This Job Search Should Be Exciting!

The people who come to me for help getting a job hardly ever describe this point in their lives as exciting. No, to be honest, it’s typically a time of frustration and heightened stress. The majority of people I’ve assisted come to me only after they’ve attempted to gain employment themselves or with the help of others and had little to zero success at even getting interviews let alone job offers. So yes, by the time they reach out to me personally, their pretty frustrated with the job search process.

So you can easily imagine that when I talk about the search as a time which should be exciting, it would be a pretty hard sell. After all, it’s pretty hard to work up a lot of enthusiasm, energy and excitement for something that’s sucking the very life out of a person’s day-to-day living. When you think about it though, it can and should be a time to ramp up the motivation and that should bring some positive energy. Let me explain.

For starters, you’re at a juncture in your life where you have the availability of time to decide what it is you want to do next. Many working people who are not happy in their current jobs want to look for something they’ll find more rewarding, but their current job and the hours it requires them to work don’t give them any time to explore what other options they have. After they’ve put in the hours they do, there’s not much energy and enthusiasm for doing extra work on their personal time. So ironically what do they do? They continue to go in day after day to the job they don’t want to do anymore, and envy those – like you perhaps – who have the luxury of personal time to figure out your next move.

Here’s a second point that should be positive; skill identification. We all have them you know; a multitude of skills and abilities which we don’t often give ourselves credit for. What are you good at? What qualities do you have that you’ve come to recognize yourself – or had pointed out by others – as having competence or excellence in? There’s no time for modesty here and this isn’t about boasting and massaging your self-ego. This is about objectively naming the things you do well. Having a list of things – and written by the way – of the things you excel at is good for how you perceive yourself. If you’re feeling fragile and vulnerable being out of work, this exercise is a really good step to take to rebuild that confidence.

Now you have a list of the things that other people have recognized as your strengths, as well as thing you believe you’re good at. Look it over a few times, dwelling on each quality or word and letting each one sink in for a bit before looking at the next one. Don’t gloss over this list with a quick scan: this is you we’re talking about after all!

Now, all those jobs you’ve held in the past; let’s think about them individually. Put down in writing things you liked and disliked about each one. Consider the things you generally did in the job, the boss you worked for, the people who surrounded you (or didn’t as the case may be). Think about the environment you worked in, the commute, the hours, the pay and your level of customer contact. What did you enjoy or dislike in each position? What did you learn or come to appreciate? Having done this for each job you’ve held, now look at all the jobs you’ve done and look for trends and what comes up again and again.

At this point, you should know pretty well the things you’re good at (strengths), the things that appeal to you and the things you’d like to avoid in your next position.

Now time to turn to what jobs are out there. This is where the excitement really ramps up. Having the attitude and belief that you’re in full control is critical. Your attitude is essential for making this job search a positive experience. You could choose to work nearby or at a distance; do something new or do what you’ve always done. You could choose a return to school to learn something new or upgrade existing skills via a course – online or in person. You can choose to go at this job search full-time or put in part-time hours. Work from home or work on the employer’s site, etc.

Yes you may be in a period of flux; change and chaos, where regular routines are in turmoil and upheaval, where your finances and patience are both tested. Out of this chaos however, REAL change is not only possible but probable – if you want it to the degree where your thoughts and actions bring it about.

You are the sole person – for good or bad my friend – who ultimately will decide your destiny; how long or short the job search will be, what you’ll end up doing. This can be a time of excitement and opportunities to seize, or it can be a low point in your life full of negatively, setbacks and disappointments.

Yes, you didn’t think you’d be here at this time. But here you are. How you look at things can determine how you look to employers. Think on things!

Shy And Introverted? Not A People Person?

I meet with and listen to many unemployed people daily. Eventually they get around to sharing the jobs they are looking for, or the career which will require going back to school. It is noteworthy that many of those people who say they would be interested in working as a Librarian present as quiet, introverted or shy. Those who don’t enjoy being around people often say working with animals is their first choice.

These statements suggest to me that some broad generalizations are being made about the personalities and skills they associate with these two professions. It’s as if they are saying Librarians are introverted, shy and go about their business with little social interaction. Likewise the Veterinarian or Veterinarian Assistant prefers to deal with animals than people.

Now both these two professions actually required a significant amount of interaction with the public; readers or animal owners. Today, I’m looking at why the shy and introverted gravitate to these two professions, I’m not talking of the professions themselves. I hope if you comment at the end, your comments are more about choices rather than defending the two careers.

