Resiliency


Wikipedia defines psychological resilience as an individual’s ability to successfully adapt to life tasks in the face of social disadvantage or highly adverse conditions. The Oxford dictionary defines resilience itself as the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties.

How resilient therefore are you?

I have been graced these last couple of weeks with the tremendous privilege of assisting and supporting some very resilient people during their quest to find employment. I would love nothing more than to share their personal challenges with you as proof of both their individual and group resiliency, but to do so might be well-intended but harmful and a breach of confidentiality, so I will not. Suffice to say, you would I believe, like me, be impressed with them.

So here’s a question for you: How often do you get a chance to just work on one need in your life without having others distract you and need your attention?

Take job searching as an example. When looking for work, wouldn’t it be nice to only have looking for a new position as what’s on your mind? Amen to that! However, add to your job search what’s really going on in the real world. Bills are piling up, student debt repayment has you in the red, you’re more irritable with people (so unlike you), your budget for the little things in life you found so pleasurable has been self-curtailed. You’ve got housing issues with landlords threatening eviction, people feel sorry for you but at the same time don’t do much to help except go back and forth between saying, “You poor thing!” and “Can’t you get a job?” So unhelpful really.

Your ego is fragile; the degree to which is linked to how far in your mind you’ve fallen. You’ve had it in the past; the reputation and status, the good paying job, the cars, the house with the garden house and 4 door garage. Now you’re unemployed, raising a family of 4 or 5, and being looked to by them to provide. Your self-doubts, insecurities, personal worries; these you feel you have to suppress and lock away or deal with in isolation because you figure you’re the only one in the family who has the strength to handle them.

How am I doing? Sound familiar? Maybe not exactly your situation but am I close? If not you, does this sound like someone you may know? If not, count yourself most fortunate indeed!

There are a lot of very highly educated people who have held prestigious jobs who are now in receipt of social assistance; who find themselves unemployed. What I find amazing and truly remarkable is the upbeat attitude many have. It’s true! They have an unwavering belief that they will ultimately be successful and what’s more they haven’t let their present circumstances detract from their innate goodness; they are still positive, cheerful, optimistic and above all else…grateful for everything they do receive.

Grateful for everything they do receive; every piece of advice, support and guidance, suggestions and feedback, ideas and referrals – grateful. There’s no poor attitude, no one demands help and says, “You owe it to me – it’s your job so just do it and don’t expect any special thanks.” No, not one person is remotely holding this attitude of entitlement.

In the face of true adversity; they have not let their present circumstances feed and grow bitterness, resentment, coldness or anger. Now, to be sure they are under all kinds of stress and they would be lying to say they don’t have their moments when they feel, “Why me?” Yet, it’s what one does with these feelings that defines them.

They have done – and continue to do – one thing that I implore you to consider doing as well when you find yourself overwhelmed and susceptible to the dark places. While acknowledging your present circumstances, carry yourself as best your able; continue to help yourself. Each of the people I’m working with at the present was identified by a colleague of mine as someone who is committed to their own success, is open to feedback, receptive to change and above all has the right attitude.

As one person said to me, “Why let myself miss opportunities because I appear negative? All I’ll end up doing is surround myself with negative people if I do.”

Adapting and recovering are two key words if you picked them out from the opening definitions at the top of this article. Survivors adapt and recover. I have to tell you that all the while I am providing these job seekers with tips, suggestions, aid, support etc., they in turn are mentoring me – if I’m wise enough to recognize the moments of learning before me. Sometimes I miss those moments but I catch enough of them to realize they are before me. I’m fortunate you see to stand in front of them in a classroom but still stand there as a student myself, receptive to receiving what they share.

Should you – yes you – be unemployed and dealing with your own mounting issues that have you wondering just how many more things you can handle, I bow to your resiliency. Take that label and wear it like a badge of honour. When job interviewers say, “Tell me about yourself”,  count yourself as resilient. You’ll bounce back and get past these adverse life conditions that while present, won’t hold you down forever.

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When You’re Lost And You’re Broken


Sure I’ve said before that having a job gives you a sense of identity; you see yourself as an employee of a company. When introduced to others you’ll often say as part of your answer what you do and who you work for, and conversely when you are out of work you’ve lost this part of your identity.

That being said, when you’re lost, trying to figure out what direction to go in life; when you’re feeling broken and what isn’t broken feels fragile, you may be wise to put your job search on hold. Now, sure an immediate job would indeed restore – if only shortly – that sense of who you are and give your flailing sense of confidence a boost. However, what a job gives you may be outweighed by what a job demands of you, and I’m just saying you might not be in the best frame of mind or have what it physically takes to keep it and be successful.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed at this time with many areas of your life seemingly in chaos and confusion, you may find it comforting to know that what you’re experiencing is indeed quite normal. That doesn’t make it any easier perhaps, as it’s personal and it’s happening to you of course, but knowing that other people – and many of them – are or have experienced the same feelings you are can give a person a sense of hope.

