Problems In Addition To Unemployment?


If you’re out of work its a pretty safe bet that the lack of a job isn’t the only problem you’re facing. Quite the opposite is likely the case; you’ve got a growing list of issues that would seem to be multiplying.

As these multiple issues arise, you’ve also likely come to doubt your ability to handle things effectively, and this is yet another thing that’s giving you reason for concern, because handling things effectively so they didn’t get out of hand used to be a strength of yours. Now though, well, you’re doubting yourself. And this self-doubt is happening more and more isn’t it?

Here’s the thing about problems; we all get them from time-to-time. For many people, the problems can be anticipated and quickly averted; say in the case of knowing you’ve got a bill to pay by the end of the month. The smart thing to do would be to pay the bill, avoiding any more charges for a late fee and then crossing this potential problem off your list. Seems easy enough.

The thing about mounting problems however is that when one problem comes along, it often brings several more. So not only is a particular bill due, there could be several due, and just as you’re thinking it’s going to be difficult to pay all the bills, this is precisely when the furnace acts up, the curling shingles on the house you didn’t repair or replace blow off completely, the dog has an untimely medical visit to the vet clinic and suddenly the washing machine is knocking so loud you can longer ignore it. Then your child innocently reminds you it’s hotdog day at school and they’ll need the permission form signed and $3.00 to cover a dog and a drink. That’s the last straw!

All that pressure and strain erupts like Mount Vesuvius, and you’re snapping at people one moment and apologizing the next. Great! Yet another thing you’ve got to worry about! You’re losing it! Sound familiar?

Thing is, the above scenario is more common than you’d like to think. It’s not just you experiencing these issues, it’s many of the people around you – even though on the outside, they – like you, are doing a really good job of appearing totally in control. Why, you’d never guess from looking at them that they’ve got a similar set of problems all their own.

There’s a certain irony you know in that when problems first arise, many people don’t mind sharing them with others, but as the problems mount and multiply, sharing with anybody all the problems we’ve got becomes less and less an option. You see, it’s in sharing our problems with others that we often find workable solutions. Perhaps what you’re dealing with now is a problem someone else has recently dealt with and put behind them. Even if you don’t get a ready-made solution from sharing your problem, just talking it out to a receptive ear is healthy; better for you than you might know.

Another good reason for talking through the things you’re dealing with – or rather finding hard to deal with – is that you’re usual good judgement isn’t what it was. This isn’t a long-term issue to worry over in addition to everything else – let me stress this. However, at this particular moment, right now, your decision-making skills are under pressure. The result? You think you’re making the best decisions possible but to outside, objective people looking in, those decisions are questionable at best and poor at worst.

So, what to do? First, do you have someone you can confide in with confidence? You know, someone who you can trust? If you do, ask for their ear and tell them how much you’d appreciate sharing some of your immediate challenges and worries. You may get some ideas and possible solutions, but even if they only listen, that’s a start. If you have someone, great. Remember, this person you’d like to confide in won’t judge you or tell you to keep your problems to yourself. If such a person isn’t easily found, seeing a Mental Health Counsellor through a local Mental Health organization might be an option. Often at no charge, you’ll get a confidential appointment, judgement-free and yes, maybe some strategies to deal with some of your current problems.

You’re smart enough to know that a problem ignored doesn’t usually resolve itself or just go away. A problem ignored usually escalates and becomes a bigger problem over time. Facing the problem head-on might not seem like something you can take on at the moment, but it may be exactly the thing to do. If it helps, start tackling a relatively minor problem and clear it from your mind. You’ll feel better! Don’t immediately worry about the big problems you’ve yet to deal with until you acknowledge your small start and give yourself credit for this success.

Could be that the income from a job will resolve many of your worries – especially the financial ones. However, would tackling some problems outside of getting a job be a better place to start? Perhaps. You see without tackling these other issues, you might not do as well as you need to be in a new job, and problems ignored could mean time off to deal with them – resulting in losing the job. Only you can decide what’s the best strategy for you given what you’re experiencing.

Looking For Work? Then Consider…


I see it every day where I work; people standing in front of a board covered with job postings or browsing a job search website. Many of these apply for a job or two and then come back the next day to repeat the process and I must say with very few results. Sometimes of course they get interviews and a few even manage to land the jobs they applied to. Somehow or other though, the job doesn’t work out for both the person and the company who hired them.

Does this sound like your own experience? So what’s going wrong? Isn’t this how everyone looks for work today?

The most successful people; and by successful I mean the ones who find work they enjoy, can perform well at and who manage to maintain those jobs don’t go about looking for jobs as described above. They’ve taken the time to do a number of things that maximize their odds of getting hired faster and in jobs that fit better with their own needs. So here I’ve listed some things to at least consider doing to help you out; some you may be doing already and some which will require a change in your thinking and actions; that is if you’re open to trying.

