The Seduction Of A Warm Bed

My brain shifts from a world of dreams to wakefulness. It’s completely black outside my eyelids; I can tell without opening either of them’ Knowing I’m on my left side, it would require more than opening them quickly to see the time on the clock. It would require a 180 degree change of direction, and the energy to do that and then opening my eyes to see whatever the time is will make the escaping possibility of returning to sleep impossible.

The warmth of the comforter and the radiating heat from my body at rest makes the lure of remaining in status quo most desirable. However, with the brain now engaged, thoughts of the day ahead mixed with the events of the night before, sleep is slipping fast. As the time can’t be known for sure without breaking the darkness, I roll over and look to see the time; 4:50 a.m. Ten minutes to make the transition to full consciousness complete with covers thrown off, feet on the floor and the body upright instead of reclined.

I have found a contrast in how my body responds both to periods of employment and unemployment. When employed as is the case now, my routine is usually to start writing a blog at 5:00a.m., surf the net at 5:45a.m., shower at 6:00a.m. and out the door at 6:30a.m. for the 1 hour drive to work. That schedule gives me 1/2 hour of ‘me’ time at work before I officially start at 8:00a.m, or is useful in the event of detours, accidents, unforeseen delays of some manner.

At times in my life when I was unemployed, my brain must have had less of a reason to prompt the body to rise, for I remember waking up closer to 8:00 on a regular basis. I haven’t slept until 8:00a.m. for at least 15 years – not even on a weekend or day off.

Should you  be currently unemployed, do you find by chance that while your body may be at rest in bed, in what otherwise might be an entirely blissful existence, your brain in full consciousness can disrupt that harmonious state? You know, your thoughts unprompted turn within seconds to what you know you should do but probably won’t to look for work and so the second thing that arrives are feelings of guilt leading to lower self-esteem? And you’ve only been awake for 15 seconds? And it’s early in the morning when you’ve got every right to be slumbering and dozing; time which should be yours to enjoy guilt-free?

Worry and stress can do this to a person. You can find your sleeping patterns thrown off significantly if you are waking up way too early, and then without any real reason for staying awake, turning to sleep during the day to slip back into a deep guiltless sleep where their conscious thought gets turned off, and the stress of unemployment is lost for a time.

Of course sleep mid-afternoon or even prolonged periods of inaction can throw a routine of solid, deep sleep in which you get energy for the entire day ahead out the window. And therefore you might experience night after night of fitful sleeping; then taking a bath at 2:30a.m. to try to soothe your body to sleep, or pills to chemically shut down the brain, alcohol to dull clear thought and sleep.

Problem is that pills, booze – even the bath provide short-term solutions and you soon return to wakefulness and the stress of unemployment, now coupled of course with the guilt of turning to these things to try to escape.

It is routine that can possible help you combat the lack of quality sleep, lessen the guilt of unemployment and give you cause to feel good again about yourself. Working people do have routine; they get up at a set time, shower, dress, eat, pack lunches, do dishes, make beds, listen to the news and get out the door.

So if you are unemployed, you can wake at a set time, shower, dress, eat, do your dishes, make the bed so you don’t fall back in it, get your take on the news. Then you can get out the door if your day demands it, or you can scour the internet for jobs, update your resume, get your references, go to a computer class, check your email. If indeed job searching is a full-time job, don’t do this job in your pyjamas. Treat your job search like your full-time job and tackle it head on.

Maybe put on some lively music just as you step into the shower so as you exit, you’ve got something to keep you moving. No sad songs mind about losing some boy or girl, regretting the one you lost. Dare I suggest it, even disco at 7:00a.m. would be preferably so your mind is active, not starting the day mournfully singing a hurting song.

Scheduling your day before it dawns is a good strategy so your brain upon waking switches to what’s on the menu for the day instead of guilt over another day of the unknown and open calendar.