So what I mean is that it isn’t just the lack of a job that’s likely got you worried. If only it was just that! No, it’s probable that you at also dealing with a growing lack of confidence and self-esteem. Could be you’re wondering more and more, “What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I just have a normal life?” Without employment, you’re no doubt cutting back on buying healthy foods and buying them in the same numbers you used to. Maybe you’ve got growing anxiety as you feel left behind more and more and it’s leading to depression. You’re sleeping patterns are totally off, you can’t sleep when you do go to bed and you’re zapped of physical energy when you feel you should be up and going.

On top of all this you’re more irritable, negative thoughts seem to last longer and longer; drugs and alcohol to self-medicate give some short-term relief but the thoughts return and then you add guilt for having used them. Financial worries, accumulating debt, calls from creditors, losing time on your phone…when will it end?

So does this sound like the right time to be putting yourself out there as an attractive option for an employer? Likely not. More likely is the fact that you’ll try with little success to get a job and after having been turned down again and again, you’ll add to your growing frustration and just feel like giving up. Possibly worse, you may not even be aware that what you believe you’re doing a good job of concealing is on full display and a lot of other people can see the changes in you and know you’ve got issues going on.

Think I’m laying it on rather thick? That it couldn’t possibly be this bad? Well, sadly, I’m not illustrating the life of a handful of people here but actually sharing the experience of a rather large segment of the population. It’s sad yes, but for many of these people its debilitating. So it’s not helpful to say to everyone who lacks a job to just pick themselves up, dust themselves off and get out there and get a job. Don’t you think that given the choice they’d love to be working and feeling productive?

Thing is these are people with what appears to be invisible disabilities. There’s no cast on an arm, label on a forehead, crutch supporting their walk or warning sign they carry. Without these easy to read indicators, it can be difficult to then see what might explain erratic or self-destructive behaviours. Hence, the broken and fragile might not get the empathy they could use; the understanding and support that would be a start. As a result they may withdraw further and increase their isolation, loneliness, and ironically retreat to the places depression feeds and grows.

It’s hard to know where to start when so many things seem wrong and need attention; in fact it can be overwhelming. Reaching out for help does take effort, and yes it might take a few tries to find the right people who can counsel and offer the aid you want and need to help you on your way back. No one knows your personal struggles like you; you’re the expert when it comes to what you see as wrong, or needing attention.

A good doctor who listens and will make a referral is a good place to start. Seeing a Mental Health Counsellor (look them up online in your community or if you haven’t got a computer with internet access, visit a social services agency where you live.)

Rather than work on and fix all the areas where things are wrong, start with one. Just one thing to improve. Don’t give yourself the pressure of a deadline to ‘fix’ it either. Give yourself credit and give yourself permission to try perhaps with some room for setbacks too. May your efforts move you forward to a healthier and happier you.

No Job Interviews? Here’s Your Problem


So the assumption here is that you’re applying for jobs and you’re not getting anywhere; no interviews. Without being invited to the job interview, you’re not getting offers, and so you feel increasingly frustrated and discouraged. It would seem to make no sense at all to just keep on plugging away doing the same thing and expecting different results. To see a change in things – the result being you land interviews and do well enough to get offered a job – you’re going to need a change in how you go about things.

If you don’t like the idea of doing things differently from what you’re doing now, stop reading. So we’re clear here, a change in things means putting in the work to get the outcome you’re after. Hence, if you’re not ready to put in that effort, again, stop reading here.

To begin with, you need an independent and objective look at how you’re going about applying for jobs. If you’re mass producing a single resume and submitting it to all the jobs you apply to, the good news is we’ve quickly discovered one major thing you need to change. That was how you applied for jobs back in the 90’s when there were more jobs and fewer people to compete with for them. Today you need a résumé that differs each and every time you submit it. No more photocopying; no more mass printings.

As I’ve said time and time again, employers are generous enough to give away most if not all the job requirements in the job postings you’ll find these days. Any résumé they receive and check must therefore clearly communicate that the applicant has the qualifications, experience and soft skills they are looking for. It’s no mystery; a targeted resume (one that is made specifically for the single job you are applying to and never duplicated for another) will advance your chances.

