Collaborating For Success


Being the Lone Wolf is quite the romantic notion; standing aloof from the pack, going it on your own, forging your own path. Why you can almost hear the whispers from one pack member to pup as they look up at you standing there on the rugged horizon, only to turn for one last furtive glance and then slip off into the wilderness.

It does have its appeal doesn’t it? There are all kinds of famous quotes as well, encouraging you to make your own way, take the road less traveled, etc. While this can have huge rewards, there’s a lot of tough going choosing to do everything for yourself and not taking advantage of what others who have gone ahead of you have learned.

To be sure, there are many times in life when learning to do things for yourself in isolation from others is a good thing. The gains you can make from trial and error, even outright failure can be valuable lessons for life-long success to come. Equally true however, is that learning from others and taking advantage of their knowledge and expertise can save you a lot of time, effort, frustration and ultimately help you get what you want or where you want to be quicker.

The wisest of us I suppose can differentiate the times and issues in our lives where going it alone or seeking support and advice from others would be in our best interests. I don’t imagine there’s a single person who does absolutely everything entirely for themselves anymore in modern society. I mean you might do your own shopping, but you just buy the groceries; you don’t grow the vegetables and fruit or can the produce contained within. You might learn how to change your own tires and fix your own brakes, but you might turn to someone else to build your home, make your furniture or fly you to your vacation destination. We all rely on others in many respects.

When it comes to figuring out what to do employment/career-wise, I’d certainly agree that this is largely a personal thing. Sure others can give you insights into the jobs they’ve held in the past or present; the benefits and challenges of each. In the end however, each of us often decides for ourselves what we do; choosing to do things which make use of our skills and abilities while bringing us some level of satisfaction or happiness. When we don’t enjoy things anymore, we often move on and find something else that suits us better for a time.

As children, we often do what we’re told when we’re very young and the elders we listen to keep us safe, ease our way with their advice and guidance. We sometimes ignore that advice thinking we know better, and pay for it too with skinned knees, wet feet, hurt feelings etc. Still, as we grow we test our limits, we challenge what we’re told we shouldn’t do, we keep pushing boundaries to learn what we’re capable of doing on our own. If we do a really good job as parents, we give our children the skills and confidence to embark on their life journey with confidence; letting them lead their own lives and the cycle continues.

So where does the collaborating for success come into play?

As I said earlier, there are times when it’s wise to seek the advice and support of others; it’s in our own best interests. When we reach out to others with the intent of benefitting from their skills and experience, we either choose to have things done for us, or we can choose to be taught so we can do these things on our own down the road. Getting our brakes fixed is something some of us will pay someone else to do every few years, or we might learn to do these ourselves. It depends on what we perceive as the benefit in acquiring that knowledge.

This is no different from considering working with someone to help us decide on a career path, create a résumé and/or apply for work. We can make our own resume as best we can, and we might just be successful. If not, we might enlist the help of someone with that skill and ability, choosing to either have them do it for us, or collaborate with us in its creation, and in the process, learn so that we can in the future do this for ourselves.

Really this choice is ours to make alone. A lot of the time, we might try first on our own to get hired. If we are successful, we feel good about our ability to have done so, and we add another skill to our inventory. If however success doesn’t materialize and we grow frustrated, we have the option of seeking out others to aid us with their ability; just like the Brake Specialist.

The only situation that would seem to not make a lot of sense is when we try unsuccessfully and continue indefinitely; knowing help is available to get what we want. It’s like trying to create a lightbulb from scratch when we could buy one easily. Why would you do that?

Frustrated with your job search? Tired of being the lone wolf? Collaboration might be exactly what you need to get unstuck and move forward towards your goals.

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Refinancing Student Debt: Good Idea?


To increase your competitiveness in today’s job market; and the job market of the future, you might be considering some time at University or College. This upgrading of your education is for most people viewed as an excellent use of time. The stumbling block for many is the financial cost of doing so; the real or imagined debt load upon graduation, with no certainty of employment and the possibility of some crippling debt for years to come.

