Know A Frustrated Job Seeker? Please Share This


If you know someone who is out of work and they’ve become bitter, frustrated and just plain angry with their lack of success at getting interviews and job offers, consider doing them a favour and share this blog/post with them. Remember saying to them, “I wish there was something I could do to help you”? Well, this is that thing.

Hey there, hello. Please give this post a read. It might even help to read it over more than once. The person who has shared this with you cares enough that they brought this to your attention in the hopes of helping you get some results from your job search. I hope this is worth your time; 900 words so here we go…

First of all there’s this tool employers are starting to use more and more that’s keeping you from getting in to the interview stage called Applicant Tracking System software. Let’s call it ATS for short. You know as I do that for every advertised job there are an awful lot of people submitting resumes. Some resumes are from qualified people, some from desperate people who don’t stack up and of course there are overly qualified people too because they’ve become desperate too. With all these people hoping to get in and impress interviewers in person, they just can’t read over every résumé.

So this software basically scans the resumes – all of them – and sorts them into those that meet the needs of the organization and those that don’t. Your problem could be that even though you are 100% qualified for the jobs you are applying to, unfortunately the software is screening you out. So what’s happening is you see a job you really want and one that you’re a perfect fit for. You send your résumé and then wait with some confidence for the phone to ring and it never does. You don’t even get the courtesy of contact. The result? You just don’t know where you could have gone wrong, and you get discouraged, mad, extremely frustrated and it’s all because you can’t figure out how to get to meet people and sell them on your skills, qualifications and experience. You’ve become disillusioned and at times just want to give up.

Don’t give up on yourself; when you do feel like giving up remember why you started looking for work in the first place. It’s not YOU that employer’s are rejecting, it’s that résumé with your credentials on it; that resume or CV is the problem. So what you need to learn and understand is how to get past the software and on to the short list of people to interview.

So what employer’s are doing is making job postings which state what they are looking for in the people they want to interview. You may not want to do what I’m going to suggest – your choice of course – but please consider trying it. Grab yourself a highlighter. Now with the highlighter, pick out all the key words and phrases in the job posting – the things the employer has said they want applicants to have. Don’t highlight the entire sentence in the job posting, just the key words in the sentences. Do this now.

Okay done? You should have a job posting that’s now got many highlighted words and phrases. What you’ve just done is the key first step; understanding exactly what the employer has identified as their desired qualifications. The next step is just as crucial. Now what you’ve got to do is make sure that the highlighted words appear on your résumé. Here’s how. Every time you add a word or phrase to your résumé that matches what you highlighted, take a pen and put a check mark over the highlighted word on the job posting; not at the start of the sentence but right on top of the words.

As you do this, you’ll become more confident that what the employer’s looking for is now on your résumé; you’ve become a better fit. If you pulled out a résumé you’ve sent in for jobs in the past and you still have the job ads you replied to, I’ll bet that you’ll see that on paper you didn’t match up very well.

Now, so far good for you. You’ve improved your chances, but there’s more. That software they use can’t make sense of certain things you’re resume might contain. First of all it can only read certain fonts (the size and style of the letters you type). Ariel size 12 is one standard style and size it does read so even though it’s pretty basic, use it.

This software can’t read anything in italics, you know when the letters are slanted like this. Then there are things like putting boxes around certain sections or even the entire page – it won’t read anything in the boxes. Neither does it read underlined text and if you’re using a template anywhere in your résumé, remove it because it doesn’t read this either.

This means for each job you apply to you should be making up a different resume; one that addresses all the key words and phrases for that single job ad. Sounds like a lot of work but it really isn’t and you’ll start getting better results.

Look it’s tough getting ahead; which is precisely why I’m hoping you find this helpful. All the best in the job search.

 

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Please Don’t Delay Your Job Search


Many people eventually experience a disruption in the continuity of their work history. That is to say they find themselves out of work either by choice or through means out of their control. Depending on why one is out of work, it is reasonable to take a break for reasons of physical and/or mental health; the length of which can vary greatly. Yet wait too long before jumping back in and you could have added challenges.

The most obvious problem that comes to mind is the gap of time between your last job and the present day. If the days turn grow into month’s, you should expect a prospective employer is going to question what you’ve done with your time. The reason this is of interest to them is because typically they like to hire people who use their time profitably; who keep up good work habits – often labelled as having a good work ethic.  You may not have paid employment it’s true, but how have you used your time to your advantage?