I think the answer to the question regarding why shy and introverted people often name these two careers is similar to what most of us experienced when we were young children. When at play with others, we may have been a Doctor, a mommy or a daddy. Sometimes we’d pretend to be a Fireman or a Teacher. The reason we played these roles had more to do with our limited exposure to other professions in our short lives than career aspirations we had. We couldn’t play at being an Engineer because we hadn’t met any, or if we had, we wouldn’t have observed what they did. Mommy and daddy, Doctors etc. we were exposed to, and we could ‘play’ at being these people with some accuracy.

As we grew, we came into contact with people who held jobs that were new to us, and we’d say, “You’re a Crossing Guard?”, and we’d observe what they did.  With every interaction, an observation or a series of questions, we learned. The more people we met or meet, the more we learned or learn and by association, the more possibilities we considered or consider for ourselves.

In 2015 we’ve got more jobs and careers to choose from than any other time in history. There are new job titles springing up all the time. It stands to reason that with all these occupations from which to choose, some are going to be excellent fits for some personality types and others not suited as well. To categorize any one job as exclusively reserved for the introvert or the extrovert, the outgoing or the shy would be a mistake. However, there are occupations and specific companies that attract people with similar personality traits and interests. Creative and innovative musicians may be drawn to jazz music or to employers like Google. Driving a long haul rig might be a job we find people doing who enjoy both the open road and solitude.

Those who are shy and/or introverted, may have a limited knowledge of possible careers or jobs other than Librarians and ‘jobs working with animals’, where their own traits would be a good fit. Perhaps their under-developed interpersonal skills or lack of self-confidence makes conducting research into other occupations highly stressful; because it would involve interacting with people to get that very information. So not knowing how to learn of other jobs that might be good fits, and not being willing or able to approach others for help to figure things out, they revert to what they know – the two careers they learned about when they were kids that seem like good fits.

Of course both jobs; Librarian and Veterinarian are about so much more than filing books and caring for animals. There is a lot of people contact; volunteering your assistance to find materials, explaining illnesses and treatment options. Both require some pretty intense schooling and education too, which is where many fail to move forward.

Being shy and/or introverted isn’t a bad thing by the way, although like the word, ‘stress’, the three tend to be thought of as undesirable and negative. Shy, introverted people hold down meaningful important jobs all over the world and those jobs exist beyond animal care and the libraries.

If you are one of the many, many people who see yourself as shy or introverted, I imagine it would be helpful to know what your options are. You could search online using, ‘jobs for shy introverted people’. You could also check out College websites and read about careers, talk with the people you do trust to go with you to an Employment office for help. It’s entirely okay to say to a Career Counsellor, “I’m shy, coming here is really hard for me, and I’d like to speak to someone who could help me look at career options.”

Shy folks or those who don’t have great people skills have many awesome qualities and strengths; there are good jobs out there which would be ideal fits for someone just like you! Oh and by the way, not knowing what you should ‘be’ or do is a common dilemma; a lot of outgoing confident people are trying to figure out their careers too.

Risk a little discomfort and you could learn of a job that really appeals.

Does Your Job Make Life Better?

What purpose does your work serve? I mean, does it improve the quality of your life? What about the lives of others? I put it out there that if your work is not making your life better, you should be looking for something else – and fast!

This idea of making your life better in some way isn’t new. Whether it was the Industrial Age, The Crusades, why even all the way back to the early days of human civilization, people have always engaged in work activities that improved their quality of life. Going to war to preserve their lifestyle or freedom, creating some invention that would improve on whatever people currently had – it all made their lives better.

Okay so let’s look at us; you and me. We’ve got this general pattern where we depend entirely on others early in life and then develop into young people with hopes and dreams, testing our independence until we fly the nest and start relying on ourselves. We  make our own choices, and with each choice there are consequences great or small. Every choice we make seemed like a good idea at the time, and we made those choices to make our lives better; for the moment or long-term.

So is this why we become unhappy if we realize that our daily jobs don’t bring us the satisfaction and some sense of pleasure? The job itself may not be a fun one, but we justify continuing with it if what we get out of it improves our lives in some other way. Hence the money factor. Take a job not many would willingly do for the work alone, and attaching money to it will at some point attract enough people to perform the work you want done. Offer too little and you won’t attract the skilled people to do the work and the quality of the work will suffer.

Some Career Coaches or Employment Counsellors will inevitably ask the people they work with, “What would make you happy?” You see we get it. If you could share with us the work, job or career (substitute your word of choice) that would make your life better, then we could help you define the steps required to take you from your present situation to the reality of having the dream job you want. With the attainment of the job, you’ll be happy; your life would be better. So goes the theory.

The problem for many is they can’t answer the question, “What’s your dream job?” They honestly don’t know. It’s for this reason many people feel conflicted, confused, anxiety and ultimately voice this in statements like, “What’s wrong with me? I should know by now!” or the classic, “Everybody’s telling me to just get a job but I don’t know what I want to do.” Figuring out the, ‘want’ is really trying to figure out what would make life better.

