When I was a kid, my appreciation for Pokemon was surface level. I had the usual goal: become a Pokemon master. Gotta Catch ’em all. Little did I know, I was being taught real life lessons. Now 22 years into Pokemon and Chill, I finished college, got my degree and started feeling discouraged when adulting. Like how am I going to “Catch These Jobs” and “Get That Money” in today’s ever changing job market? In order to soothe myself, I am re-watching the whole entire series (yes, from Season 1) to the current season (I’m still not done, I’m half way there). Let me tell you, Pokemon taught me so much about job hunting, I never thought the answers to my problems were hidden within this beloved childhood masterpiece.

Brock Hard Interviews

Remember when Ash ran up on Brock with a Pikachu and his Pidgeotto for the Pewter City Gym Badge? In reality, you’d think a win like that is impossible. I learned how to take advantage of a situation. When the interviewer turns into an Onix and comes through with the hard questions while going through your resume, keep at it. Keep at it and thunderbolt a sprinkler on the ceiling. Innovation! Now everything I do is Super Effective. I just made this seemingly minuscule task like stocking shelves transform into why I should be running your company.

For some time, I’ve been making memes of my friends on the interwebs, thought it was nothing because I do many things for laughs. One day I got an inquiry for a temporary audience engagement position. College Djiah, needs money, so obviously I accept knowing full well I didn’t know what that position was initially. My friends told me making memes sounded bougie. I didn’t know what that meant, till they asked about my experience and I told them about my “three years worth of experience in digital flyers that enhanced corporate missions, by using humor as a catalyst to further the goals of my clients”. If you’re asking, yes I told myself this multiple times before the interview. I needed a fancy way to say meme generator, without saying meme generator. Many of the seemingly simple tasks that one does in their every day life can be seen as a skill. Go into that interview believing that your everyday tasks are well earned skills. Nobody could do that skill like you!

Imagine every little thing that you do now and change the language to show skills you actually hadn’t even much thought too use in other situations! Sell yourself! Be confident doing so! You stay in your bed all day? Cool. You’re a dedicated individual who understands that loyalty and persistence is important. Why? Because your bed is important, you’re dedicated to it and you’re loyal enough not to leave it all day. You thought you was just an intern? Congrats, now you sound like a CEO.

Poke-Persistence

You know how many times Ash met failure during his quest becoming a Pokemon master? He ran through the gate of every major tournament and just when he was about to win he lost. You thought you were gon’ get that promotion? Nah. Thought that project was going well? Nah. You thought that coworker was on the same accord in the group chat on that important project? Nah. You thought you had that internship in the bag? Nah.

But day after day he was still like, I’m gonna be a Pokemon master. So he kept at it, Still going after those badges and breaking in bikes on the way. While applying to these jobs you have to have Ash’s confidence AND his perseverance. I say this especially as a Black woman and I’m speaking to the women of color reading here: I have applied to jobs consistently. Sometimes I found it a job in itself. Some employers don’t want me because I’m overqualified. Perhaps some don’t want me because they’ve filled their “diversity hires quota”. Other employers see me as under-qualified on paper, yet they don’t know how awesome I am. Remember that without persistence, you won’t be able to land anything. I know plenty of people job hunting who been grinding, out there in the tall grass, only to find themselves still looking to land the job they want, still looking to encounter the pokemon that they’ve been actively looking to add to their team.

As an English major and Television minor, my career goal is to become a television writer. Specifically for a Late Night Show. Throughout college I did a couple of internships, one of them being at The Late Show for my favorite host, Stephen Colbert. My experience there helped me understand the television industry, the inner mechanics of production and how close-knit everything was. After my internship, I was floating and I knew I was still confident in my goals and I needed to make it happen. I once landed a freelance position because I was so dedicated to a new Late Night show that had weekly tappings. I made sure that I got tickets almost every week, to the point I showed up to a third of all their tappings.