Now while it’s no one’s business but your own, another key reason to get back in the hunt for paid employment is to shore up the financial bleeding that unemployment accompanies. Sure you might have employment insurance of some kind where you live, but the weeks you are entitled to receive these benefits does go by quickly. True, you might also have severance pay from your last employer, but the sooner you get working, the more you can see these as additional funds and not your only funds.

You could also find – although you would never have thought so in the past – that you come to find certain aspects of being out of work attractive. So much so in fact, that giving what it takes to find work, often described as a full-time job itself, is more work than you’re ready to put in. This isn’t good! You could be falling into a bad situation where you’re rationalizing that your new-found free time is your right to enjoy; that you’ve had it all wrong up to now.

If you’re in a situation where you’ve got a second income in the family from a partner, could be that you’re immediate need to contribute financially to meet payments isn’t that urgent. While this is the case, your partner might now be caught in a very uncomfortable situation of wanting you working to contribute financially, but also not wanting to put too much pressure on you to get a job. Caught up in this predicament, they might be feeling increasing pressure at the same time you seem to be feeling very little pressure at all. This isn’t a good recipe for a happy partnership.

Of course as many people find, conditions in the job market change from time to time, as does how to even go about finding work. Many people who have to suddenly find work after decades of having held jobs find they don’t know how to go about it. The memories they have of handing out resumes in person and their personal experiences of having found getting a job easily are soon replaced with current realities; the job search experience has shifted and continues to evolve.

I need not tell many readers that the issue of age crops up often too. I’ve got people in their mid-forties telling me they are feeling their age is working against them. If 20 somethings are saying they aren’t being taken seriously because they lack experience, have we got to where only the 30 somethings are the ideal age to find work? Let’s hope not!

Despite all the above, there is another reason – the most troubling quite frankly and the hardest to overcome – that you should get back into the job search earlier and not later. You could develop a very unattractive attitude of bitterness, resentment or anger. Without even being aware of it, you might not be able to help it showing on your face, in your sighs of exasperation, your body language etc. Suddenly you’re at risk of becoming a prematurely old and bitter person who may have the skills to do the job and the experience, but the attitude you’ve come to own makes you a bad hiring choice.

It’s only natural to look at ourselves and see what we’ve got to offer an employer. We know more than anyone what skills and experience we have and how these could benefit others. Unfortunately, what we may fail to see when we look at things from this perspective is the people we are up against for employment and what they offer. Employer’s don’t have this dilemma. They have the benefit of having many applicants from which to choose for the jobs they interview for. They therefore look not just at the skills, education and experience applicants have, but at the intangibles too; the feelings they get from the conversations they have.

These feelings – call them gut reactions if you will – they pay attention to. They are trying to address the chemistry that will exist if you’re hired. Will you add to something positive or bring negativity and disrupt the current situation. A growing period of unemployment can make coming across as upbeat, positive, happy and enthusiastic harder to do, if not downright impossible.

Sure take a reasonable break after your employment ends to refocus on finding your next job; but do get going!

Believe In Yourself, Then Get Going!


“It doesn’t matter if I believe in myself or not because that doesn’t change the fact that other people are holding me back, denying me my chances. Bitter? I’ve got every right to be. Unemployed, no job interview in years; at my age who’s going to hire me now? I haven’t got a hope. I might as well just pack it in and give up.”

The above pretty much is word for word what I was told by someone out-of-work recently. Examining what was said, breaking it down into pieces, here’s what I see as issues:

  • no personal accountability
  • self-perception as too old
  • loss of hope
  • bitter, frustrated attitude
  • lack of interview experience (perhaps fearful as a result)
  • unemployed

That’s a quick summation of what’s been expressed. I wonder as you read those words if you did so in your own voice or if you imagined another? Did you picture the speaker and if you did so, what did they look like? Have you pictured a woman or a man and how old did you create them in your mind? 64? 60? 58?

The above statement came from the mouth of a man of 51. His prevailing attitude is unfortunately his biggest problem because quite frankly he’s projecting a strong, negative image. An employer would find him a tremendous turnoff for he comes across as a cancerous virus, dumping his negatively on everyone he interacts with. He’s got a self-imposed scowl on his face, appears to look at people with smug disdain, and there’s no way he would be welcomed into a workforce for fear he’d infect those around him. Even though he’s of average height, he somehow appears to look down on those around him.

The irony is that he’s got job-ready skills and experience. The bitterness he’s carrying around with him however has left him with no patience for tailoring his résumé to each job. This he declares is an utter waste of his time. I didn’t point out that being unemployed time is one thing he has in abundance. Why go there and be provocative?

