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What I learned from job-hunting during the 2008 recession

By Andrea Macek – Career Coach


Many of us define success based on early experiences and definitions from our family and friends. I was no exception to that. Upon graduating with my master’s degree in 2008 (during the recession), I immediately had to redefine what career success meant and what it could look like. I felt lost, defeated, scared, and angry. I felt like everything I had worked for was taken away.

That experience allowed me to practice 4 key skills that became the foundation for career success.

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1. Being able to adapt and be flexible

Change is constant throughout your career. While the current economic climate isn’t one that you hoped for, you’re getting practice with how to navigate & adjust. The recession gave me an opportunity to reflect and analyze the gifts, talents, skills, and experiences that I had curated through my educational career. I had to “translate” these into industry-agnostic items. Doing this helped me gain clarity on where to spend my time and energy, and identify interesting and feasible job opportunities that I could go after. We offer a six-week program that coaches clients through this success-process. 

2. Storytelling (AKA Communication)

In all formats. Being able to clearly and concisely articulate your top skills and value-add is equally important as your search strategy.  Job searching is an exercise in storytelling. Your resume and cover-letter are designed to tell a compelling story so that you get to an interview. Once you’re at the interview, you’re then telling your story in person. 

3. Problem-solving, creativity, and the ability to work under pressure

(You got 3 for 1 here!) You have an opportunity to re-define what success means for you. We are socialized to think of success a linear. There isn’t just one way to achieve what you want. This an opportunity to think about different paths. This isn’t something we are socialized to do. Part of my mission with AYM Consulting is to socialize the practice of exploration rather than expectation. 

4. Resiliency!

Have a bias to action rather than inaction. Often when we experience the unknown, we tend to retreat and are scared to take action. You’re completely allowed to be scared, disappointed, and angry. Use the energy from these emotions to try something new!

These are all skills that I didn’t learn from either of my degrees. Though, each of these skills has been invaluable throughout my career in securing leadership positions, promotions, and now running my own business. (Skills that took my peers years longer to identify and practice.) 

Like many of you, I wasn’t taught to think about alternative options and think through a course of action should something not go according to plan. I had no framework or textbook that could show me what to do next. So, I created my own process. I had to redefine success and re-frame how I positioned my professional brand. The recession was the best thing that happened to my career.


Andrea Yacub Macek is the Founder of AYM Consulting, a career coaching company. Andrea helps ambitious women define success in their own way & translate their achievements into a career they love. With over 10 years of work experience, Andrea has a dynamic background in career development, human resources, healthcare operations, and project management. Andrea holds a Master’s in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Middle Tennessee State University and a Bachelor’s in Psychology from The University of Florida. Andrea is certified in project management through the PMI Institute.

You can find Andrea on Instagram and LinkedIn.

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