Well, first, allow me to suggest you look at the cost of your education from a different perspective. Rather than debt, view this as an investment in yourself; a life-long investment which will pay returns for you many times over down the road. It’s true you know. Yes, you’ll find your education a benefit when applying for jobs where your degree or diploma are the difference between being qualified or not. Then too, you’ll find that promotions and advancing become possible more often when you’ve got some higher learning to qualify you in the view of the employers you seek to advance with. Let me also say the very real and best advantage of a higher education in my mind is the change in the way you think and go about interacting with people post graduation.

Now you might say reframing debt as an investment in yourself is all well and good, but debt is debt in the end.  Okay, it’s true that debt of any kind for many is a source of stress; and the degree to stress you feel often comes down to the size of the debt itself and your personal experience carrying loans. I know when my wife and I bought our very first house, that $75,000 purchase price was scary for both of us. Fast forward to the present and we don’t feel the same level of anxiety as we consider homes in the $600,000 range! We’ve had more experience carrying and repaying loans, and we’re obviously in a different point in life to do so too.

Instead of fearing the imagined, the first good thing to do is do some research and find out exactly how much the education you’re considering will really cost. Factors such as the length of the program, where you live, your personal living situation, current sources of income, and more will affect how much you pay. Financial Officers and Guidance Departments are good people and good places to start. Online estimating calculators can also give you some idea of what it might cost you after you enter in the required information. Don’t rely on someone else’s experiences – good or bad. Get the goods from the source.

Now suppose you’ve already done all this, and you’ve already gone to school, received the education and are feeling saddled with the debt. You want to get out from under this mountain, (be it big or small) and cut your stress and anxiety; axe the phone calls to repay your loans etc. Good! Wouldn’t it be nice to stop those calls and when the phone rings think it might be a potential employer instead of someone looking to collect?

Refinancing your loans might be an option if you want to reduce the monthly amount you owe, or you’ve got the desire to reduce the overall cost of the borrowing. Here’s an infographic which you might find helpful:

https://www.credible.com/blog/should-i-refinance-student-loans/

This came to my attention from Patrick who works at Credible.com Let me assure you I don’t endorse from personal experience, nor am I receiving any payment from this group in sharing the infographic. This organization comes out of San Francisco in the United States, and you can certainly look them up, investigate for yourself if their services are for you, and you can go on to look for other local options wherever you live on the planet.

Refinancing education loans does make sense in many situations. You can pay loans off faster in some cases or pay them out over a longer period but at a much more manageable rate each month if that’s your choice. Yes you would in that case pay more overall, but you’d be able to sleep better every night – and with no harassing repayment calls whatsoever.

Here in Ontario, our provincial government has made tuition costs significantly reduced starting in 2018. You could go for 2 years and have $4,000 to repay upon graduation, as is a specific case I recently heard of. With bursaries and grants, you might eliminate that cost in part or completely too; many students also request some forgiveness of their debts upon graduation which is also a big help. It really does depend on your personal circumstances.

At the risk of sounding cavalier about debt, because it is yours not mine of which we speak and I understand and appreciate that, my general advice would be to not let debt upon graduation stop you from getting a higher education. Learning sticks with you your whole life, much more than the debt of financing a car, a house or a trip somewhere exotic.

There is nothing in this world you can invest in that will provide a better return on your money than yourself.

What’s been your own experience with refinancing student loans? Patrick mentioned in an email that if only 1 person benefitted from this infographic it would be worth it. I tend to agree. I wonder if you might be that person?

Before Submiting Your Resume


Writing a résumé would seem to be something most people should be able to do on their own; which is precisely why so many people often take to doing it themselves. I mean, it doesn’t seem overly complicated requiring the services of a professional. It’s just something that many people feel they have the skills to do; it is after all just words on paper, and who knows a person better than themselves?