After all, if you and I are going to invest 7 or so hours a day in some activity 5 days a week, presumably that investment of time should make our lives better. If the job we take doesn’t make life better, why are we still doing the work? Ah but then maybe it’s how we define a better life that is the real crux of the matter. If we hate the actual work we do with a passion – the exact opposite of what an employer typically asks for, but the job provides us with money that we then use to pay for rent, food, possessions and our lives improve on our personal time, some of us can then justifiably state that the job we hate makes life better.

Not all of us feel this way however. Some believe that the work they do is such a big part of their waking lives that it had better not only pay well, but the work itself has to bring them joy. The job has to be one they’d find fulfilling. However while some get out and try job after job trying to find  the right fit to improve their lives, others don’t. The ones that don’t make a decision not to do any work at all until they are fairly certain the job will bring them happiness. Not having ever done the work, they use their imagination to visualize themselves in a job, and with this limited knowledge or perception of what they believe the job to be, they make a decision to work or not in that job; usually deciding not to.

Researching a job or a profession is good advice to give you data you may find helpful in making a better informed decision on whether the job will make you happy or improve your life. All the research in the world can’t tell you how you’ll really experience that job however until you plunge into it. There are many variables like the supervision style of the person you report to, the comings and goings of co-workers that will affect the atmosphere, culture, location, hours of work etc.

If life is the best it can be keep doing what you’re doing – job or no job. If life isn’t as good as it could be with the work you currently do, and presuming you want it to be better, get going; you’ve only got so much time to improve your life through your work.

What do you think people?

Stuck In A Rut Of A Job?

Hey how are you? No, I mean how ARE you? You…yes you the person reading this! Yeah you! Ah finally got your attention. How’s the job going eh? Not as rosy and perfect as it was some time ago then? Sorry to hear about that; no really I am. You were so sure this was THE one. Ah, well things change – we change.

So, ah, what are you’re plans today? “Going to work”? That’s it? I mean yes we both have to head on out soon to work yeah, but what are you DOING today to either make work better or find a better gig? You know, “take a sad song and make it better”?

No mate, I’m sorry but if you’re JUST going to work today, how are things going to get any better? I mean it’s not like you really expect somebody to ring you up and offer you the perfect job if you aren’t even out there looking for it. Yeah, yeah, I know the odd lucky one gets a call from out of the blue when some Recruiter calls them up after reading their LinkedIn profile and such, but listen mate really? I mean I’ve seen your rather pathetic excuse of a profile and you haven’t done much to really make it stand out now have you. What you’re needing is some motivation friend.

I hear you. I mean sure you’ve got to focus on work when you’re actually at work and then when you get home you can’t find the energy to job search after dinner. But uh, well, you know then as well as I do that things are almost never going to change. This is it then isn’t it? This life you’ve got, this excuse of a job that you once thought was downright smashing and all the rage. How much longer do you think you can go on? I mean you’re only in your 30’s now and you’ve got roughly 30 more years to go. It’s like you’re in the lockup!

Look, anything worth having is worth the work it takes to get it isn’t it? The old man told you that years ago but turns out the old guy knew a thing or two didn’t he? You’re floating along and can do that job with your eyes closed at this point right? I mean no more challenge, no more growing and stretching yourself? The only stretching your getting mate is on the couch at the end of the day. Don’t think we all haven’t noticed either even if you haven’t. You’re mentally exhausted and your brain is sending the message to slow down when your body isn’t even working up a sweat!

Oh so you DO want to do something about it then? Good! Well then DO something don’t just WANT to do something! Well for starters do you want to stay with the company or get a fresh start somewhere else? I mean, aside from your job, is there any other position in the company you know of that you think you’d be interested in? Yeah that’s the question then isn’t it? You’d best find out then what options you’ve got there.

So what is it then? I mean is it this company or the job itself? Could you be happier doing something the same as you’re doing now but somewhere else? You know, a new boss, new digs, corner office this time ’round?

All right, all right keep your shirt on! Sure enough then it’s to be something completely different then Well at least that little emotional outburst shows you’re alive and kicking! I thought you’d turned into one of those working zombies without a pulse but clearly you’re not too far gone and saveable!

Look, you best make a list of what you’re good at and the skills you’ve got. Yeah I know it sounds hokey but it’s the thing to do. Look do you want to go on like this or not? Then you’ve got to change something up man! Just do it. While you’re at it, write down what you like and don’t like in your present job. What’s that third thing there? Gloria? Who’s Gloria? Listen you can’t write down, ‘Gloria’ under things you like in your present job! Do behave!

