Trying to focus 100% of your energy on a job search is good advice for anyone. How is it possible however, to do exactly that when a person is trying to cope with other issues? Be it moving, an upset Landlord, hunger, a dysfunctional family etc., life doesn’t always throw us one convenient issue at a time to deal with.
This thing called, “Life” is much easier to handle for many of us than it is for others. Oh to be sure we’ve all got things that worry us and require our attention. Seldom does a person only have one thing going on that they need to focus on.
I have a clientele in my professional job by day who are recipients of social assistance. There are amongst this general population, repeating issues and barriers to employment that crop up again and again – not with every single person to be sure – but the same issues arise with alarming frequency. The most obvious one is a lack of money, and so many other issues are tied to this shortage of income.
Anyone who has been involved in a full-time job search will tell you that transportation is a must. It is however, increasingly difficult for a person on a limited income to either fill up a tank of gas if they own a car, or to purchase a monthly bus pass in order to get around. Out of sheer necessity a person has to therefore choose wisely the places they’ll go to get help, even to get to a place with the internet from which to job search in the first place. Yes even access to the internet which so many of us take for granted in 2015 is a luxury item many can’t afford.
One other issue many of us are increasingly concerned about is the rising cost of quality foods. Fruit, vegetables, meat, dairy products etc. are all rising dramatically. A sustained job search requires energy, and we fuel ourselves with the foods we consume. A lack of income means many on social assistance find themselves expected to tackle their job search with vigor and enthusiasm but are doing it on processed foods, food bank supplements and whatever they might get in the way of donations.
Another issue that can get in the way of a productive job search is the issue of family and social support. It’s always easier and generally more productive to have people behind you who support you in your job search. So imagine yourself under the pressure to get a job and having strained relationships, (if any at all) with your mom and dad, your sisters or brothers and extended family. I hear a number of people talk about their dysfunctional family life who are looking for work. “I don’t talk to them”, “They think I’m a failure”, “They don’t understand why I won’t just take any job.” These kind of comments reveal a huge hurt that rob a person of the ability to solely focus on a job with a supportive team behind them.
Of course having a stable residence from which to take refuge from a frustrating job search is key. You can I believe with only slight effort picture what it would be like to try to look fresh and vibrant all day when you meet people who could shorten your job search when you’ve had an interrupted nights sleep every night for the last month where you live. Be it shady landlords who do renovation work in your unit and leave the place a mess, annoying neighbours or co-tenants that you have to endure but don’t feel you can actually trust when you go out, there are a lot of issues people face that cause stress.
Securing employment solves some of these issues. The income from a job allows one to eat better and more often, move to unit or area which is in a better environment. Income also permits a person to start repaying accumulated debts, stops the collectors from phoning daily, and yes might even allow a person to buy the occasional round of drinks for friends. That’s a nice change instead of having to come up with reasons why you can’t join your friends or feel guilty because you’ve always been on the receiving end.
A job search has its natural highs and lows. Many refer to a job search like a roller coaster ride. The only issue I have with this analogy is that before getting on any roller coaster, most of us stand and watch it first. We see how long it lasts and how high and steep the ride is before we get on and gauge our ability to handle it. Imagine being able to look at your job search at the outset and seeing how many months or years you’d be, ‘on’ it and the numerous ups and downs you’d have. Most of us assume it’ll be a short ride at first and can’t imagine the endurance it’s really going to take.
We all have to juggle multiple issues during a job search and some of us have skills in doing so while others never get the hang of it. When you meet someone job searching, good advice is to find out how many balls they already have in the air before giving them more things to juggle if you expect them to be successful.