And to be fair, when one professional can’t agree with another about what to add, what to leave off, the layout and the formatting, one’s left wondering if the one they’d make themselves might not just work as well. While the best advice I have to offer is to enlist the help of a professional who will work with you face-to-face, there will always be those who insist on doing it for themselves and saving time and money into the bargain. (What they believe is the case at any rate.)

Over the weekend I had some time and went looking online for the help of a résumé writing service, not because I would actually employ their services mind, but to see what was on offer. This is what I do in part for a living myself, but I thought it might be interesting to see what services are out there. I started looking on Kijiji;  where I know  some people begin their search for such help.

It didn’t take long actually. Here was an ad which seemed to say a lot of the right things. It promised quick results, whether a person wanted a résumé, a cover letter or both. It mentioned three times in the ad that the writers are all English; which immediately made me suspicious. It was just an odd thing to add in an ad that is written in English to begin with. As I read on, the choice of words started to fit together less and less appropriately. It started sounding more and more like the writer spoke and wrote English as their second language.

The ad advises people to send them a deposit to get started, plus their old resume or all the things they’ve done in the past if they don’t have one. Then the service will send them a picture of the completed resume, and once the balance is paid, the completed document(s) will be sent; satisfaction guaranteed. They claim to have, “lot of happiness from others.” See what I mean? One can just imagine an entire resume with this rather crude sentence structure. The price? $40 per resume.

I also went looking at a few job search websites; seeking jobs that I’m not qualified or interested in applying to personally. I wanted to see what guidelines or expectations employers had in the resumes they expected to receive. One ad asked for applicants to include their hobbies and interests outside of work; something typically left off resumes these days. Another ad instructed applicants to apply directly via LinkedIn; so without a profile on that platform, don’t bother to apply. A third ad requested that applicants should clearly state why they want the job they are applying to at the top of the résumé.

So the advice I give you is before submitting your résumé, read the ad wherever you find it and carefully look for anything specific the employer requests. Failing to add or drop things as the case may be, could end up terminating your chances of success before you even send your application. Of course there are other guidelines to look for; send an accompanying cover letter or don’t, include a job reference number if one is provided, and instructions on whether resumes can be faxed, emailed, hand-delivered or mailed. Does anyone actually mail resumes anymore?

Employer’s websites often give specific instructions on the right font style and size they expect, the size of paper, number of pages permitted and whether they want every job you’ve ever done or just the relevant bits. I imagine at least some of the people reading this piece are still mass producing their single resume and distributing it to many employers in the hope that something sticks. By the way, stop doing this; it’s annoying and it doesn’t work effectively most of the time. Or continue to do this as you wish; sure, you might get lucky.

The bottom line of my message is that before you start a résumé – whether you do it yourself or you enlist the help of someone else, read the post and see if the employer has left you some guidance with respect to their expectations. You would be wise to go and read the employers website too if they have one. A lot of the time you can find information on their submission guidelines there; it’s like a reward for those job seekers who bother to check out the employer and separates these from those who don’t see the value in doing so. Resumes that don’t follow the employer’s expectations may be immediately trashed because after all, if the applicant can’t be bothered to even check out the employer’s publicly posted webpage, how invested are they going to be doing work for the company when they don’t invest in doing work for themselves?

Go at this résumé thing any way you like of course; it’s your future after all. Please don’t think you get what you pay for; not in this case.

The Online Application Address Trap


Years ago when I was building resumes, I’d routinely add the address of the applicant. Just like many people today, I never gave the matter any thought to be quite honest; it was a given.

With the passage of time, it has now become my norm to first look at where the applicant lives in relation to the potential employer, and determining the proximity of the two from one another guides whether I add the address. After all, if a person is within a few blocks of the employer, it’s a huge advantage for the employer to see how close they live and this bumps up their credibility when they claim they’ll be able to be depended on to show up for work. Conversely, living 50 – 75 km’s or more away could play into the fears of an employer that this applicant will have attendance problems due to weather, traffic, etc.