Now the one thing people know who have worked with me is that I’m not afraid to share with people my personal opinion when it comes to identifying their challenges. In other words, I’ll tell you what I believe you need to know and not only what you’d like to hear. It might be nice to hear only the things which you are doing well, but sometimes the most important information you can have shared with you are the things you might consider changing and/or improving upon.

After deciding upon what to share; the information the person needs to hear, the next challenge is deciding how to communicate that information. Sometimes a soft, gentle approach works best, lest you offend the person. Letting someone self-identify their challenges works well on occasion, or having the person tell you what others have suggested to get at what they’ve perhaps heard before. Ah but then there are times you decide that while this person before you is deserving of your respect, what they truly respect is blunt, raw, no holds barred, tell-it-like-it-is, is, in-your-face brutal honesty; “Your attitude sucks. You’re your own worst enemy. Stop using your age as your personal crucifix.” Take your pick.

When all is said and done two things really emerged; he’d stopped believing in himself and he wasn’t doing anything to help himself. Instead, he was engaging in self-destructive behaviour, threw up and fortified on a daily basis a defence that kept people away from him and limited himself in the process. To actually get the help he needs, he’d have to drop the façade, open himself up to trying and be receptive to intervention. Ironic then that before he could believe in himself, he chose to find someone he believed in and respected.

Getting some job interview experience is relatively easy. You start preparing by defining what a job interview actually is. You find the questions you’re likely to be asked, go over the format you’ll use to answer them, cover body language, first and last impressions etc. then have a go at a mock interview. Building on that, you ready targeted resumes with the help of someone who knows what they are doing. With better applications circulating, interviews are coming so get ready. So much for the easy stuff.

The more important and harder aspects of preparing for job interviews is what’s going on between the ears. You can improve your chances immensely simply by going in with a positive attitude which comes about when you actually DO believe in yourself. Look, no one owes you a job. Like most other people, you’ve got to prove you’ve got what the employer is looking for and needs, backed up with proof from your past. Are you going to face rejection? It’s highly likely so expect you’ll put in some effort that won’t produce the immediate results you want. Get over it. Don’t give up. Get going again. You owe it to yourself.

Job searching requires some mental fortitude. Believe in your ability to eventually succeed and get what you’re after. This must be your prevailing thought. Accentuate the positive and you’re not required to see the world through rose-coloured glasses.

If you have a hard time changing that attitude ask yourself honestly what it’s doing for you to keep it.

 

 

 

 

 

What’s Your Status?


Not all those who are out of work are seeking it, nor are those who seek it similarly motivated to find it. It could be that you or someone you know are among the growing number who are either dissatisfied with their current job but content to keep it or unemployed and increasingly frustrated to the point you are no longer actively looking. In both cases, the growing numbers are unsettling.

There is a tragic irony at the moment when what employers’ look for most in those they hire are enthusiasm for the work to be performed, bringing a positive attitude to the workplace and self-investment. Where’s the irony? It exists in the growing numbers of workers who have for some time now grown increasingly bitter, discouraged and frustrated with the prevailing behaviours of employer’s generally, who treat their employees as expendable and interchangeable.

Ironic as that might be, there is a real cost to our society that is hard to measure quantitatively but is real just the same. Treat an employee with respect, give reason for them to believe that they can aspire to positions of greater responsibility and corresponding income and workforce engagement increases. With a more engaged workforce, individual workers commit more to what they produce, increasing their overall efficiency, resulting in turn in better products and services.

However, the opposite is also true. Treat an employee with a lack of respect, give them little reason or hope to think they will ever aspire to positions of greater responsibility and limit their financial empowerment, and they disengage from the workforce. Individual workers are less committed to their work, productivity drops as does the quality of the goods and services produced. Rare indeed is the employee who will continually invest fully of themselves and continue to invest at a high level when they don’t feel valued by their employer.

As for the unemployed, it is no surprise to find that when a person has little to no reason to feel encouraged and hopeful that they will find a job, they lose enthusiasm for the process. We might meet a person who is out of work and depending on the moment we find them see them heavily invested or entirely detached from seeking employment.

Whether a person is looking for a survival job or a job with meaning that they attach to it, how they experience the job search has a great deal with how fast or prolonged that job search will be. So the job seeker who finds themselves getting no replies at all to their applications – not even an acknowledgement that they’ve applied – this person will grow increasingly despondent. The person who gets acknowledged, and even better the odd interview and some meaningful feedback has reason to hope.

