Want A Better Life?


Last night while talking with my wife, she shared a comment that someone she knows often makes. The fellow said, “I’ve had a lot happen in my life.” This, apparently is what he says as a way of both explaining why his life isn’t that good and why it won’t get better either. Like people all over the world, this fellow has had his share of challenges, but it’s like he wears his as a badge of honour not choosing to actually make some changes and do things in the here and now that will alter his future for the better.

It struck me then as it does now, that it might be useful to talk about how to go about improving the future; your future. After all, it’s a safe bet you’d like yours to get better whether your past and present have been a series of disasters or quite good. There are some, many I suppose who actually like chaos and disappointment but let’s look to focus on making life a better one in the future for you.

So here’s some ideas to get you started. Share these with anyone you feel might benefit from reading them with my thanks.

  1. Change has to happen. If you want a different future than your past or present change must occur so see making changes as a good thing. This will take some getting use to and it may be uncomfortable at times when you do things differently. However, expecting a better future when you keep doing what you’ve always done hasn’t worked before and it won’t work now. Welcome changes.
  2. Make better decisions. Those changes I spoke of in point 1 can only happen if you make different decisions than you’ve typically made. The key is not only to make different decisions but better decisions. Again, these better decisions won’t always be easy or comfortable but you want a better life right?
  3. Take responsibility. This is your life, and it’s made up of your decisions in the past, the present and the future. Stop blaming your parents, family and friends, former bosses and co-workers for what life has ‘done’ to you. Stop giving them power over you and admit this is your life to live and yours to make. That’s empowering and with that power comes responsibility and accountability.
  4. Get help. If you had the necessary skills to make better decisions, it’s highly likely that you would have done so right? Yet, here you are wanting things better than they are which indicates you need some guidance and advice when it comes to both making those choices and support on the follow through.
  5. Move on. The thing about the past is that it is…well…the past. You can’t go back there, you can’t live there. Move on. Try walking forward down a sidewalk with your head facing backwards and you’ll run into a lot of obstacles. Turn your eyes forward and you can avoid those collisions. Look forward in life and move on.
  6. Learn and not re-live. Making the same mistakes over and over and re-living the errors of your ways isn’t productive. When things go wrong – and they will – learn what you can from the experience with the goal of making better decisions in the future when you find yourself in similar situations.
  7. Eliminate temptations. You might have good intentions but fall to temptations if you don’t remove yourself from what’s caused you problems up to now. So it could mean dropping friends who are bad influences, moving from a bad neighbourhood, clearing the house of the alcohol or the chocolate and fatty foods. You have to want your end goal more than your temporary fix.
  8. Set Goals. Know what you want in this better future you imagine. Picture that job, the ideal partner, a better apartment or condo, a clear complexion, a new set of teeth, no criminal record. Whatever it is, set a goal; maybe several that are meaningful to you personally.
  9. Develop plans. Goals don’t turn into reality without some planning. Again, get some help from someone you trust. Start with one of your long-term goals and come up with a plan that will eventually cut the things getting in your way of having this better future. Big problems will take time and a lot of effort. Small problems are easier addressed. Both big and small need attention.
  10. Commit to yourself. You’re going to have setbacks, make some spur of the moment decisions you regret but don’t pack in the, “I want a better future”, plan. When you have a setback, re-commit to yourself what you’re working towards and focus on what you’ve accomplished so far.
  11. Forgive. A big one. Don’t carry hate, anger and bitterness around with you because it’s not attractive, certainly doesn’t help you and always hinders you. Let it go and forgive those who harmed you, set you back, let you down and disappointed you. This is your life not theirs; you’re forgiving them because YOU’VE moved on.

Look it’s not going to be easy and few things in life that are worth having are. In fact, ‘easy’ hasn’t been your past life has it? Nor your current life? So, ‘easy’ has nothing to do with it. Yep, you’re going to have to work for what you want and all that’s going to do is make you proud of yourself when you get it. It’s your call.

Problem? Show Your Skills. Solve It


One of the most common skills you’ll find on many job postings is the requirement to solve problems. As an Employment Counsellor, I notice the relative ease with which many people happily add the ability to solve problems to their resumes. Ah, but when faced with problems that I observe, they are sorely lacking in this area.

It would seem that many people don’t think about their problem solving skills outside of the workplaces they are trying to get employed with. It’s as if they are saying, “I have to get a job before I can show you my problem solving skills.” Really? Uh, no that’s not true.

We all have problems; some are small, some large and some are truly huge which we have to work on over a long period of time. All problems however have certain characteristics in common and the process for eliminating them is similar.

