Yesterday was New Year’s Day and today is day 1 of the ‘work’ year. For me personally, there is a huge contrast in the two; yesterday was sitting and reading a book I got for Christmas, snacking more than I should normally do, and generally relaxing. Today, it’s up and at ’em, back to the blog, shower and dress, make breakfast and out the door to work all day.
As the days of 2017 counted down, did you find yourself consciously putting things off until the new year? You know, job searching; updating your résumé, (yet again!) applying for jobs? Well, it’s here and so it’s time to get going. I hope you’re fired with enthusiasm for changes and the hard work it takes to ultimately be successful. I truly hope you have the stamina to put in the necessary effort and sustain it, and of course I really do want you to succeed.
It’s hard at this time of the year for many to get going though; well for very long at least. Here in Canada we’re under a prolonged deep freeze where the temperatures are with wind chills in the minus 20 – minus 30 range. The days are short on sunlight and the snow has been more plentiful than in past years. Staying inside is tempting; reading as I’ve done for pleasure, or perhaps your own Christmas gifts have your attention (or over-attention as the case may be).
While you may have resolved to put more effort into your job search for the new year, please don’t make the mistake of setting yourself up with lofty expectations you’ll likely not meet. Doing so can have the reverse effect upon you, when you falter, have a setback or two and lean towards chucking the thing in once more. Yes, you don’t want to expect yourself to put in a solid 7 or 8 hours straight every day, nose to the grindstone and then when you slip up a bit, chastise yourself for your failings and give up entirely. This can lead to self-deprecation, low self-esteem, depression and despair.
It’s the balance you’re looking for I suggest. You know better than anyone what your effort in 2017 was really like. You know the help you sought out or didn’t, the advice you failed to follow or the shortcuts you thought in your wisdom would do the same things as taking the longer but probably more effective way to get things done. Nobody knows you like you know you!
Yes, balance is the key. So yes, 2018 will require some effort on your part and perhaps more of a commitment to your end goals. This could mean more work, less play for many, or it could mean just shifting your play time without diminishing it. So rather than saying you’ll give up movies, reading for pleasure, playing games entirely or ignoring the lure of your hobbies and interests until you get a job, (because this won’t work), you could just reallocate your time spent doing these things.
Setting aside ‘play time’ will allow you to enjoy it more when it comes anyhow. So if you love heading to the basement to do some woodworking and it takes some time to set things up, do what you love and then more time to clean up after, give yourself an afternoon say twice a week to do so; and ENJOY it guilt-free. After all, you don’t want to feel distracted with guilt doing something you love, which robs you of the very pleasure you find in it.
You may or may not be in a place to turn your love for your hobby into a job (had you thought of that?), or you might not want to – keeping your hobby and your work separate and apart to unwind and keep the fun of what you love doing.
Now when you’re having your, ‘you time’; immersed in what brings you happiness and contentment, don’t overdo it. If you can discipline yourself to getting back to the job search as you intended to, you’ll ultimately be happier with yourself. You don’t want to feel bad after all that you’re shirking your job search time while you’re trying to enjoy reading that book, sewing or whatever it is you enjoy. That feeling of, “I should be looking for work” will rob you of your concentration and you’ll feel distracted.
So what you might do is begin with a schedule. Whether you set up an alert on your phone, write things down on paper or set an alarm clock, do whatever it takes for you to stay on track of your intended schedule – just as you would do if you were employed. Factor in a couple of breaks and lunch, and where possible, get outdoors for some fresh air at some point too. Good for the spirit, the lungs and the body.
As for the job search? Well, how’s it going? Is a change in strategy needed or are you getting close doing what you’re doing? If you want better results than what you ended 2017 with, then maybe you need a different way of going about things. Read a current book on job search techniques, learn something new about your field of interest, take a course, consult with a job search expert or have your résumé reviewed at the least.
2018; this is YOUR year! All the very best wishes for success!