We all know that job searching can be a little depressing. When I was about to graduate from college, I started making an Itunes playlist of songs to motivate me while I was looking for my first “grownup” job. Some of these songs were very literally about job searching, some were more subtle. And some of them were just appropriate for my mood.
A few months into the first “grownup” job, I added a few more songs. These ones were more about the reality of going into an office every day and what it’s like to have to let go of college days.
In April, when one of* my best friends was about to finish her Master’s degree and look for a job, I tweaked the playlist a little more and sent her a CD of it to listen to in her car on the way to interviews (which she nailed, and had an awesome job lined up before graduation). I added a song from the most recent Ben Folds album. (Warning: this playlist has a lot of Ben Folds on it, but that’s what I listen to the most. Also, he has a lot of really great songs about jobs and hating the transition to adulthood).
In general, I’m not nearly as into music as I was in high school. I don’t want to download music illegally, but I’d rather spend my money on books. So I don’t update my music that often. I usually rely on mixes from friends.
Anyway, here are the songs that are on my job search playlist, and why. The links all go to videos (some official and some STUPID) on Youtube so you can at least hear the songs, but you should legally download them all. Also, sorry if some of the videos have stupid ads at the beginning. The songs are worth it.
For the interview/searching phase:
- Short Skirt, Long Jacket- Cake
It’s supposed to be a job description of some sort. And it’s really catchy. And it describes everything I strive to be professionally.
- A Working Day- Ben Folds/Nick Hornby
“I can do this. Really, I’m good enough. I’m as good as them, but don’t take it from me. Ask my friends. Ask my sister- they all think my stuff is great. Compared with any of them, I just need a break.” Listen to this on the way to the interview.
- Ca Plan Pour Moi- Plastic Bertrand
I have no idea what most of the lyrics mean, because I made solid Bs in French, but the main gist is “It’s all good.” Just try listening to this and not feeling upbeat. Just try it.
- Rock this Bitch- Ben Folds
When I was in college, right before my group’s final presentation we listened to this song. It’s very motivational, and I recommend listening to it right before walking in to any interview. But shut yourself in you car, office, or a conference room first.
- Que Sera, Sera- Doris Day
After the interview/thank-you followup, it’s out of your hands.
- Take a Chance on Me- Erasure (I know it’s by ABBA, but I like this version better)
You know, just in case you don’t get the job but still want it anyway. Feel free to sing this on the voicemail of your interviewer, with four other people harmonizing it Andy Bernard style...Not really.
Once you start the job:
- Step into my Office, Baby- Belle & Sebastian
The catchiest song about sexual harassment/inappropriate inter-office relations you’ll ever hear.
- 9 to 5- Dolly Parton
Obligatory. (Also, this isn’t the official video, but it’s cute and weird and has a dog).
- Proud Mary- Ike & Tina Turner
Big wheel keep on turnin’… (Sidenote: When I was on the dance team in high school, we did a pom routine to this song at football games.)
- Philosophy- Ben Folds Five
This is one of my favorite Ben Folds songs. I was listening to it a lot during that first (awful) job, and I kind of felt like if my boss was less insane, this song could be about her, from her perspective. It’s about someone who has big dreams/goals/plans, but doesn’t realize that he/she’s taking it too far, and being a jerk to everyone else involved. (“I see that there is evil. And I know that there is good. And the in-betweens I never understood. Won’t you look at me? I’m crazy! But I get the job done. Yeah I’m crazy, but I get the job done…I pushed you ’cause I loved you guys. I didn’t realize you weren’t having fun. And I walked you up the stairs and told you to fly, you were flapping your arms, you started to cry, it was too high. Too hiiiiigggggh..” Ahem. Anyway.
Accepting that you may not be happy with it:
- Learning How to Smile- Everclear
This song doesn’t really have anything to do with work, but it has to do with learning to figure out how to make your life happier, with the ultimate goal of just running away with the person you love.
- Custom Concern- Modest Mouse
Gotta go to work, gotta go to work, gotta have a job. I always picture this song playing if there was a movie with a montage of me sleeping in and hitting the snooze button for 4 hours straight. Not that I would ever do that.
- Don’t Panic- Coldplay
Seriously, don’t panic. It’s just your job. WE LIVE IN A BEAUTIFUL WORLD!
Changing your attitude about it/Acceptance:
- Surf Wax America- Weezer
Classic Weezer. =W=!!! (my favorite band! Okay, maybe tied with Ben.) “You take your car to work. I’ll take my board. And when you’re out of fuel, I’m still afloat.” Another song about how there’s more to life than work.
- You and I Both- Jason Mraz
“Was it you who spoke the words that ‘things would happen, but not to me?’ Oh, things are gonna happen, naturally.” Whatever, I’m moving on.
- Fired- Ben Folds
“EVERY ONE OF YOU IS FIRED! And I just want to walk away…” What, you haven’t shouted that to everyone in your office? (Or wanted to?)
- Still Fighting It- Ben Folds
ATTN Recent grads: Do not listen to this song during your first week at your first job after you graduate. Or any time you’re sad about being out of school. You will bawl uncontrollably.
“Everybody knows, it sucks to grow up…”
- For Now- Avenue Q
This is one of my favorite songs, EVER. It’s from the musical Avenue Q (which everyone should go see immediately if they haven’t yet), which is about a guy who’s graduating from school and trying to find his purpose in life. Then a bunch of funny puppets tell him not to worry about it. “Everyone’s a little unsatisfied. Everyone goes around a little empty inside. Take a breath. Look around. Swallow your pride- for now.” I love this song so much, it inspired one of (yeah, that’s right, ONE OF) my tattoos. (No, it’s not Pac-man. It’s supposed to be a fortune cookie, but I need to get some shading done on it):
What songs would you add to a job search playlist, and why?
*I said “one of my best friends” only because I hate the label of “best friend,” but this person is definitely my best friend, and I think she knows that.