Distance isn’t the only factor; an address has the potential to set off preferences and prejudices in the mind of anyone considering an applicant. Do they live in a nice or poor part of town? Was there a bad news story of late involving people on that street and could this have involved this applicant? Unfair? Sure. Does it happen? Yep.

So now I ultimately leave the inclusion or omission of a person’s address up to them in the end after having explained potential pros and cons of each and giving them my opinion.

Once a résumé includes the address, the full disclosure should be equally presented in the cover letter, and applying online where it’s an option to include is a non-issue because it’s been consistently shared both in the cover letter and resume.

The problem comes when the preference is to withhold the street address in both the résumé and cover letter; and do be careful to omit the address in the cover letter if that’s your résumé strategy otherwise it’s rather pointless to offer it in one of two documents you send. So where’s the problem? The online application.

Yes, I’m seeing more and more that online applications have mandatory fields which applicants must complete to send their application, and one of those mandatory fields? You guessed it; street address. So your snookered. Rats! Foiled again!

You’ve been smart to withhold this information on your résumé, wanting to eliminate being unfairly prejudiced from receiving an interview solely based on where you live. Of equal frustration is the fact that you can’t tell whether the online application will require your address or not when you first start the process. Sometimes the online application is to simply upload the résumé, fill in a name and phone number field and click, ‘submit’. Done.

However, if you’ve done many applications via the internet, you’ll see other applications have you fill in much more information and you can’t advance to the next page and get to the, ‘submit’ button unless you complete the mandatory fields – one of which may be your street address. There is no way now for any Employment Coach, Job Counsellor or Resume Guru to bypass this Human Resources Department guided, online application trap.

Give them credit; employers are catching up to what they see as needed information. Now taking me for example, I live in a community that is a 95 km, 1 hour commute to and from my employer. My attendance record for over 15 years has been excellent; in fact have a look at my LinkedIn profile and you’ll see I’ve included Attendance Awards as evidence of my reliability. Still, were I applying today and openly shared the distance factor, I wouldn’t even get more than a 4 second consideration with many employers. No chance to share my dependability in an interview or my online profiles; time dictates they aren’t going to invest any of theirs in looking further into my candidacy.

Now I’ve read articles and comments across social media where the discussions are to add or not the address. Some say include the city you live in or the zip/postal codes. I come down on the, ‘withhold this information’ camp. Where I live shouldn’t impact on my dependability – that’s my problem and I either have a strong work ethic and accountability standards or I don’t. Some people live 10-15 km’s from a workplace who won’t make it in on poor weather days or are consistently, ‘running late’ for other reasons. Distance isn’t the only cause that determines reliability.

I’d love to hear suggestions, advice, ideas etc. on if and how there are ways to bypass submitting addresses online when the fields are mandatory. To me, it seems to be an insurmountable obstacle.

Once you get a job offer and you’re signing on, sure that’s the time to give personal information like address, Health and Social Insurance Numbers etc. In an interview you may reveal your address if asked outright – but you got the interview without revealing it didn’t you? You can market your strengths and if reliability is one of them, prove it, making distance a non-factor in their mind.

Blind resumes; one’s that conceal name and address to end preferences and prejudices, may become more mainstream to mitigate such factors. However, someone in the organization is aware of these as they remove them for others who do the hiring. I wonder if the ones blinding the resumes don’t themselves have preferences and prejudices however.

 

How Long To Wait To Job Search?


Okay, so you’ve found yourself out of work. After your previous job, you figure a break is in order; you know, that transition from what you were doing to what you’ll do in the next job. So how much time exactly is right before getting on with looking for a job?

