Visualize the two of us sitting down face to face. In my role as an Employment Counsellor, let’s begin with the premise that the reason we are meeting has to do with working together to tackle your unemployment. Could be of course that you are employed part or full-time and wanting to make a change too; I do have discussions like that.
So here we are, just the two of us. In order to get the most of our time together, one of the most important things we can do to accelerate the process is trust in each other. I want to hear what you’ve been doing or not doing up to this point, how you’ve been job searching and where you are succeeding and failing. I want to look at your communication and branding tools; letters, resumes, emails etc. Whatever you tell me, I’ll go on the basis that you’re telling me the truth.
So how much are you going to share with me about what’s going on beyond your job search? You know, the personal LIFE stuff? Is that even relevant? If you think the two aren’t related you’ve got your head in the sand. Imagine how lovely it would be if you only had your job search to work on. Aha! See! Your brain just formed the words, “If only!”
Am I some kind of mind reader? Not really; you are a unique person for sure but on the other hand you are a person with hopes, dreams, struggles and issues like everyone else. It’s just a matter of sharing what those issues are and then how little or much they impact on your stated goal of finding employment.
And that’s the awkward part for some people right there. You’re sitting down with someone to get some help finding a job and that’s what you were prepared to talk about exclusively. However, here you are being asked about what else is going on in your life the moment. So you say things like, “Why do you want to know?”, “I like to keep my private life private”, or “Can we just focus on getting me a job?”
Well…here’s the thing…if you tell me you’re committing 100% to your job search, we need a shared understanding of what 100% actually looks like. Is it 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. 5 days a week? Or is it 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. except for your court appointment on Thursday morning that could go all day or be adjourned, picking kids up daily at 2:50 p.m. etc. etc. etc. All necessary mind you and needing to get done somehow, but with each ‘other’ thing going on, your time for job searching is impacted.
Taken individually, you might feel like you should be able to handle things. However when looked at collectively, you might have more than you can reasonably be expected to handle. Then things get compounded further if you start to doubt why you can’t seem to get anywhere; can’t make progress in dealing with some of these barriers. After all, if the things you are overwhelmed with are things other people actually deal with and get past, it’s logical you might start to think, “What’s wrong with me?”
We’re all individuals though remember. Though we might be sitting down together at this point in time, how we got here and the life experiences we’ve had are unique to us. No one has experienced every single interaction with others in this world to the same degree as us. How we react to those incidents and interactions is our own unique experience. Thus it is that we might handle stressful situations better than others but they better than us in some other equally but different situation.
For many, the key to managing things is a series of steps. For starters know what you’re dealing with; write down on paper what’s going on and then summarize what’s going on with a label. So after you write about the stress of having to pick up children after school in some detail you might just attach the label, “after school care”.
So you’ve got a list; long or short. Now look at things and separate the things that will take a lot of energy and time to resolve and the things that might be quicker to get off your mind. By focusing on the later, you can build some momentum and feel better about making some progress. What you can’t figure out how to resolve on your own are the ones to get outside opinions and help with. Even people with problems of their own sometimes can see with greater clarity things you could or should consider doing.
Successfully obtaining a job and the income that comes with it may in some circumstances fix other issues such as using the income to find stable housing. Stable housing could lead to stronger personal relationships, raised self-esteem and the peace with having a sanctuary to call your own at the end of the day.
And here’s what could come as a surprise to you as I’m an Employment Counsellor by trade. Sometimes, the best thing you can do to get a job is put the job search on hold and give your attention to the other things going on in your life. When you’re in a better head space, resume the job search. There’s so much more to life than just finding work; work is a big piece but just a piece.