By the end of the season, some of the staff knew me by name and face. They said hi to me in the hallway and one day an employee asked if I wanted to do freelance work for a BET special. They noticed my persistence. You think that nobody notices your work? Trust me, if you’re always hustling people notice, and that’s one thing these hiring managers look for. Have Ash’s confidence and persistence. Because folks, remember Ash got the confidence of a mediocre white man with the best networking skills.

Become Nurse Joy

Nurse Joy was so positive most of the times, it was almost scary. Nurse Joy knew the inevitable. Somebody’s Pokemon was gonna get hurt and she was gonna run through with the stretcher. She held it down in the Pokemon center waiting for somebody because she knew something was going to come her way. Sometimes the worst part about the job process is the waiting, if you keep a head on your shoulders and consistently apply, patience and positive thinking is your best friend. Nurse Joy knew what she had to do and finessed it.

You know that you’re lit, so why bring yourself down with negativity? Easier said than done. I’ve spent most of my days out of college moping hoping something would land. It was even worse because most of my professors were surprised I didn’t have something immediately out of the gate. I was always the student who was prepared, I had jobs after school and still had amazing grades. I was president of my international poetry team, I had shows all over the country, so everyone thought: “You? How?”

Unemployment after college is natural. It doesn’t always mean you weren’t prepared, it just means it isn’t time yet. Forming negative energy won’t help, it will just make you more stressed. I was in therapy week by week trying to figure out what’s going on. You’re not any less empowering for not having a job straight out of college. Ash learned his most valuable lessons during his journeys, and maybe that’s you.

Maybe you’re Brock and you had a set position and you went on a journey to find out new passions and you have the option to return. You could probably be Misty, who wants to improve on their skills so therefore they have to find out what they are missing. Never let negativity get in the way of what is possible for you.

Don’t Blast Off (Indefinitely) After Failure

Team Rocket were the biggest failures, they failed so bad they had a catchphrase for it. They weren’t even afraid of it anymore, they just like yo, we blasting off now, we will probably blast off again in the future but we can’t be afraid of it. We will get hurt, but we’ll catch that Pikachu eventually. (Technically they DID catch Pikachu on several occasions…) Utilize networking skills, take a class or two to brush up on some skills, make sure your resumes are updated or up to date…sometimes you have to take a break from the grind too. Treat yourself! Failures come and come, disappoints come and go. Look Team Rocket could have invested in a high powered electric suit to soak up Pikachu’s thunderbolts, and fail still by being kicked into the sky by a Blaziken.

There are more than 500 Pokemon, they got over 500 ways to fail and they still not afraid to come back and take a chance. I remember when I had two chances to land my dream job, and I blew it both times. It wasn’t because I was a horrible fit, but it was not my time. I was heartbroken, and kept making everything circle back to my perceived shortcomings. I kept thinking, “Why do I even try anymore?” Doors will open and close in your job hunting journey, you can’t stop after one or two perceived failures on your end. Sometimes you don’t land that job because the right supervisor isn’t working there yet, sometimes you don’t land it because elsewhere another company will pay you for what your are worth. You have to keep at it.

Gotta Keep Huntin

In closing, let me remind you that you should do what you gotta do, innovator! You might believe that all is lost. There are many people who have applied to more job listings than they feel comfortable sharing the number before they got their big break. Remember that Charmander almost lost his flame in the rain, but he evolved a couple of times and became Charizard, one of Ash’s strongest Pokemon! Remember that Pikachu defeated Lt. Surge’s Raichu after some in depth training.

Proves that you have to change who you are to reach your goals, you just have to train with your support system! Exchange ideas, swap Pokedexes, you got the tools in front of you! Don’t settle, realize your worth and maybe you too will be a Pokemon Master. I’m here with you. “Gotta Catch These Dolla Dolla Bills”

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  • Khadjiah Johnson is a Caribbean-American writer and humor advocate who uses poetry and comedy as a leverage to empathize and uplift. Her work has taken her to Madison Square Garden, Lincoln Center, Apollo Theater, BET, Off-Broadway and many more! She hopes to use her talents to sway her way into the writers room for a Late Night Comedy Show.

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