Problems by their nature threaten our goals. When we identify what we want to achieve, we then determine if things stand in our way be they small, medium or large and then we have to evaluate whether those things, (let’s call them barriers or challenges) are worth the effort to overcome or not. If we determine our end goals are important enough, we set out to tackle the barriers. If the barriers themselves are too massive to overcome and we aren’t willing to put in the effort to move past them, the goals we want aren’t important enough to us and we might as well stop ‘wanting’ the end goal. We’re setting ourselves up for failure; well at least until achieving the end goal takes on greater importance to us than the work it will take to eliminate the barriers standing in our way.

Simply put, make sure your goals are bigger than your biggest problems.

Suppose you’ve looked at what you want to do career-wise, and you’ve determined that a return to school is absolutely critical in order to get the academic qualifications necessary to compete for that dream job. You’re looking at 2-3 years of College or University. This means you’re also going to have to take on 2-3 years of debt and you’ll be 3-4 years older when you graduate and ready to compete with others for your end goal. Depending on a number of factors such as your age, how much you really want that career and your perception of debt vs. an investment in yourself, you either have to pass up the end goal because going to school is standing in your way or you enrol and invest money and time in yourself.

Or perhaps you find the job you really want is in another neighbouring city and it’s going to take you 1.5 hours to get there and another 1.5 hours to return each day by transit. You know you COULD move closer, but you’ve got your child in school and at 8 years old they’d have to change schools and you’ve got family just down the street for emotional support. One person will choose to stay put choosing unemployment for the present and the status quo while another will choose to pick up and relocate, rationalizing that the child is only 8 and kids make new friends in no time; what’s the big deal?

The thing about problems or challenges is that they always come with choices. The good problem solvers know that the first step to solving problems is to see them for what they actually are not what they imagine them to be. They weigh the importance of their end goals against the problems standing in their way and then brainstorm the various options they have to eliminate the problems. One thing they also do is ask other people for input; after all, other people might present options they themselves haven’t considered.

Smaller scale problems that crop up are solved the same way. You wake up and there are salt stains on your favourite pair of pants; pants you were planning on wearing. One person might just toss them in the laundry and pull out a second pair while another person might let that small problem paralyze them entirely; throwing off their mood, upsetting their plans and they just don’t go to work or that big interview because they have, ‘nothing to wear’.  (It’s true actually; I’ve heard this one many times.)

When you tackle a small problem and succeed, two things happen. First of all the immediate problem is overcome and you’re closer to achieving your goal. Secondly you build some confidence in your ability to solve problems, and that confidence gives you the courage to tackle other problems. Start to solve a few problems and you feel you can apply the same thought process and actions to tackle even bigger issues, and soon you’ve got a track record of solving your issues. Now you can truly say you are good at solving problems AND you’ll have examples to cite when asked in an interview as proof rather than a baseless claim.

So when faced with a problem, stack it up against your end goal. See the problem for what it actually is. Brainstorm your options. Get ideas from others. Take action if the end goal is important enough to you and if it isn’t, ditch the goal you’ve got in mind. Remember, if your problems are bigger than your goals, nothing happens unless you change the value of the end goal.

 

Reflecting On Choices


Looking back on your work history, are you surprised in any way with the jobs you’ve held and the direction your choices have taken you in? Or conversely, if your 20-year-old self could look into the future and see the work you would be doing throughout your life, would that glimpse hold a promise of all the things you expect?

Of the two, we can only look back with 100% certainty at what we’ve done. The best we can do when it comes to our future is to make some decisions that we hope in the here and now will prove to be ones that make us happy in the years ahead. Only the passing of time confirms we’ve made choices and decisions that we regret or we come to appreciate.

At some point in your own life, you may pause and take stock of what you’ve done and evaluate if the direction you are moving in is still one you’re happy with. To be more accurate, you will probably have many of these times; some of them lasting longer than others. A moment such as this could come 2 years into a university course that you come to realize isn’t for you and so you drop pursuing that degree and change your major. It could also come after years in a job when the thrill is gone and you wake up one day wanting a different work life.

Pausing to reflect on your own direction in life and how happy or not you are with it is a healthy practice. Having said that, there are some who feel very unhealthy and become emotionally conflicted with what they see as second guessing themselves. Envision the person who has someone else paying for their education and suddenly realizes they don’t really want to continue chasing that diploma or degree. Complicating a decision to change the education path is the sharing of their thinking with the person or people paying for tuition. “What will my parents think? How do I tell them? Will they think I’ve wasted their money?” These are some of the questions that one might ask themselves.

