Every other week or so, my daughter, LC, comes homes from preschool clutching an envelope containing a handful of colorful sequins and plastic rhinestones. This means the “Jewel Fairy” has recently visited her preschool, sprinkling jewels in their sandbox area. Often on these special days when I come to pick her up, I’ll find a gaggle of kids scouring the sandbox for little plastic jems. LC revels over her jewels on the way home, admiring each one, often showing them off to the adoring teachers at my son’s afterschool program. When we get home, LC carefully tucks them away in her jewelry box (usually after arranging the entire collection elaborately on the floor first.)
It was on one of those days at preschool where the Jewel Fairy had recently visited that I had just come from a career coaching session with a graduate student who likened her job search to “finding a needle in a haystack”. And now here I was at LC’s preschool watching 3 and 4-year-olds crouching down and intently searching for plastic jewels in a giant sandbox. It was a game, yes, but something they were all taking quite seriously.
Finding jewels in a sandbox.
I’m not saying a group of preschoolers hunting for baubles in a pile of sand and searching for a job is the same thing. LC and her preschool friends (luckily) aren’t shouldered with bills to pay, visa issues, health insurance, families to support, etc. And still, there is something valuable about the element of play here, the pursuit and dedication to it. And there’s a lovely message, too, that I want to share with that graduate student (and all of us): yes, searching for a job can be like a needle in a haystack if you choose to view it that way. But does that help you? And how true is that? (And more obviously, ugh, that makes it sound like a drag.) What if searching for a job was more like searching for jewels in a sandbox: there is more than one out there for you, if you don’t find what you want right now, the Jewel Fairy will be back soon, and maybe, just maybe, you can even have some fun searching for it.