Now are you writing a cover letter? This is something you’ll get differing perspectives on from Employment Coaches, Recruiters, Company Executives and Employment Counsellors. Some will say you should include them while others say the cover letter is dead. Unless the employer specifically asks you NOT to include one, my vote goes with including one. Why? The cover letter sets up the résumé, shows your ability to communicate effectively, tells the reader both why you are interested in the job with the organization, what you’ll bring, how enthusiastic you are about the opportunity and why you’re uniquely qualified.

Whether or not you go with the cover letter, please make sure you get your résumé and / or cover letter proofread by someone who has the skills to pick out improper spelling and poor grammar. Also, even if the grammar and spelling are correct, it might not be communicating what you really want to say. Unfortunately then, it could be doing you more harm than good; especially when applying for employment in positions where you’d be creating correspondence yourself, such as an Office Administrative professional.

Once you have applied for employment, what else – if anything – are you doing to stand out from the other applicants you’re up against? If your answer is nothing; that you wait by the phone for them to call if they are interested in you, well then you’ve just identified another area you need to up your game. Following through with employers indicates a sincere personal motivation to land that interview. After the interview, further follow-up is advised to again separate yourself from those who do nothing. In other words, how bad do you want it?

Recently, someone I know applied for a job and then took the steps of actually job shadowing someone in the role with a different organization so they could gain first-hand experience themselves. While this is a great idea, they failed to communicate this to the employer they were actually hoping to work for. So this initiative went unknown, as did their sincere interest in landing the job. In short, they just looked like every other applicant; applying and then sitting at home waiting.

Look, there are a lot of people who will claim to be resume experts, cover letter writers extraordinaire and so it’s difficult for the average person to know the real professionals from the pretenders. Just because someone works with a reputable organization doesn’t make them immediately credible. Some pros charge for their investment of time working on your behalf while others offer their services free of charge as their paid via the organizations they work for. You don’t always get what you pay for as I’ve seen some $500 resumes that had spelling errors and layout issues that won’t pass software designed to edit them out of the process.

Do your homework. More important than anyone you might enlist to help you out is the effort you yourself are ready to invest. If you’re happy to pay someone to do your résumé and you don’t have an interest in sitting down with them to give advice yourself and learn from the process, don’t be surprised if you still don’t get the results you want. Should you actually get an interview, with no time invested in learning how to best interview, you’ll likely fall short of actually getting the offer.

Applying for employment today takes time and effort, but the payoff is the job you want. Make the effort; put in the work.

Have You Failed By Taking A Short-Term Anything Job?


Suppose you’re one of those people – and there’s a lot of them out there these days – who have some education beyond High School. You’ve planned all along on pursuing a job that makes use of that education. However, with a widening gap of unemployment on your résumé matching your growing frustration at not working, you’ve found yourself finding the idea of just taking a job – any job – more and more appealing; something you thought you never would. There’s this nagging notion that you’ve failed though that keeps you from actually applying for work outside your field of education. So have you?

The short answer is no, you haven’t. Exhale and breathe a sigh of relief. Do that a few times and read on.

There’s a lot of common sense involved in doing exactly what you’ve contemplated and like I pointed out in the beginning, you’re one of many who are well-educated and unemployed. It is not only understandable that you’d be looking at broadening your job search at some point – perhaps where you are at the moment – it’s also a very good idea.

So how come? I mean, Employment Coaches and Counsellors often say you should stick to your career plan and never give up on what you really want. Doing anything else is just settling isn’t it? What happened to finding your passion and not letting any setbacks get in your way of going after what’s going to make you truly happy? Flipping burgers, selling clothes, walking school kids across busy intersections: these aren’t the kind of jobs you thought you’d give more than a passing glance at. Could you ever imagine you’d actually be seriously thinking of going after one of these jobs at this point having finished College or University?

Hang on and settle down. We’re not talking forever here. No one is suggesting that you start your first day down at the fast food outlet and pump your first shouting, “Yes! I’ve arrived!”

The jobs we’re discussing here have been in the past called survival jobs. More and more they are also called transition jobs; work that bridges the gap of time and space between the present and a job in the future. These are typically short-term positions outside your field of training and education.

When you find yourself browsing these ads more and more and seriously thinking about actually applying, may I suggest you change your line of perception. Instead of thinking that you’ve failed; that your post-secondary education was a waste of both time and money, consider the positives of these transition jobs.

First and foremost, the income from a job – any entry-level job – will stem some financial bleeding. Admittedly while likely minimum wage, money is money and some is better than none. Perhaps more important than money however is the inclusion factor. Right now you’re outside the workforce; remember feeling that everyone has a job but you? That so many people you see from your window seem to have somewhere to go, something to do, while you sit and grow despondent, frustrated and perhaps depressed? Uh huh. Yep, getting up, showered, dressed and out the door with a purpose is always good. That routine you’ve been missing is more important than you might have thought.