Attitude is everything here; yes attitude will decide what you do and how long you give yourself to get into the job hunting mode. You may be the kind of person who figures that the best thing to do is get right back in the hunt immediately. You know yourself better than anyone, and you can’t afford to lie about and rest because the stress of being out of work will gnaw at you constantly, making your ‘break’ time an ongoing worry. You won’t treat yourself to rest and relaxation, won’t spend money on entertainment, a trip or personal indulgences because you’re concerned about exhausting your resources. It would be different of course if you knew definitively that your unemployment will last a specific time period, but you don’t have this information.

Then too, you could be the type that figures life is short and therefore taking a break from work is what life is really all about. So you’ll indulge guilt-free; after all, Life owes you. Jobs will be there for the taking when you decide to get one, but in the meantime, it’s ‘me’ time; guilt-free and bring it on baby!

Or, has your experience been that the job you’ve most recently had ended so terribly that you need some down time to recover your dignity, self-worth; self-esteem? Maybe it ended with your termination, a shouting match, allegations made against you, you had a bad boss or a toxic work environment. Your break is really a mental health recovery period.

You see there are all kinds of different ways we justify the short, moderate or long periods of time that elapse between our former jobs and looking for the next one.

There are some things you need to be aware of however. Whether these things change your decision to get back immediately or further put off looking for work is entirely up to you – of course – but make sure you are at least aware of these factors:

  1. Your competition increases. New graduates emerge from Universities and Colleges with up-to-date practices and education, and they’re hungry. Your experience is your edge, so conventional wisdom says the longer you let your experience lag, the less your experience works in your favour.
  2. Employers prefer consistent work history. Gaps on a résumé raise questions for employers. If you’ve got gaps, expect to be asked why they exist and what you’ve done with your time. If you’ve improved yourself via courses and upgrading education that’s one thing; but if you’ve played video games and sat around staring at your belly button, that’s another.
  3. Mental Health healing. If you did have a really bad break from your last job, maybe – just maybe – getting a job outside your career would be best for your mental recovery. Seriously, work will keep you connected to people, your poor experiences of the past will be replaced by your present activity; you’ll fill in a gap on the résumé and you’ll get new references. When you do apply for work back in your field, “Why are you leaving your present job” will refer to the job you have in the short-term, not the job prior to that you’re fretting over now.
  4. Time erodes things. Your references, experience and accomplishments fade with time. That shiny letter of reference that’s two weeks old means a lot now but it won’t mean as much 7 months from now if you wait that long to get back in the job search mode. “What have you done lately?”
  5. Less baggage; fewer problems. While being out of work is a problem, you haven’t yet the stress and anxiety of having a prolonged job search, rejection from employers, depression etc. These negatives can and often do take seed in the lives of people who find it harder to get work than they previously imagined. Sometimes getting back at it can ward off social isolation, increasing fears associated with financial problems that come with no incoming resources.

Now, lest you think I’m really recommending you jump right back into the job search as a blanket statement for everyone, let me assure you I’m not. No, a period of time to process what’s happened to you is a good thing. You may need time to decompress if the job you left was one fraught with pressure and negativity.  How much time is the issue. What’s right for you might be different from what I’d do myself.

Even if you don’t actually apply, keeping up on the market and job openings is healthy and a good idea. You’d hate to learn that seldom-advertised opening came and went while you were almost ready but just taking a few more days to clean the garage.

Finally, it’s a good idea to stay connected to others. Call it networking okay, but really it’s about the interpersonal skills, the connectivity to others. Lately I’ve heard of many self-described ‘normal’ people who develop social anxieties, leading to serious isolation issues and a fear of even going out their door.

Take time…but not forever.

Debriefing 3 Interviews With 3 Outcomes


At 54 she’s got a lot of experience to offer; both Life and employment. It’s become extremely frustrating however over the last year to keep up the positive self-esteem. Oh for a while the image projecting out can be convincing, but the exhausted life savings, the move from living on her own to moving back in with her daughter, the sting of having to apply for assistance to provide money to live on; it’s just all been too, too much.