It is common for an unemployed person to wonder, “What’s wrong with me?”, “What am I not doing?”. Without feedback, some go on making the same mistakes out of ignorance, then lose enthusiasm to even look or eventually stop looking altogether. The cost to the person then rises; gaps in resumes appear, smiles morph into faces of consternation, the optimistic turn doubtful, the experienced lose their relevance.

No wonder than that a number of employers openly question the quality of applicants that approach them for employment. Where did all the highly motivated, skilled workers with current work histories and best practices go? It is far too easy to lay all the blame at the door of all employers. Some in fact are exceptionally good at cultivating investment in the people they employ.

This problem of disengagement isn’t confined to the out-of-work only. There are many current workers who are holding on to jobs they once found challenging and satisfying who are now just putting in time. They are performing at levels just good enough to keep their jobs, but they mentally invest less and less and produce items and offer services with less investment. The result is that the employer becomes interested only as it affects their bottom line and addresses not the core of the problem but oft-times the symptoms.

So why do workers stay in jobs they no longer feel engaged performing? Primarily it comes back to the economy. It’s precarious to leave the known for the unknown; security of employment only to start new and fresh in the hopes of not just getting a job elsewhere but regaining things like seniority, similar benefits like the number of vacation weeks one’s earned. With so much competition out on the streets already, maybe it’s fear that keeps many from moving on. And of course, putting a résumé together, writing letters, going to interviews, being rejected, trying again and networking etc. just seems like so much more effort than what one’s doing at the present.

This isn’t a good recipe for finding the brightest and best. This is a recipe that could eventually with the right agitation lead to major changes by way of disruptive instigation brought about by necessity for change. More people growing anxious about finding employment; more finding it harder to feel acknowledged for their efforts as well as their results.

While respect for the job seeker isn’t the only answer, respect for people no matter their employment status and ensuring that work performed is meaningful and appreciated is a good start.

What’s your take on some of the thoughts I’ve raised here?

Fed Up Being Unemployed


Okay let’s start with the premise that you’re fed up. I mean you’ve grown so frustrated with trying to get a meaningful job that pays well that it’s left you confused on how to succeed and bitter. It seems no matter what you tried in the past, no matter who you applied to for a job, in the end the result was the same; you’re not wanted.

Seems to me that hearing the message, “Just keep trying” rings kind of hollow. How many times can you be expected to keep at it hoping for a better result? So you give up. Then after having packed it in you start feeling that it’s worth it to try again. Why? Usually it’s because the life you’ve got at the moment isn’t the one you want for yourself; you deserve better and you’re motivated to try again until you ultimately succeed or you give up once more.

Maybe you’d be open to hearing a few words of encouragement? If so, I’d like to offer you some. I suppose the first thing I’d like to say is that it is a good sign that you aren’t content to keep living the way your are now. That feeling that you want more is the seed of Hope that’s buried deep in your core. ‘Hope’ my dear reader, is at the core of so many people’s thoughts who push off from some known shore for the great journey’s they embark on. Hope is what causes them to leave the safe and known for the uncertainty and yet-to-be discovered.

Now keeping with that image of some adventurer embarking on a journey; the early stages of a journey involve traveling through the norm. The sailor who sets to some unknown land far away first has to get beyond the waters that are well chartered. The hiker deviating from some known path had to first hike what they knew to get to the point where they chose something previously passed up on.

It’s the same with you and your job search. You rely on what you know when it comes to looking for a job until you come across some better way of going about it. This makes absolute sense. However, just like the hiker and the explorer decided at some point to do something they’d never before done, it also stands to reason that you should do something you’ve never done if you expect the results to be more satisfying than you’ve experienced. Going about looking for a meaningful job the way you’ve gone about it in the past is likely to end with similar results; results you don’t want to experience again.

It’s important to realize that you’re not at fault or to blame for going about things the way you are; even if you later realize a number of mistakes you are made. After all, until someone introduces a better way, a more effective way of getting you where you want to be, the only way you’d have succeeded entirely on your own is through trial and error, until you lucked out on whatever works. That seems pretty high risk and could take a long time.

So it seems like you have a choice to make; do things the way you’ve always done them assuming this is how everybody goes about looking for work or, open yourself up to getting help and direction from someone who knows a better way. That ‘better way’ by the way, is likely going to involve some effort on your part in two ways. One, you have to pause long enough to be open to learning the new way and two you have to be willing to give it a shot and carry out what you learn.