Okay good start then. So you know your skills, you know what you like and don’t like. What are the things you’ve got going in your life now that you don’t want to change? This is where you write down my name mate! No really, what’s up for changing and what’s non-negotiable. Willing to get a new address or not? Big office? Small firm? What are you thinking is best?

Look here’s the thing. What you’re after is a gig that matches up with your skills and qualifications but is a good fit for your personality too. Might mean heading back to school you know. Can you handle the day job and night classes? What if GLORIA was there? Ha thought so!

Yeah you’re on track for a starter. What you’re needing then is someone with more smarts than I’ve got. It’s a Counsellor you’re wanting. You know, down at the Centre? They’re the experts in finding a good match. Set something up on your day off or lunchtime. Hey it’s your life mate. 30 years more…remember? Thought you’d forgotten.

So what are YOU DOING today?






What To Do When Things Aren’t Going Right

This post will probably be of most interest to two primary readers. The first group would be those people who know that there is something lacking in their current occupation or if unemployed, know they want to do something different from what they’ve done up until now.

If this describes you, you’ll be having feelings of inadequacy, a lack of challenge and fulfillment, a need or hunger to do something else, and maybe you’re even voicing it such as in, “Is this all there is? There’s got to be more”. Your favourite books might be those like, The Hobbit where some main figure goes on a quest, or the heroine goes on a journey only to discover the truths that lie within like in The Wizard of Oz.

While it might sound smug and trite, when things aren’t going right…..go left. No explore this seriously for a moment before dismissing it. Left field is usually referred to as the place odd ideas come from. Career-wise, it just means that if what you’ve been doing up until this juncture in your life no longer brings you satisfaction, it’s time to consider a departure from that same field or occupation. You’re in need of a change, and if you proceed making the same choices to pursue jobs similar to ones from your past, things are more or less going to remain the same.

The good news is what you are experiencing has been already experienced by countless others and you’re not uniquely unhappy or unchallenged. The bad news is that relatively speaking, most people who are faced with this desire for change don’t actually make choices to do things differently. After all, it’s safer to take the predictable road and do what you’re capable of and keep those around you happy. So you do the same things to pay the mortgage, pay off your debt, and “make a living”. Your mom and dad are so proud of your success, your friends see you as right on track and dependable, but inside, there’s this anxiety building because you’re working to suppress a growing feeling of discontent.

Heading off in some new direction to explore something new and different requires courage. Maybe it will mean returning to school to get an education in a different line of work, bringing on substantial debt in the process. And those around you might wonder about how existing bills will get paid let alone the cost of an education. Or, if travel is involved, those closest to you now might not want you to ‘wander off’ as they see it, but isn’t that more of them wanting you to stay near for their own benefit instead of reaching out to whatever is calling you?

Parents especially get troubled when their adult children pull a major left turn in life. The reason is quite simple really, as they are expressing their own anxiety at something beyond their control that affects them. Bluntly put, each parent generally wants to see their child as happy and successful during their own time on the planet. If your life appears in flux, some of that unsettled feeling is taken on by them too, and they won’t feel better until you, “come to your senses” and settle back in to a routine they approve of. You might as well meet a nice young man, buy a practical home and have two lovely grandchildren while you’re at it!

Look, you’ve only got this one life. At some point, you’re going to look back, (we all do, and you yourself have already probably looked back on your younger years) and when you do gaze over your shoulder, you’re not going to want to see regret over choices not made. Playing it safe would be excellent advice if in fact it kept you happy and fulfilled. Apparently however, something inside is whispering that there is something else you need to explore. This voice can be louder and may be screaming rather than whispering but it’s there in one form or another.

Here’s your difficulty: the longer you hold on to conformity and doing the ‘right’ thing, the harder it will become to move in that other direction. And even when you’ve made the decision to change things up and move in another direction, how do you know the new direction you are contemplating will guarantee success and happiness? Oh I’m sorry, were you expecting a guarantee? Life doesn’t come with those. However, you will feel exhilaration and a release the moment you give yourself permission to go left instead of right.

If going left means a return to school, look up the University or College degree or diploma you want and research the requirements and deadlines for application. You can do at least that much while still hanging on to your present job or career. If an entirely new country is calling or a whole new line of work is required that you have all the transferable skills for, you could take the steps to talk to someone already there doing what you want to do in order to get feedback. LinkedIn for one puts you in contact with people around the globe you could access and speak to in discussion groups or privately.

A leap of faith to go left and take a chance wont’ make sense to those who’d rather you play it safe and do the right thing. But keep in mind, the level of disbelief from others who would rather you didn’t may be just mirroring the level of disappointment and bitterness that they themselves feel when they stood where you stand now and made the decision to play life safe and silence that inner pull to turn left.