The alternative however is to go on giving the appearance to those around you that you are happy working towards your diploma or degree, or happiest in your line of work when you’re not. Questions such as, “So how is work or school going? Enjoying it?” seem harder to answer truthfully for some people who are wondering the exact same questions and weighing their options.

Uncertainty can be paralyzing. Should I continue doing what I’m doing? Is this just a phase everybody works through? Should I be paying attention to the signs and what exactly are all these feelings trying to tell me? Something must be wrong? What’s wrong with me?

Maybe nothing is wrong with you. These feelings are really just self-reflections; taking stock of what you have, what you’re working towards and evaluating your personal happiness with things. The apparent conflict comes not when we continue to move in the direction we were headed but only when that direction is debatable or deemed to be not aligned with where we now want to head.

So what does it take to change direction; do something different? Courage for sure, conviction would be nice and a willingness to take that first big step whatever that means to you. For some it means saying, “I’m not happy in my work anymore” to their partner. For others it could come out as saying, “I’ve made an appointment with the school Guidance Counsellor to talk.” For you personally, it could mean any number of other things said to whomever you’re speaking with.

Here’s the thing. It is often better to pay attention here and now to how your feeling than it is to ignore those feelings and continue down a path you no longer know is right out of some perceived duty to do the right thing. Thinking, “But this is what’s expected of me”, instead of doing what is right for you could take years to undo and might even close doors that are open to you at this moment in time.

Now be assured that many very happy people who are extremely satisfied with their careers did think at one point, “Am I cut out to be a ________. Did I make the right choice?” They might even share at some celebration of their work such a statement as, “There was a time I questioned whether I was in the right line of work or not. I’m glad I stuck with it.” So just because you come to question your current direction don’t take that self-reflection as a positive sign that change is needed.

It’s all very confusing isn’t it? The thing is that you and I, our needs change because we change. We change in response to our age, our environment, our awareness of other occupations, our financial needs, our willingness to jump and take a chance or our conservative nature.

There are no absolute blue prints that come with life and it isn’t neat and ordered and laid out for us at birth. We – you and me – we’ve got to find our way in this world, make our choices and hopefully they work out. However, embrace those moments when something stirs within and give them the benefit of your attention.

 

Putting It Off? When If Not Now?


I imagine you’re not unlike most people who have a list of things you hope to get around to sooner or later. No? That I must say I find surprising. I suspect if you give it some thought, you can actually think of not only a few things but perhaps many that you’ve been putting off.

Looking at things in categories; there might be some house repairs on that list of things you plan on getting around to someday. Whether big or small, you just haven’t had the motivation to get to them; or maybe it’s lacking the time or money. Whatever the reason, whenever you pass that area in your house and look at what you’d like to eventually get done, you’re reminded that it’s still there waiting for you; if and when you get around to it.

Maybe it’s mending a relationship with someone in your family that you’re putting off. There are people you know who have had a falling out of some kind with their children, their parents, a brother or sister for example and they plan to mend that relationship before a death makes that entirely not possible, but the time isn’t right; it never seems to be right.

Could it be you’ve been putting off looking for work in a serious way? Sure you’ve opened local papers and had a gaze at the classifieds; even popped on over to a job search website once or twice when you’ve had the guilt trips, but really, you’re not fooling anybody. Looking for work is a full-time job in and of itself and you’ve just been putting off what you just know will be frustrating and lead to feeling more depressed.

Ah, maybe it’s retirement from work. You’ve been talking about walking away from your job for a couple of years now but somehow you keep hanging on. Why is that? It’s not the money so much and the idea of having time to do what you want when you want is appealing. Yet, despite all that talk, you’re still putting off making that big decision to close the employment chapter of your life.

Look it might be any of the above or it could be any number of things you’re thinking of doing but somehow not getting around to actually doing. A trip, starting a family, making the big proposal, coming out, buying your first home or car, losing some weight, joining a gym – the list as you see is quite long. What is it that you’re delaying on actually moving from the, “I’ll get around to it someday” list and shifting to the, “That job is done!” list?

I suppose once you’ve identified what it is that you’re putting off the next logical question to ask is why. Why am I putting off doing what I know needs doing? Why am I delaying doing something I’ve identified as something I want to get done? If you want it and/or you need it done, what’s stopping you?