She and I have worked together, along with 10 other job seekers, since April 23rd, right from 9:00a.m. sharp each day through to 2:30p.m. We’ve covered resumes, cover letters, thank you notes and rejection letters; we’ve had mock interviews, talked about using the STAR interview format, looked at specific hard to answer questions that might arise – why we’ve even talked about how to predict with great accuracy the questions that will be poised.

Throughout the time together, I’ve asked her and everyone else to be positive; sure go ahead and have your moments of disappointment and acknowledge your frustration, but come back to the positive person you are more often than not, and come back as soon as possible. Yesterday at the close of the day, this was a big challenge for her; it wasn’t as easy to do as it had been earlier.

Now it started well enough this week; I mean after only working together for 5 days, she’d landed 3 interviews spanning Monday and Tuesday of this week. The first one was admittedly for a volunteer administrative role and the last 2 for paid employment, both in dental offices.

When everyone was gone at day’s end, she lingered and told me the outcomes of each, feeling so let down and disappointed, angry and frustrated as she spoke. The volunteer role she’d applied for wanted her in fact; they could make use of her every Tuesday for 8 hours.

The first of the employment interviews lasted all of 10 minutes; interviewed by a very young, bubbly woman who seemed to have clones of herself working around her. While she asked questions related to the job that were relevant, it seemed no matter the answers provided, at 54 the applicant just wasn’t a good fit. That wasn’t said outright I learned, but it was strongly inferred as, what else might, ‘not a good fit’ refer to?

The 3rd interview? Well imagine this situation wasn’t hers but yours. You’ve just had a 10 minute interview and you’re surprised and disappointed. You pull yourself together as best you can and after driving to the next appointment with your best face on, this interview is over after just 3 minutes! The Dentist determined her expected wages started at $22 p/hr and he was only able to start at $18. Game over; job lost. She was in a word, overqualified. He told her that even if she took the $18, he’d expect she’d keep looking and leave him soon and he wanted a long-term employee. She was honest in return and said that yes, she’d take the job if offered but keep looking.

If you read my blogs on a regular basis, you’ll hear me often say that you should get yourself connected with a supportive professional, and this is a good example of why. 3 bad experiences actually have positives to be drawn, and these can often be seen by having 3rd person objectivity.

First of all, the volunteer job is 2018 experience, a possible reference, provides purpose and relevant, current training in the environment she’s seeking. By telling the organization she accepts, but will continue to job search and if/when full-time employment is offered she’ll leave, she’s got a lot to gain while giving of herself and benefitting the organization. Win-win.

The issue of age at the 2nd interview? Not easily overcome I grant, but she needs a strategy to deal with this in an interview, and ironically, Age is the topic for today’s class; be someone too young to be taken seriously or too old to be of value; (not how I see it but how people themselves interpret these issues).

The 3rd job? Turns out there was more. The Dentist was impressed with her background and ability to not just work out front at Reception but also her qualifications to take x-rays and work in the back assisting in procedures; something he finds hard to find on a fill-in basis. So he suggested she think about self-employment; contracting herself out to offices. He had 3 offices in 3 cities and could use her on that basis in all 3.

Word gets around within an industry. Do well, and this Dentist would surely pass on his find to other Dentists; why he even asked her if she’d be willing to have him teach her in one area she knows she needs some brief upgrading. To get to the farthest of the 3 offices he runs, he offered to pay her more too.

After our talk, she left feeling better – much better – yesterday afternoon and in a few hours, we’ll be discussing the issue of age and how to address it; which she’ll find helpful too.

You see there are positives to be drawn from every experience; things to learn, to frame differently and to derive benefits from. Not every interview has to end with the job offer you’d hoped for at the outset in order for it to be a positive outcome. Is she employable? ABSOLUTELY!