If you engage yourself, make the job search a project as one of my peers suggests, you’ll find at day’s end your brain has been occupied and the little grey cells firing. Then you’ll find perhaps that the seduction of a warm bed and guilt-free sleep is blissfully anticipated indeed.






Sharing The Dark Truth With A Potential Employer

One of the activities a colleague of mine and I set out to complete with some job searchers yesterday was to have participants in our job seeking group make cold calls. The format was fairly straight forward in that we had a talk first about who they were calling, what they were attempting to achieve by making the call, and then we sat beside them and listened in while they phoned. After making a call, we’d debrief.

A teachable moment that I’d like to share happened with the first person to place such a call. The scenario was that our job hunter had compiled a list of companies that provided interior sprinkler installations and was attempting to see whom of the numerous companies was possibly hiring.

As I sat there listening in, I noticed first that the companies he was calling were small operations with some being no more than a single person, and all seemed to have less than 10 employees. The odds on getting through to people who actually do the hiring were pretty high therefore. Right off the bat I saw he’d been listening to advice given earlier and had his pen, paper, resume, calendar and references all at hand. This would allow him to refer to anything he’d need were he to say have a phone interview immediately; and that’s what happened.

First thing he asked for the name of the person he was speaking with and I observed him to write it down. That small thing is critical as more information would be shared back and forth and the name might get lost and forgotten as the call went on. As the conversation went back and forth, him asking if the company was hiring and explaining his credentials, I heard two things that you might also find interesting of note.

All of a sudden my job-seeker said, “41” which I took to be in answer to a question about his age. Now this is an illegal question here in Canada when considering someone for employment, but you can’t make someone not ask the question, and once asked, you have to be prepared to respond in some way. The callers reaction to, “41” was apparently to say he himself was 50 years old, so that wasn’t a problem. Whew! First hurdle passed.

But the real difficult thing came next. From the facial expression which all of a sudden became strained, and the body language which showed some discomfort, I could see from my end that this job-seeker was about to share something that he found uncomfortable. What could it be? Then I heard him say, “If it’s just the same I’d prefer to drive my own car for the first few months.” Pause noted while the person at the other end must have asked, “Why?” Then the bombshell hit as he replied, “Well I have a DUI (drinking under the influence) charge and I’ve got a breathing device hooked up to my car.”

For those of you not familiar with this device, what it does is force the driver to blow into it whenever entering the car. The car won’t start if the person’s breath has alcohol detected, and it digitally records all attempts. Each month, he has to at his own expense, pay for this service, have the machine examined, and in this way, he’s allowed behind the wheel. Don’t drink and you’ve got no problem and you’re still mobile.

Okay so he’s laid everything bare and exposed his darkest secret and is now at the mercy of the potential employer who up to this point has seemed interested enough in him to have this impromptu telephone interview. So what happened next? The guy at the other end replied, “That’s okay, I’ve had two DUI’s.” Then there was some commiserating and nervous laughter as this job-seeker realized his huge barrier to employment wasn’t a major issue for this employer.

As it turns out, he landed himself an in-person interview in the next few days. And when he goes to that interview, there are two things he doesn’t have to stress about: his age and his police record. In three months, the device will be no longer required assuming all goes well, and he’ll be able to drive the company vehicles like any other employee. Now he can concentrate on other aspects of the interview like his credentials and experience. For him, this is a major relief.

Now suppose it had gone badly and the employer had told him that this was a major problem and he couldn’t hire him. I really believe it’s better this information be determined now either way. After all, why get his hopes up, spend his time and gas money driving to an interview only to then find out the charge is a job killer? As things stand now, he’s got a fighting chance at a potential job, and it will come down to his experience, skills and attitude etc.

Not always therefore, but yes sometimes getting the one thing you most dread out early can play to your favour. He came across as honest, expressed regret at being in the situation and the pressure he was feeling about being judged and rejected for this mistake has been lifted.

If you have a major barrier to employment, consider this as an option to be used in your attempts to land employment. He could pack things in and not job search for three months, but he isn’t.