiopia Elias Migu
Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Shortly after I left my job and was wading deep into the waters of The Job Hunt, I was fortunate enough to grab a coffee with one of my most busiest of friends: Lucy.

I met Lucy under the Balinese sun. I was coding and she was taking some space to figure out her next career month – and have a vacation. We bonded over fresh coconuts and bami goreng. Three years later, I managed to convince her to move to Amsterdam, she is now wrapped up in scarves and blankets as we drink fresh ginger tea instead in the Netherlands.

Our chats are always informative and fresh. I love them because we both come from similar-ish backgrounds but we have such different perspectives on life. The lens in which I see the world has been formed through Europe — in the worlds of academia and parents who grew up on Pink Floyd and Michael Jackson. Hers has been through corporate law and venture capitalism in New Zealand and Singapore.

Crucially, Lucy is miles ahead of me in the career and self-development game. We talked about how I had an idea of what I wanted to do, what I wanted, and a guideline in place for me to get there. I’m indebted to what I see now is a very obvious thing. She said, firmly: “Why aren’t you applying already?”

“I still have a lot to learn… and I don’t want my applications to become out-of-date…”

“Apply. Just apply.”

I thought a bit more on it. I was looking at this job hunt like I had the luxury of being a perfectionist. I was planning but I wasn’t doing. For roles I could see myself excelling in, there was no real good reason for me to not apply just because I was, maybe, only a 70-80% match on paper.

The truth is that there will never be the perfect role for anyone. It’s an on-going dialogue – between what the product, team, and company need and what they want. Sometimes, the company does not even know what they really want. It is a delicate dance.

I was planning a lot – had ensnared myself in a bubble that is all too common for underrepresented groups. I had shortlisted a few companies and I would not put myself in the running until I had hit, or was very close to hitting, their requirements. I had intentionally lost the race by preparing too much. The important thing is to actually join.

As is typical in these stories, I remembered talks with friends who did not have this problem. One friend was applying to vacancies he did not fully skill-match with and he made really good progress with one company who saw other value he could bring, and had stated to him there was space for him to grow. He starts his next job in a few weeks. It’s good to remember that he would not have been offered this opportunity had he let the fear take over.

And so cup no. 2 was about, simply, having the confidence to just do things. I was veering towards thinking and planning too much, and my chat with Lucy was a reminder to not execute too late. When it comes to seeking opportunities, I’m the one in charge so I should reach for them, even if I come up a little short.