Usually the answer to what’s stopping you is yourself; yep it’s you. If you want something bad enough you usually find a way to get it done. In fact, some of the things that bring us the most satisfaction when completed are the things that cause us the most anxiety the more we delay actually doing them. We  stew over big decisions for fear of making the wrong decision and having things turn out badly. We hear that persistent whisper in our ears that says, “What if I mess up?”

Imagine for a moment if things went good not bad. What if you thought, “What if I succeed? What if things go the way I want or imagine?” What’s the best that could happen if you get done whatever you’re putting off?

Now the little stuff (whatever you personally consider little stuff) might be a good place to start. You know for example if you put off doing the laundry it’s just going to pile up and take longer and eventually you’re going to have to get it done. So do it now or face a mountain of dirty clothes.

The big stuff? Ah, yes the big thing(s) you’ve been putting off. These are the real emotionally charged decisions; the ones that could be life changing. Finally getting around to proposing to your best friend, heading back to school after 20 years to get that education you’ve been only contemplating too long for fear of the money it’ll cost you.

What you’ve perhaps been putting off is confronting that bully at work; maybe sharing a secret you’ve been holding inside for way too long, and you think the fallout is going to hurt some people deeply.

Now is the time. Look you can handle this. It might mean some upheaval and major change in your life but you need to do this and you need to do it now so you can start moving forward again. How much longer do you think you can go on stalling what has to be done? Not good for your mental health and you’re physical health is being affected too.

Make a decision and set yourself a timeline for making it happen. Write it down and get to work on committing to doing whatever it is. If it’s small do it right now or tonight. If it’s bigger, don’t put it off any longer; you’re worth it!

Still Debating A Career? Beware!


It’s often been my experience that those people who have no idea what they are looking for in terms of employment are among the hardest people to help find work. You’d be forgiven if you think that a person who answers, “Anything” to the question, “What kind of work are you looking for?” would actually be among the easiest to help because they’ve said they’re looking for anything and therefore will do anything.

The problem of course is that once you suggest a job that they wouldn’t likely enjoy to test their assertion their typical reaction is, “No, I’m not doing that!” Another classic response to suggesting a job they are clearly not qualified for just to show them that they aren’t in fact looking for anything is, “Sure, as long as they train me.” Why oh why would they train you from scratch when there is a multitude of people in the marketplace who have the education, training and experience right now?

I’ve yet to meet a single person in all my years of employment counselling who is actually prepared to do, “anything.” When they look at potential jobs, their reasons for not applying are often any combination of the following: low pay, hard work, demeaning role, boring, too far away, don’t like the employer, someone they know didn’t work out at that company or the hours don’t agree with them.

So if people aren’t in fact prepared to do just any job, why is that so many actually say they are looking for anything in the first place?

I’ve come to believe that this willingness to do anything is really a person expressing their frustration at not having found work they’d be good at, have the skills to do and which they’d enjoy doing.

It’s possible that we’ve done too good at getting out the message that you should be passionate about your job; only do work you love, and that you should be paid well for doing it. While finding real meaning in the work we do each day and loving the job is certainly a great thing to strive for, not every successful person necessarily feels passionately about their job or career.

Pose the question, “Are you passionate about your work?” to a Letter Carrier, a Bank Teller, a dollar store Cashier or a recycling truck Driver and you might get an odd, bewildering look. Because we are so very different and perceive different values in work performed, you just might find a mixture of people who go about their day with passion and those that don’t in all professions. So while you and I might not work with passion if we were Telemarketers, there would certainly be some among the staff who do – and the same goes with any other job.

The problem for many however is trying to discover and ignite personal passion. How to find the single job that’s right for me personally; the one you I am destined to thrive in and find fulfillment in. As a matter of fact, this dilemma can paralyze a person into doing nothing for fear of choosing the wrong job or the wrong company fit and so they do nothing.

Sometimes the best advice is to throw yourself into a job and pay attention to what you like and dislike in the work you do, the people around you and give it a real chance by investing in yourself while working. There is no actual single job you were destined for in my belief; I think it quite possible that there are many jobs that would bring any one person fulfillment and happiness.

In my own case, I certainly never considered the job of an Employment Counsellor when I was in my late teens or early 20’s. I didn’t know they even existed as I’d had no exposure to them or the work they did back then. Over my lifetime I’ve worked in retail, recreation and social services; been self-employed, worked for a provincial government, non-profit and private for profit organizations. I’ve worked with children, teenagers, adults, seniors and those who deal with physical / mental health challenges and those that don’t. It took me a long time to discover the role I have now and all those past experiences of mine make me a more complete Employment Counsellor now. I’m where I needed to be but had I been waiting for the ‘passion’ light to be illuminated, I might still be unemployed myself.