Keep something in mind will you? When you’re learning something new you will likely feel the urge to just get going and apply, apply, apply! But throwing your résumé around everywhere hasn’t worked to this point has it? Pausing to learn, being taught something new isn’t  everybody’s idea of a good time. You might be the kind of person that finds sitting down and being taught how to go about looking for work in 2017 is really pushing your limits. Do it anyhow. Seriously; you want a different result don’t you? Sure you do. This is the price you pay for success.

Look you deserve a decent job. You probably aren’t going to end up running some major corporation or discovering the cure for Cancer. That you want to improve your lot in Life however, do something you find personally meaningful and make a future that’s better than the present is commendable. And if I may add, you’re worth it; we all are.

You should seriously think then about reaching out for help. Where to start though? Check in with just about any Social Services organization in your local community. If you’re not in the right place, a few phone calls will likely get you pointed in the right direction. Best news is that the help you need is likely free. Sit down with open ears and a good attitude and do something you haven’t done yet; give yourself over to their expertise. If it works, great. If the chemistry doesn’t work, try someone else.

When you decide to improve things and then act, you’re already becoming the successful person you envision.

 

 

Let Go The Bitterness And Resentment


Are you or is someone you know carrying around resentment and bitterness; directed perhaps at a former employer or someone who you feel betrayed you? If  you are, I imagine they’ve changed you in ways you are both aware of and yes in some ways you are oblivious to.

The significant thing about carrying around these negative feelings towards others is that it’s unhealthy for you; you the person who feels wronged. Ironically, doesn’t it always seem that the person who our bitterness and anger is directed towards seems entirely to have moved on themselves, which as a result only fuels more resentment on our part? Yeah, that can sting and cause the bitterness to linger and fester.

I was talking recently to someone who was fired from their job about 7 months ago now. When we began talking, I was unaware of the fact she’d been fired and therefore eventually asked her what happened in her last job. Just as the words left my lips, I noticed a physical change in her appearance and my ears picked up a change in both the words she was using and the volume in her voice. The fact that she was fired in her last job is to this day still so fresh and the experience so personal that it was clear in seconds she hasn’t found a way to deal with the experience and resolve it in her own mind. The rawness of what happened 7 months ago obviously lies just below the surface of her otherwise calm and professional exterior and just asking triggered the emotional response I experienced first hand sitting across from her.

Like I said earlier, are you yourself or is someone you know similarly affected? If so, it’s essential to eventually come to accept what’s happened, deal with it and move on. Sounds easy to do right? Well, if it’s never happened to you personally it might be hard to understand why someone can’t just pick themselves up, put it down to a bad experience and forget about it. The thing is however, it’s like you’ve been wronged and as a victim you want some measure of retribution, maybe a little karma to come to the person who fired you. There’s the devilish but perhaps immature side of us that might not be all that upset if the person’s car got a mysterious scratch all down one side of it, or if the person themselves was fired. Yes, that would be lovely but don’t go scratching any cars, setting fire to businesses or anything else that will make things worse for you than they already are.

When you first get fired you probably feel some measure of shock. “What just happened?” There’s a kind of paralysis where you just got some news that confuses your sense of order and you stop to process what you just heard. Feeling anger is normal; after all you’re probably fearful of how to cover financial commitments, you’re worried about how to get the next job; wondering how long it will take to work again, and you’ve never been fired before so it’s normal to feel out of your league, confused and disoriented. This is often why it’s best not to say much because you might say things you later regret and wouldn’t otherwise say.

No doubt you might also feel some measure of embarrassment and shame. You may have always thought to yourself that when other people got fired they were either somewhat or totally responsible; they stole, lied, showed up late too often, missed too many days of work, mouthed off etc. and you yourself did none of it. What will your family and friends think of you? What will potential employers think of you? How will you convince them this firing was beyond your control or if you did do something you now regret, how can you convince the employer you learned from the experience and it won’t be repeated?

It’s not uncommon to eventually feel some measure of despair if you’re not hired as quickly as you first thought. Eventually though, you want to arrive at a point where you can acknowledge the termination happened without overtly showing or revealing bitterness and anger. After all, while you are entirely allowed to feel hurt by the process, you don’t want this potential employer you are sitting in front of to experience your negativity first hand. This could be an unpleasant side of you they don’t ever want to have in their workplace and they’ll wonder if this isn’t you on a regular basis; which of course it typically isn’t right?

