It’s not as easy for many people to get a job these days as it was in the past.
Headlines are full of company closures, layoffs, line reductions, shifts being eliminated or company relocations. Despite all these stories however, there are always a number of people who quit anyway expecting to buck the trend and find their next job in short order.
It’s not hard to imagine why some people in job-hungry times still gamble with their financial independence and quit their jobs. Essentially, those who do think back to their personal history and make a decision to go job searching based on how they experienced the hunt for new employment in the past. They believe if they didn’t take too long to secure a new job in the past, it is unlikely they’ll have much of a problem getting one now in the present.
When the economic climate changes however, companies find it necessary to cut back on their workforce, take measures to reduce their expenditures and hold off on previously planned expansion initiatives. Were we talking of a single company or two in this situation, not much impact would be felt. Yet when you consider this is the story for many, the impact on job seekers as a whole makes finding work harder. The reality of the times has changed from what the job seeker previously experienced.
All of a sudden the individual who quit their job finds it harder to find new job leads and get hired than in the past. Their unemployment stretches out longer, the pressure to find income rises and the prolonged unemployment is a new experience. Many don’t know how to respond effectively; be it budgeting or how technology has impacted the way job searching is done.
Often during an extended search for new employment, a job seeker will think back on the job they quit with some regret. In retrospect, they often feel that if they could do it again, they would have held on to that job while they looked for a new one instead of just quitting outright. At the time however, they never thought for a second that their inability to find their next job would take so long.
This change in attitude has one clear benefit; the appreciation for the next job if and when it does come around. This new-found appreciation in some makes them a better employee to work with, perhaps a little less confrontational, a bit more team-oriented and more inclined to act in ways that will keep them employed – i.e.. their production levels rise.
Don’t think that I’m describing everyone in that previous paragraph. No there are many who don’t really change much once they are employed again. These folks will revert back as soon as they are hired, or just after their probation to the person they have always been; thinking and acting pretty much the same. The impact of their unemployment seems to make them bitter, jaded and hardened instead of appreciative. Now they look out for number one – themselves; an employer drops to a distant number two.
I interact on a daily basis with a large population of the unemployed. Generally speaking, older job seekers are looking for that one break – that once last chance to demonstrate how appreciative they’ll be and how hard they’ll work. They see the window of opportunity closing quickly because they have a finite number of years to work left, and with a prolonged job search, that window is getting smaller.
Younger unemployed people on the other hand don’t feel the finite period of employment to the same degree. They may be in their 30’s and have another 30 years to go and believe they’ll have 4 or 5 more jobs so the pressure is felt less when talking of the sheer number of years remaining to work.
If you have ever been out of work for longer than you would have liked, you can probably mentally and emotionally re-visit that unemployed period relatively easily if you allow yourself to remember what it felt like. Many don’t want to recall those feelings for obvious reasons; it was a period of low self-esteem, struggle and increased frustration. Recalling the emotional and financial turmoil can however remind us of how appreciative we should be for the work we do now, and for the income and sense of purpose we have. This recall can also help us feel increased empathy for others who are experiencing now what we felt in the past.
Ask yourself however if you have slid somewhat back into a sense of entitlement; have you’ve abandoned that sense of appreciation for the job you have now in some respects because you’ve managed to hold on to this job for a period of time? Would you go about your work with more enthusiasm, productively and appreciation than you currently do were you just recently hired? If the answer you give yourself is, ‘yes’, maybe you might consider working in such a way that you keep that previously held sense of appreciation front and center in your mind.
Appreciating our jobs comes when we realize it isn’t just the job we are appreciating but how we feel overall. Work provides income, stability, purpose, a daily routine, security and keeps us engaged with others among other benefits. Work combats isolation, desperation, low self-worth, dependency, stress and loss of purpose.
You may not love your job, but appreciate its benefits.