No matter the jobs I’ve held, I did what I believed was my best in each one of them. I worked with the attitude that every job had something to teach me if I was open to the learning. No job was too demeaning but that didn’t mean I stayed content – but I did stay working.

My advice therefore if you’re searching to discover your own passion is to throw yourself into the workforce and gain experiences – plural intended. Reinvent yourself if you choose to put in the effort required to do so. Yes of course you want to ideally be in a job that pays well, you’re good at and one that makes use of your talents.

Find the line between taking the time to choose wisely and taking too long to make the perfect decision. You don’t need to commit to any one job or career forever; you owe it to yourself.

 

Goals, Change, Challenges; Getting What You Want


Ever thought about turning over a new leaf, starting a diet, getting a job; getting a better job? Maybe it was getting better marks in school, driving more responsibly, making smarter decisions or possibly minding your manners. I’m guessing you’ve made a fresh start in the past with respect to something in your life you wanted to improve upon.

Presumably we are motivated to consider changes because we want some kind of improvement in our lives; the things we experience in our day-to-day living. Our motivation could be triggered by a change in the expectations others have of us at work, someone we become romantically interested in who we’d like to impress and attract, why it could even be a health scare or impending financial crisis we want to avoid.

Seems to me that depending on the stimulus, we either get started immediately on bringing about the desired end result by enacting change or we set some arbitrary date to commence our change in behaviour. Hence we start our diet on January 1st, start exercising on the first of a month, or we choose our birthday to start to turn a new leaf.

Sometimes however we start right away. Should we get a speeding ticket, we might change our driving behaviour the second we are done with the roadside issuance of the ticket. We might visit the doctor and get some sobering diagnosis that forces us to re-think our behaviour and then we run out and join a gym the same day.

The decision of when to start a new set of behaviours and actions lies within us; we alone get to decide on whether to continue with our current practices or to alter what we’ve done in the past, how we’ve behaved, what we’ve said, shared etc. We also get the power to decide when to make these changes; once we have made the decision to change indeed.

Of course this is both good and bad news isn’t it? I mean it’s great to know that we have the power to alter our behaviours and actions by simply changing our thought process and committing to disciplining ourselves in ways that will ultimately bring about the goal(s) we wish to achieve. That’s obviously the positive. On the other hand, because of the very fact that we have this power of self-determination, it can be a bad thing if we know the result we wish to achieve and then we lack the willpower and commitment to actually do what’s required. Then guilt sets in; we may feel bad that we lack the stamina, the drive, the effort and the resolve.

The gulf between what we want and where we are makes us feel let down, disappointed in ourselves and consequently we lose confidence and may actually engage in self-destructive behaviour that runs contrary to what we’ve set as our goal(s). So the person who wants to lose weight and eat better but who fails early may become so discouraged they reach for potato chips and junk food seeking comfort in the very things they want to eliminate.

Here however we have to recognize that when we are seeking a change in behaviour to achieve desired results, we may have multiple false starts; we make a decision to do something and it doesn’t pan out the first time, the second time, maybe the sixth time. Each time we fail we have a new decision to make which is to either buckle down and try again or to concede and give up on making the changes necessary to reaching our goal.

Depending on the goal you’ve set for yourself the change in your behaviour may be overcoming years – maybe decades of what is now ingrained as your natural set of actions.

Now as change affecting your employment situation, (or lack of employment altogether), you may be one of those people who is currently looking at improving your employment situation. Your motivation might be an increase in your income, taking on more responsibility, new challenges, perhaps better benefits. Then too you might be wanting to get away from a toxic environment, an unpleasant boss, a nightmarish commute or a job you’ve come to no longer enjoy doing. In the case of no employment at present, you might want some sense of involvement; a sense of participating in the world around you, finding meaning in your day and obviously more income.

Trying to make the necessary changes in your actions and then commit to a daily schedule of activity that differs from what you are doing right now may be more than you can handle and you may as I say have setbacks and feel defeated. Stick with your plan, reminding yourself why you wanted change in the first place. Remember too that only you have the power to change your circumstances. While the economy, hiring and business practices continue to change, in the end we must take full responsibility for ourselves and doing whatever it is that we find meaning in.

Change could start January 1st, December 1st, next week, today; why even right now as you sit reading. Good questions to ask of yourself include:

“What do I really want?”

“What will I have to change in order to achieve what I want?”

“Is my vision of what I want bigger than the problems I’ll encounter in getting it?”

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.