  1. Apply to jobs you’re actually qualified for based on the employer’s stated requirements. You’ll stop wasting your precious time – and theirs – going through the application process. You only have so much time and energy.
  2. Research the salary and know ahead of an interview what you’re worth on the market and the amount of money you require in order to live within your means. Again, you’ll avoid a lot of grief applying, interviewing for and accepting employment only to quit when you get your first pay cheque if it’s substantially less than your bare minimum requirements.
  3. Whether you’ve had a poor experience with a boss in a previous job or you’ve been fortunate enough to work for great ones, ask questions about the style of supervision you’d receive with the organization. Clues can be usually found if you read web pages where they mention company culture, what you can expect or promotional opportunities.
  4. Get on a computer and figure out the distance you’d have to travel to and from your home to the job location and back home again. How much time will this add to your work day? If you use transit, how many transfers are involved? If you drive factor in any parking expenses to your budget.
  5. Think about how long you might invest with your next employer. You might only wish to work for a couple of years until you retire, and therefore a contract job might be an ideal fit. Younger? Perhaps you’re really looking for a variety of experiences in order to figure out what you’d like to do on a longer term basis and so again a short-term position might give you that experience to add to your growing resume.
  6. Most jobs involve some level of customer service and interaction with people. A growing number of people who are looking for work seem to have weak interpersonal skills, anxiety and wish to avoid jobs were conversations and frequent contact with other people occur often. If this is you, it appears you either have to increase your level of confidence and develop in this area like any other skill, or seek out jobs where people interaction is at a minimum in the first place.
  7. The first few days, weeks and months on a job are critical evaluation periods where you’re ability to learn the job and perform it in the way that fits with the employers preferences are being examined. While some employer’s have extensive training programs and support built for new hires, others expect you to learn on the job and be up to speed quickly. Know the employer’s expectations.
  8. Conflict resolution and problem-solving skills are highly sought after skills because quite frankly you’ll experience dilemmas and challenges be they with co-workers, supervisors, customers, clients, the public, couriers, tradespeople etc. Can you articulate or describe your own style of dealing with these kind of challenges in such a way that you solve problems but at the same time preserve relationships with the very people you find challenging?
  9. Do yourself a huge favour and make a resume for each and every job you apply to rather than making multiple copies of resumes and handing them out. Although I and others have said this numerous times before, people aren’t getting the message and that’s a shame.
  10. Considering the work you’ll be doing, will you find it personally meaningful and one way or the other how much of a factor is this to you? Presumably you’re spending up to 12 hours a day (some shift work positions) so think carefully.

Look, there’s a lot of things to consider if you really want your next job to be satisfying and if you want to be successful in both getting it and keeping it. The 10 things I’ve listed here is hardly a comprehensive list, but maybe 10 things is a more effective read than say a 10,000 word blog on the 157 factors you should consider; that would be entirely too overwhelming for anyone and pointless!

Bottom line readers; the more you educate yourself the better you’ll be suited to the job you’re after all around.

A Key Mistake Frustrated Jobseekers Make


Your own experience with job searching could be that it doesn’t take you long to find the right kind of employment. I can recall times in my life when applying for work was rather easy and it seemed like every job I applied to I was granted an interview; but that was back in the 80’s.

These days, looking for work has changed dramatically. With more people unemployed, the emergence of technology (especially with the rise of online applications and applicant tracking software) and many more jobs with unique titles than at any time in history, I’d be greatly surprised if you didn’t find it increasingly frustrating.

No matter what job or career you are after, it’s understandable at some point that you start to wonder if the position you are chasing is the problem. The thoughts that nag at your consciousness are, “I just need a job; any job!”, “What other jobs can I do?” “Will I ever work again?” Pretty soon you find yourself questioning your qualifications, skills and experience as with the passing of time these are getting further and further outdated.

It’s around this time that some people make what is in my opinion – a poor decision. This decision is made at a time when they are vulnerable, not thinking clearly and their self-confidence is battered and bruised. The decision I’m talking about is going from a very streamlined and focused job search to a completely wide open buck shot job search.

Rather than gradually expanding on the jobs or career originally set out to obtain, the person widens their job search to include all manner of jobs. This dramatic change in approach is extremely dangerous even if in the immediate short-term it seems like a good move.

First of all you’ve probably got other people alerted to your job search and keeping their ears and eyes open. You don’t want to confuse those people and have them stop looking to help you by telling them you are now just looking for anything. They may be making inquiries on your behalf wit their own contacts and the companies they work for and feel less inclined to vouch for your abilities and interest if they find out you’re no longer committed to a specific career or field.

Next consider the possibility of landing some job you applied to out of sheer desperation. So now you’re working as a Barista for a large coffee company chain making minimum wage instead of being a Production Manager in the Food Service Industry. While it felt great to find jobs you could apply to and to have received a positive call offering you an interview, you wonder why it didn’t feel as wonderful when they actually offered you the job itself. And here, on your third day, you’re already starting to wonder, “Is this it? Is this my life now? What have I done?”

Of course there’s nothing wrong with a job as a Barista for those who seek it out as a desirable position. There’s nothing wrong too with expanding your job search when you either can’t find jobs to apply to that are an exact match for your qualifications and interests or you are having zero success in getting interviewed for. The real art of the thing is to expand the job search to include jobs which are similar or close to the job you ideally want, but not so much that you lose your focus.

Now you’ll get varying opinions on exactly how much time and effort you should put into looking for that ideal job. Some advice you hear may be to keep your focus 100% on your dream job and make no compromises. Others might suggest you set some arbitrary deadline such as three or six months; and if you’re unsuccessful, only then widen your job search.

For me personally, I would have to know you, the job you’re after, the market for that job in the community you live in, whether it’s entry, mid or a senior level job you’re after. I’d have to know you too and your attitude, financial health, stamina for a long job search, emotional and mental health needs in order to advise you personally on how long to commit to the job you’re ideally after.

Consider that when you are so ticked off you’re expanding on what you’ll look for, you may need to do so in order to pay your rent or mortgage, car insurance payments, gas or public transit money and of course eating well and staying healthy. Others out of work have significant savings set aside that they can utilize to offset the impact of a lengthy job search.

My general advice however is that before you go from a structured and focused job search to, “I’ll take anything”, just broaden your narrow job search goal a little. Can you for example consider taking a job in the same field, even if it’s not your dream job? If you did, you’d be getting somewhat relevant experience and would be able to apply for internal jobs.

If you can identify the company you want to work for long-term, can you apply for and accept an entry-level position (even part-time) doing something completely different but at least for the same employer? This could also give you the chance to become known, network and see internal jobs.

All the best with your decision-making to come.