 

Job Search Stress? This Is Normal; To A Degree


Looking for a job and feeling stressed often go together. In fact, any time you work towards getting something you don’t have at the moment typically puts you in a state of stress; both body and mind.

Buying  a house, expecting a child, looking for a place for your aging parent(s) to move where they’ll get ongoing care; even buying your first car – these things can often bring with them varying degrees of stress and anxiety. You’ll note that each could be a positive thing I’ve listed; just like getting a job. Each requires some effort to first get and then adjust to.

Now looking for work requires effort as well; mental energy to start. Questions such as where to work, what kind of work to choose, the level of income required when looking, then self-assessing your current skills, education and experience compared to what the job ads say the employers are expecting. One main reason this process of looking for a job induces stress is because we are forced to engage in doing things we typically don’t put much thought into when we are already working somewhere.

While employed, we don’t think much about our résumé and writing cover letters. Nor do we worry about performing well in job interviews, making cold calls, applying for then being rejected again and again. For even when we have a job and go looking for another one to replace it, the stress can be quite different because we have a job at present. Hence we might not have the same level of stress wondering how we’ll pay bills, pay for transportation to job search or put food on the table. For the time being we’ve got income rolling in, so we can also job search for something better at a more relaxed pace.

Conversely, the out-of-work person quite often has increasing stress levels. A prolonged job search can be extremely stressful as savings get depleted, hope fades, stamina drains, confidence drops, desperation sets in and thoughts of, ‘will I ever work again?” take up residence.

If you’ve felt – or more importantly I know – if you FEEL these things now – you’re experiencing a normal reaction to the situation in which you find yourself. While it might be normal however, it’s not a good idea to spend any more time than necessary in this state. Some people do though, and by choice; here’s why…

Imagine you’re on a roller coaster. You start with the exhilaration and expectations of what it will be. When you’re on it, the highs and lows come as you figured, but soon you feel trapped and can’t get off. Every so often you plateau out and momentarily feel more in control. Given the highs and lows, that momentary control feels preferable to more highs and lows. To feel less of the lows, you start avoiding the pleasurable highs, only because the lows are following those highs with predictable regularity. Eventually you might then be okay – not happy mind but definitely okay – with plateauing out lower than you thought you’d ever do when you first got on.

Job searching can be similar. You begin with high expectations and the possibilities are enticing; a better job, more income, something new to learn and experience. There’s the high of applications and interviews, and the lows of being ignored completely or passed over and rejected. You reapply yourself,  redouble your efforts only to find the expected results are materializing. The odd day comes when you do little to nothing job search wise. Then you recommit your energy and soon find you’ve applied to 30, 50 or more jobs all unsuccessfully. Confused, disillusioned, disappointed and frustrated, you pack it in and coast…

The thing about this analogy of the roller coaster is that in the real world the ride stops and you get off. You know when you get on the ride is only of a certain duration and then it’s over. When you take your seat on the Job Search Rollercoaster, you don’t know how long the ride will be nor do you know the cost of the ride financially and mentally, nor can you see ahead to view all the ups and downs, curves, loops and plateaus.

Let me remind you why you got on this ride in the first place; to have something better than what you had. If you find yourself screaming, “Please! I want to get off!” to some apparently absent amusement operator, let me point out the person with the ride controls is you. You can experience this journey alone or when it’s slowing down, you can ask others to hop onboard and help you gain some measure of control by explaining how the ride works.

It’s true! Whether you work with a government paid Job Coach, Employment Counsellor or pay for one privately, or even ask someone to mentor you, there’s helpful people all around you just for the asking. Riding the rails can be exciting for some, grow tiresome quickly for others, and cause pain and discomfort for many who’ve been on much too long. Like so many things in life, sharing the experience instead of going it alone can be helpful and in this case, cut the length of time you spend figuring things out for yourself.

So, while the stress of job searching is normal, be cautious of the length of time you spend searching alone; there’s a lot at stake.