Now if you’ve looked at that School Crossing Guard advertised on some Municipality’s website and scoffed at it, think again. First of all those hours; before school, at noon and late afternoon leave you two chunks of time – mid-morning and mid-afternoon – to continue your targeted job search. Of even more significance perhaps is that once you land a Crossing Guard job, even though you’re working outside, you’ve at the same time become an internal employee. Had you considered that? Yes, you’re now able to see and apply for the internal jobs with that Municipality; jobs that up until now you had no access to. Full-time jobs that pay much better and perhaps come with benefits too.

That Crossing Guard job might be one you have to take for 3 or 6 months before you’re eligible to apply for anther internal job. Okay so be it. Do the job at present and do it with a positive attitude. You’ve got this job so you might as well enjoy it and keep telling yourself you’re in transition from this to your next job – the one you really want.

Remember you don’t have to add a short-term job on your résumé, but consider doing so because it does bridge a gap. In your cover letter or at an interview you can certainly state with confidence that you took the short-term job where you are working to pay the bills but you’re highly motivated to seek work in your field as this is where your passion and strong interest are.

A failure? Far from it. You’re wise enough not to let pride get in the way and perhaps it even demonstrates your belief that no job, and certainly not the people doing them, should be looked down on. Perhaps it’s helped you learn humility and an appreciation for the hard work involved which you’d previously overlooked. Perhaps too you’re actually better for the experience and will be all the more grateful for the opportunity to work in the field of your choice doing what you love.

Suddenly, you might be more attractive to your employer of choice.

 

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.

 

You Know What You SHOULD Be Doing But…


Some people are handicapped because they need help deciding what to do next when it comes to moving forward. If someone in the know would only tell them what to do and why, they’d take action. Others though, know what they should be doing yet fail to actually do what they know they should.

Sometimes it’s not a big deal really; you go to bed with good intentions of cleaning out and organizing the garage in the morning. When the day dawns you just don’t feel like it so you don’t. It’s not a big deal because not doing it on this particular day doesn’t impact on anyone in particular. It’s been disorganized for a few weeks and one more day won’t matter. With the passing of another day – maybe even a week, you find the motivation to clean and organize and the job gets done.

However, there is a problem when you know what you should be doing, you’ve got no good reason why you aren’t doing what you need rather than want to do, and the problem of inaction persists. Take the whole unemployment and job search picture. It’s probable that you know you should be looking for work, making up those resumes and actually sending them off. You tell yourself you’re going to get at it first thing in the morning and go to bed with the best of intentions. Well done.

Upon waking up however, you don’t feel that same degree of motivation. Unlike putting off cleaning up the garage however, getting down to looking for work weighs on your mind. You get restless, your intellect tells you what you should be doing but you can’t or won’t motivate yourself to get going. You pace around the place, sit down, get back up moments later, look out the window, walk around some more, lie down but can’t sleep, get up and walk around some more. So what’s wrong?

It’s not like you don’t have the skills to do what needs doing. It’s not like you don’t know what you should be doing either. You know the potential payoff is achieving your goal of getting a job which would be good and the money of course would help. So you’ve got the incentive, skills and resources and yet, here you are, almost incapacitated and paralyzed and can’t figure out why. Meantime of course, you’re wracked with guilt because your brain just won’t shut down or move on to other thoughts. You don’t find satisfaction in reading, watching the television or whatever normally brings you comfort.

By the way, we all have days such as these. So if you have the odd day like the one I’m painting above, the experience is normal. Definitely doesn’t make it more enjoyable of course, but it is normal. Looking for work when you’re unemployed is definitely frustrating for many what with the rejections, the unanswered letters and emails, the hanging around waiting for interviews etc. The danger lies not in having the odd day like these then but rather, having day upon day of days like these. If this experience is your ‘normal’ day, this isn’t the normal experience.

It’s not likely I’m telling you anything so far you don’t know yourself. Now you might be asking yourself the classic, “What’s wrong with me?” question. In a very real way, I’m thrilled if you are. Why? Simply because if you are asking this question or some close version of it, you recognize that something if off, you’re not behaving and acting the way you’d like and most importantly you would appear in the asking of the question to be wanting to change. So to summarize, you know something is wrong, you want to be actively engaged and that requires some kind of change. Good!

Now, have you been able to – for lack of a better word – ‘fix’ things yourself? If this was an occasional thing you’d have moved on and you haven’t had you? No. So if you want to feel better and know change is needed, and if you haven’t been able to bring about the change you want on your own, it’s only logical to come to the conclusion that you need the assistance and help of someone else. This my friend isn’t a weakness. Sure years ago if you sought out help you would possibly be called weak; be told to just suck it up, man up, get over it, etc.

