The people who come to me for help getting a job hardly ever describe this point in their lives as exciting. No, to be honest, it’s typically a time of frustration and heightened stress. The majority of people I’ve assisted come to me only after they’ve attempted to gain employment themselves or with the help of others and had little to zero success at even getting interviews let alone job offers. So yes, by the time they reach out to me personally, their pretty frustrated with the job search process.
So you can easily imagine that when I talk about the search as a time which should be exciting, it would be a pretty hard sell. After all, it’s pretty hard to work up a lot of enthusiasm, energy and excitement for something that’s sucking the very life out of a person’s day-to-day living. When you think about it though, it can and should be a time to ramp up the motivation and that should bring some positive energy. Let me explain.
For starters, you’re at a juncture in your life where you have the availability of time to decide what it is you want to do next. Many working people who are not happy in their current jobs want to look for something they’ll find more rewarding, but their current job and the hours it requires them to work don’t give them any time to explore what other options they have. After they’ve put in the hours they do, there’s not much energy and enthusiasm for doing extra work on their personal time. So ironically what do they do? They continue to go in day after day to the job they don’t want to do anymore, and envy those – like you perhaps – who have the luxury of personal time to figure out your next move.
Here’s a second point that should be positive; skill identification. We all have them you know; a multitude of skills and abilities which we don’t often give ourselves credit for. What are you good at? What qualities do you have that you’ve come to recognize yourself – or had pointed out by others – as having competence or excellence in? There’s no time for modesty here and this isn’t about boasting and massaging your self-ego. This is about objectively naming the things you do well. Having a list of things – and written by the way – of the things you excel at is good for how you perceive yourself. If you’re feeling fragile and vulnerable being out of work, this exercise is a really good step to take to rebuild that confidence.
Now you have a list of the things that other people have recognized as your strengths, as well as thing you believe you’re good at. Look it over a few times, dwelling on each quality or word and letting each one sink in for a bit before looking at the next one. Don’t gloss over this list with a quick scan: this is you we’re talking about after all!
Now, all those jobs you’ve held in the past; let’s think about them individually. Put down in writing things you liked and disliked about each one. Consider the things you generally did in the job, the boss you worked for, the people who surrounded you (or didn’t as the case may be). Think about the environment you worked in, the commute, the hours, the pay and your level of customer contact. What did you enjoy or dislike in each position? What did you learn or come to appreciate? Having done this for each job you’ve held, now look at all the jobs you’ve done and look for trends and what comes up again and again.
At this point, you should know pretty well the things you’re good at (strengths), the things that appeal to you and the things you’d like to avoid in your next position.
Now time to turn to what jobs are out there. This is where the excitement really ramps up. Having the attitude and belief that you’re in full control is critical. Your attitude is essential for making this job search a positive experience. You could choose to work nearby or at a distance; do something new or do what you’ve always done. You could choose a return to school to learn something new or upgrade existing skills via a course – online or in person. You can choose to go at this job search full-time or put in part-time hours. Work from home or work on the employer’s site, etc.
Yes you may be in a period of flux; change and chaos, where regular routines are in turmoil and upheaval, where your finances and patience are both tested. Out of this chaos however, REAL change is not only possible but probable – if you want it to the degree where your thoughts and actions bring it about.
You are the sole person – for good or bad my friend – who ultimately will decide your destiny; how long or short the job search will be, what you’ll end up doing. This can be a time of excitement and opportunities to seize, or it can be a low point in your life full of negatively, setbacks and disappointments.
Yes, you didn’t think you’d be here at this time. But here you are. How you look at things can determine how you look to employers. Think on things!