If the job you were fired from was a short-term position, you may wish to leave it off your resume entirely. It isn’t mandatory to have it on your resume so the question of why did you leave doesn’t even come up. It will create a gap which you will need to address if asked, but with some coaching you can come up with a much more positive response.

Let go of the bitterness and anger because it just isn’t healthy or worth it to carry it around. You may find that others (especially those closest to you) will notice and appreciate your change in attitude, behaviour and you’ll be nice to be around.

In other words, you’ve grown and risen above the experience. Well done. You’ll get there.

 

 

Get Your Attitude Under Control


When you are looking for work, one of the best things you can do is manage the things within your control and your attitude has got to be at the top of this list. I get that job searching is frustrating, rejection happens a lot, and you can feel isolated. I think we all get that.

Bitterness however, is one of the most least desirable personality traits a person can exhibit, and at the very time in your life when you could use the helpfulness of those around you, why alienate yourself? Here’s a newsflash for you; you’re not the only person who has, is or will go through what you are going through right now. You’re not entitled therefore to feel that everybody around you doesn’t understand what you’re going through. Most of us know exactly what you’re going through.

This week I’ve had the opportunity to spend both Monday and Tuesday supervising our drop-in resource area. In this space, people who are out of work and on social assistance can come in, sit down and use a computer, phones, fax and photocopy machines, post letters and all of it free of charge. They can work independently or they can ask whomever is supervising that day for help.

There were three people exhibiting very different attitudes that were in this space just yesterday, and all at the exact time. In my position, I ended up interacting with all three of them, and I hope by sharing my observations you might profit personally or share this with someone you know in the hope that they might benefit.

The first fellow is a regular. He struggles with alcohol and drug addiction. Sometimes like yesterday he’s floating in that zone between full self-consciousness and responsibility and the effects of recent use. In other words, you feel like you are getting into a lucid conversation at one point and then it’s clear his mind is muddled. He was frustrated and his social filters weren’t functioning as evidenced by his inappropriate comment to a man from another culture with a long beard that he’d be happy to give him some razor blades to shave his face. Fortunately, the man didn’t hear him and I re-directed my regular back to his computer. This guy’s bitterness is open, easily recognized and he can be engaged with help offered and he can be leveled with. He knows when he’s out of line in other words.

The 2nd person to contrast the above is someone I only met yesterday. He asked for help initially and I responded as best I could to help him. Unfortunately, the restrictions on our computers set up by our IT department in accordance with our policies wouldn’t allow him to access what he wanted. Now he started muttering about my incompetence and how he himself knows more. He then quickly moved to making further personal attacks, judgements, assumptions, and dismissed me. All of this I might add was done with a calm voice, almost a respectful politeness; if it weren’t for the words themselves.

The chip on this 2nd fellows shoulders is huge. If you can meet his needs, good. If you can’t meet his needs, you’re useless and don’t have the intelligence to match his own. That was the gist of his message. This bitterness he is carrying makes him a person to avoid, to watch certainly but provide the most minimal of direct help with lest a full confrontation be provoked. Best to back away, observe in case there is some escalation or developing problem with someone else.

Finally, a 3rd person who is also unemployed. She is a 20 year-old regular who is on Methadone, doesn’t have her grade 12, doesn’t know what she wants to do work-wise, but is always friendly, open to talking, listening and taking advice. Yesterday she was in working for almost three hours on both her own resume and that of her boyfriends. She’s frustrated with her current situation and doesn’t want to get stuck with a minimum wage job. By asking for a bit of help and being open to a conversation, we’ve agreed to set aside some time and do some short and long-term goal planning over the issues she raised.

Three unemployed people on social assistance. Three very different ways of coping with frustration and interacting with the people around them. One openly venting but harmless, the 2nd less obvious at first glance but far more dangerous, the 3rd staying friendly, open to conversation and trying to be positive.

When out of work or facing any personal challenge for that matter, you can sometimes feel you’ve lost control; you’re a victim of your circumstances. The one thing no one can take away from you unless you let them is your attitude. How do you measure up when times are tough, and your resiliency is being tested. A true measure of a person isn’t always how they behave when times are good but how they behave and act when times are tough.

If you are feeling isolated and abandoned, have the courage to first ask yourself if your actions, gestures and words are in any way contributing to turning off other people from approaching you and giving you any meaningful help. Yes it starts with you so take responsibility for your attitude. Getting fired, laid off or downsized might not be something you can control; but your attitude is your responsibility alone.