Many people today believe that reaching out for help is a sign of wisdom. Organizations like Bell promote a Mental Health Day which endorsed by celebrities and widely promoted. Many workplaces have Employee Assistance Programs (EAP’s) which workers can confidentially access to discuss concerns. So where to start? Starting with your Doctor is a good idea. Remember you know you want to feel differently than you do at the present so admitting there’s something wrong is okay.

If technology isn’t your thing, get out the phone book and look up counselling in your community. Walk up to the local hospital and walk past the Emergency Department and head to the Information Desk. Ask for the location of the Dietician and get some information on eating right, as what goes in plays a huge part in your physical health which you shouldn’t ignore or abuse. It’s all connected. Get out and walk. Talk.

Your wellness and good mental health are worth it. Other suggestions?

Unemployment And The Christmas Parties


If you are like a lot of people, you’re not feel particularly festive when you’re out of work. The idea of putting on your best clothes, hosting a party that will set you back more than a few bucks and smiling all through it all while you’re financially stretched and emotionally turbulent isn’t exactly enticing.

Well, I’m here to tell you friend that a Christmas party, a Winter gathering or if you are of another faith; well, whatever you’d normally get together and celebrate is just what you need professionally and personally. No don’t click the ‘close’ button and read something more in line with your brooding temperament; read on and take heart.

First let’s make the argument for those around you if you’ve got a significant other and/or children. Yes YOU are unemployed and yes what happens to one person in the family affects everyone and no I’m not expecting you or anyone else to fake sincerity the entire time you are hosting; pretending to be 100% joyful when you’re concerned about how long this unemployment will last. You owe it to others though to do your best to keep some things as normal as you can, and if celebrating with friends and extended family is something you normally do, keep your plans.

Christmas parties can be done on a budget much like many other things in life. It’s the people gathered, not necessarily what they are eating or drinking that is important; the socializing, the camaraderie, the friendships. I’m guessing you don’t want to feel guilty about cancelling things; something new to feel bad about in addition to being out of work. Of course not.

Now for you personally, this party you are hosting, (or perhaps one you are going to at someone else’s home) is a really good time for you to take one of two approaches. You may decide that this is just a really good opportunity to forget as much as you can about being unemployed and have some laughs, enjoy time with those around you and relax. On the other hand, you might decide to add to the mix some conversation regarding your search; put out some feelers without too much pressure and see if anything productive comes out of this in the days to come.

The one nice thing about sharing a little bit about your job search is that you can get some really supportive feedback from those people you open up to. These aren’t strangers after all but people who care about you and want you to be successful. If they can help you out they will; you know that instinctively. If they can’t do anything to actually help you track down a job, they sure can support you with positive and encouraging words.

Get over the feeling that you don’t want anyone to know about your lack of employment; you could have a lot worse things happening in your life and I refuse to give you examples; let your mind run silly. Now I know being out of work is a time of anxiety, added stress and pressure. I’ve been out of work over the course of my lifetime on multiple occasions myself and know of what I speak. Yes it was hard and at times I didn’t live up to the message I’m passing on to you. That doesn’t mean the message itself is wrong.

Look, staying home shut in with more than just your doors and walls keeping out the cold and wind isn’t healthy. It sounds entirely counter to what you might be tempted to do but talk with people. Get chatting and communicating. Work your interpersonal skills and there’s no better place to start than a gathering of people in good moods with good food and beverages. Go easy on the alcohol so you don’t start running on at the mouth; especially if you’re not so positive when you’ve had more than you normally do.

You might find of course that someone at a party or gathering over the Christmas period can and does help your job search and if so that’s wonderful. More often however, you won’t get hired at a Christmas party nor will there be a phone call at 9:30a.m. the next day passing on a job lead. However, you might get help and support in other ways that show those around you care. You might find your driveway cleared one morning of the snow that fell overnight. Maybe it’s an invitation to join a friend at the gym, tickets to take the kids to a local hockey game, a call to fill in for a missing player in the mixed volleyball league. These are small but real ways friends help friends stay involved, connected and ways to say, “I’m thinking about you.”

You will feel better more often than not if you give yourself a chance. If you go places or host parties and make up your mind ahead of time to be miserable you will unfortunately predict your own demise and have a miserable time; not to mention those around you. Okay so you’re not at your best, so what? If it was a friend of yours you’d hope to see them at a gathering and you’d go out of your way to be supportive and empathize with them.

Give it a shot; or rather give yourself one.