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90 Days to Find a Job or Leave the Country

How does a shy introvert networks when she has 90 days to find a job or leave the country

When I graduated from university, I had 90 days to find a job or leave the country. With 0 connections and no family in Canada as an international student, I realized I had a ton of skills, but no idea how to market myself!

I couldn’t afford a bus pass. As I walked in the midsummer sun, sweat drained from my underarms and down my side, and puddles underneath my breasts. My heart and head pounded with anxiety.

I exhaled and I realized I was terrified.

  • Terrified of going home.

  • Terrified of knowing I couldn’t afford to survive where I was. I had $159 in my bank account and bank fees hadn’t been taken yet.

  • Terrified of landing in a job I hated, struggling to survive, or worse yet feeling stuck in a 9-to-5 with overtime with no way out. It felt like the third unspoken choice we all face - struggling to stay afloat and maybe never going anywhere, treading water and gasping for air in our careers, in our lives, in our businesses.

The melodramatic or maybe realistic side of me - imagined a future working and living paycheque-to-paycheque day-by-day - trudging through the snow in a cold country, far away from my family and all alone. Not being able to have enough vacation time or afford to visit my family - THAT terrified me.

I'm thrilled to have the amazing Jette Stubbs as our guest blogger this week. I met Jette as I prepared to join her podcast, Happy Career Formula. Her story, as introduced in this blog, is captivating. Her mission to help others create and achieve their career possibilities is inspiring. Enjoy!

Thoughts floating in my head finally clicked on like a light switch. I took out my phone and made notes:

I had realized three things:

  1. We are not taught how to figure out what we want to do in life

  2. We are not taught how to build successful careers or businesses

  3. We are not taught how to market ourselves to attract money or opportunities

But we need TO DO these 3 things to survive

I needed to tackle these things one by one - THAT was my next step. I needed to learn how to build a life that excited me in order to create a career or business to help me achieve my life goals. I needed to stop acting like I was desperate and tackle this the way I would if everything was OK.

I tried to reverse engineer success. I thought of someone successful.

Think of someone you consider successful. Someone who you follow or think their work is amazing. Why do you think they are successful?

When you think about their success, do you think about how hard they worked to get there? If you think the way I used to think, you may think about how hard it would be for you to do the same thing.

Misdirected Role Models

When you think about someone successful, does this person:

  • Have higher education or degrees - a.k.a. Learning directly from people who have done what they do; ie, the “experts?"

  • Read books or self-education - a.k.a. Take the initiative to continue to learn and grow through knowledgeable people and resources?

  • Lead people - a.k.a getting teams of people to expand their skills, time and effort beyond what they can do on their own, to achieve a goal

  • Make a lot of money - a.k.a. Convincing people (clients or companies) to pay them money because they are trusted to solve their problems

  • Build a successful business - a.k.a. Getting teams of people to expand their skills and effort to achieve a goal, while also convincing people to pay them because they are trusted to solve their problems.

The person who achieves great success becomes a great hero in our minds. They accomplished great things. We look at them as an individual and say, “Well done.” We may even be intimidated by them and afraid to speak to them freely because they are our “hero.” Your hero probably did work hard but is that why they were successful? No. Hard work, on its own, cannot guarantee success.

Hard work is your tool. Building networks of the right people builds your path to success. Every single one of the things we typically attribute to “hard work” has a lot more to do with building relationships with:

  • People who know what you don’t know (teammates, teams you lead, experts to teach you)

  • People who have problems that need to be solved (clients and companies)

If you don’t learn anything new or interact with people, you’ll repeat the same patterns over and over again with the same results. If you don’t learn what problems people need to be solved, you’ll sit there forever thinking, “What should I do with my life?” or “What career should I have?” Because you can’t have success without other people. I needed to build a network and be able to sell myself better to the people in my network, but I was super introverted and shy. As a kid, I was the one who was teased for being so soft-spoken that you couldn’t hear me even when a mic was touching my lips.

Paradigm Shift

If you’re like me, you want a way to make money that:

  • aligns with who you are, so you can stand tall with your own authenticity

  • allows influence over income and benefits, so you can sell yourself with confidence to get employers or clients excited to pay you with less chasing of the dollar

  • makes a positive difference in the world, so you’re doing meaningful work you are proud of & excited to share

  • gives work-life balance, so you have time and income to spend with loved ones and hobbies

But it hasn’t been working and Here’s why…

You were taught... The Old Way: You’ve been talking about your experience and degrees, and that’s gotten you nowhere. You think if you just do things - build your degrees, get experience - then someone will see you and recognize your hard work and choose to pay you.

You should learn... The New Way: People and businesses pay to solve problems or to achieve goals.

So if you want to make money, you need to identify the problems you solve and the goals you help people or companies achieve. You are the solution to a company or client’s problem. You are filling in a missing piece they need to achieve their goals. You will explain how you help so you can market yourself to expand your earning potential. You can build and grow your earning potential on your terms.

Once I changed how I thought about relationships and focused on the new way to achieve professional success, I wrote 10 job applications where I focused on the needs of the company. I went from:

  • a 0% response rate to over 100 job applications to

  • a 70% response rate to 10 job applications.

Focus & Determination Then, I started helping others. Since then, I have helped many, from recent graduates to corporate executives, find what they love to do and sell themselves, thus far in Canada, USA, and UK and in over 40 industries.

Here’s the thing! While I was working, I experienced common and uncommon obstacles:

  • discrimination at work

  • living in a country without any family

  • mom stabbed 17 times in a robbery (and lived)

  • dad diagnosed with dementia when I was 25, and had to move countries to take care of him

So I realized: Making money cannot stop when life goes wrong. Eventually, I realized I didn't want just any job. I wanted to build a way to make money that aligns with who I am and more importantly, my situation.

I wanted to start a business so I could have the flexibility I imagined would come with business ownership.

But, again, there was a problem…

  • Information overload.

  • There were a lot of specialists teaching one thing (like building a website, or social media), so I felt I was given pieces of the puzzle.

  • So many steps on YouTube, but how do they fit together and where to start?

  • I ended up chasing shiny objects (exhausting myself creating content or building a website) that didn't result in growth or paying clients.

  • I wanted to be my own boss, but I had to learn how to be a good boss for myself

I finally figured out how to grow a business properly using the same principles around building relationships which helped me land more job opportunities in the first place. The principles for finding what you love to do and selling yourself are the same whether you want a job, freelance service or business.

The Golden Nugget

As an introvert who was once quite shy, one of the biggest shifts I made was how I saq networking. At first, I viewed networking as this overwhelming task of building superficial relationships. Now, I see it as a process of getting to know people, listening to their needs, and supporting them to achieve their goals.

Be sure you are headed in the right direction for your own career success.



Jette Stubbs is a Career and Business Coach, and Podcast Host for Happy Career Formula. When Jette graduated from university as an international student, she had 90 days to find a job or leave the country. Since then, she has helped many from recent graduates to corporate executives find what they love to do and sell themselves. Then, she started helping clients start and grow their own businesses. Now, Jette helps people find what they love to do and sell themselves, whether they want a job, freelance service or business, all over the world and in 40+ industries. If you listen to podcasts and want to learn more, Jette recommends starting with episodes 2 & 3.










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NEXT WEEK: I'm taking next week off to spend with the family. I'll be back on Dec 27th:

5 Important Tools for Introverts


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