Invest Yourself In The New Hire

Every organization experiences turnovers in their staff contingent as part of their natural aging process. People retire, take leave, are fired, have their hours reduced or positions eliminated. Similarly new applicants are hired, temps fill in on short assignments, positions are created, expansion plans are implemented, new locations needing staffing spring up.

Once upon a time you yourself were the newest hire; the fresh blood, the one people wondered about and made a point of welcoming on board and getting to know. You yourself in those early days hoped you’d be accepted and welcomed; you’d survive the first few awkward days and then make it past probation until you were eventually hired on permanently and became a fixture.

I’ve worked in both unionized and non-unionized environments and in both scenarios a common practice is for the newly hired to breathe a little easier when others are hired after them. When others are hired later, it means there’s a little more perceived job security if things got slow and someone had to be cut loose. The faster you made it up the seniority ladder, the faster you could stop worrying and stressing about the possibility of having your job taken away as it would usually fall to someone hired after you.

Do you remember what it was like when you were hired? How about your first day or first week? What was going through your head as you headed out your front door on those earliest of days?

It’s likely that any new employee is wondering about much the same things as you did. Will they like me? Where will I sit? What kind of boss will I have? Will anyone invite me to lunch this week? Should I brown bag it or take along some lunch money just in case? Will the job be what they said it would be or turn into something I didn’t expect?

Yes, new employees often think about the same kind of issues, have the same concerns and hope the same kind of good things happen to them. A new job is a brand new chapter to write; a fresh start where you can put any past problems behind you. Sure there’s new stresses and challenges but this is what drives many of us to excel and grow.

Now move ahead to the present day. Here you are with your reputation established and no longer one of the new employees by a longshot. You’ve carved out your place, forged those relationships and know your environment and how to thrive in it. New employees pop up from time to time of course; some staying for the long haul and some gone before you really get to know them.

There’s a lot of upside in taking the time to warmly greet and welcome new staff to the organization in general and your department specifically. Your reputation is closely aligned with the reputation of the company you work for, and so it follows that employees – all employees – impact on that company reputation by default and on you by association. As a seasoned or senior employee, you can influence new staff in how they think and act when they are relatively new.

Even when a new employee comes in with a wealth of knowledge and experience gathered elsewhere, you can impact how they settle in and what they learn and need to know about how to act while working in your workplace. Could be that how you and your fellow employees go about their work is unique and different from what the new employee has experienced. Changing their mindset, ensuring their practices match those of your organization could be critical before they make mistakes or do things the way they’ve always done them elsewhere.

Another benefit of speaking with someone early in their new jobs could be sharing your own philosophy in the hopes that they may adopt yours completely or at least accept your philosophy as yours and respect it when interacting with you. Now I don’t mean you scheduled a time to talk and tell them you’re going to lay out your philosophy; you might do this in fact or you may just lead by example.

When I have had new staff start where I work, I make a point of setting aside some time to work together with them; offering to share some of my resources and my time should they need any advice, direction or support. Sometimes I like to ask new employees what their philosophy of service is. The most common reaction I get is an initially stunned look; as though they’ve never pondered the question or articulated an answer. That’s a good thing because now they’re thinking big picture.

You see to me, how I  and my colleagues deliver services is important. I like knowing who among those on my team thinks like me, who has a different take on things and how small or large is the difference in approach between us. I encourage new employees to listen to the opinions of others, watch, learn and soak up all the various ways we each do our jobs. The new person brings their own skills, ideas and philosophy with them of course, and this is always interesting for me working to learn from them too.

Make you new employees welcome and embrace what they bring as the chemistry changes on your team or in your workplace.

How To Ethically Quit A New Job For Another

Today I want to share my thoughts on how to handle what amounts to a moral dilemma for some people; quitting a job you’ve just started in favour of a better job.

Now some people wouldn’t have any problem quitting the first job whatsoever. They might just stop showing up and delete the calls on their phones from that employer wondering where they are. To me that’s cowardly, childish and demonstrates an incredible lack of appreciation for the company who hired you in the first place. If your name is then shared within your field behind closed doors as a, “Do Not Hire”, I think you deserve it.

However, let us assume that you took the original job in good faith. Perhaps the job was offered to you after a prolonged job search. You jumped at it although it wasn’t your dream job, or perhaps the work was ideal but it was part-time and you were seeking full-time work. Then you get a phone call from another employer you had previously applied to offering you full-time employment. If you have a conscious, you may be fraught with anxiety, wanting to please the employer who had the confidence to offer you the first  job, but at the same time you want to look out for your own personal best interests, and take what is in fact a better situation.

Let’s look at some realities. First of all, if this second and better job offer comes to you after only a few days on the first job, so that employer likely still has all the resumes and applications handy from their original job posting and will not have the expense of advertising the position again. They may just go back to someone who was their 2nd choice and offer them the job stating that the position has unexpectedly come available.

Another reality is that they have invested only a few days in your training. Those few days are lost, but much better than if you jumped ship after a month or two just as you actually started to be trusted to work with some independence.

Now most people understand when you are job searching, you have many applications out there, and unless you tell them you’ve been hired, your perhaps being considered for a few positions. It isn’t unreasonable or surprising therefore that you get a call either asking you in for an interview, or as in this scenario being offered a job based on a previous interview.

So, you’ve got a new job and a 2nd job offer when days ago you may have been unemployed or perhaps working in a job you really needed to replace with something better. So your stress of not liking your job was replaced by the stress of learning a new job, and then added to that stress is having a 2nd job offer and having to tell one of the two that you are not interested! Yikes!

Most employers will understand – they may not be thrilled losing you, but they will understand. If the job they gave you is part-time and now you have a full-time job doing something similar and it comes with better benefits, they’ll get it. They may even wish you well in your new job and tell you that if it doesn’t work out to call and see if where they are at. After all, they really wanted you!

Your moral dilemma is a good sign. It means you are already emotionally invested in the job you’ve only been at for 2 or 3 days. You really want to leave the job on positive terms, hate the thought of leaving without notice and don’t want to burn any bridges and leave a bad taste in their mouth. The one thing to remind yourself of, and to communicate to the boss you are about to disappoint is that you had ceased applying for other jobs or interviewing for them once accepting their offer of employment. At the time you accepted, there was no other job offer on the table, but now there is and unfortunately for the boss, the 2nd offer is too perfect to pass on.

You cannot control the reaction of the boss when you share your news, but you can control how you deliver it and how you receive their reaction. \Understand that in one day you will no longer know your current boss for whom you worked 2 or 3 days. You’re not so irreplaceable after that time that they won’t get over you. Your best bet is to deliver the news quickly and in private. Allow the boss to decide if you get escorted out the front door right away or get a chance to say so long to your now ex-co-workers.

The boss has more important and urgent matters to attend to than worrying about your feelings. They have to get on to Human Resources and get those applications sent back over. Their attention has shifted to the next hire and any outburst is more of a short-term reaction of disappointment and not necessarily real anger at you, just the situation. .

By the way, make sure you accept the newest job offer first just in case the awkward situation arises where you quit one to take the other and the other one suddenly is withdrawn because the company has decided not to hire at this time. That would hurt!

“You’re Not What We’re Looking For”

Rats, rejected again. So now what do you do? Looking for work takes its toll, especially if you really invest yourself in the process. It can be mentally draining attempting to show the world a positive face, a smile and exude confidence at a time when you feel vulnerable, stressed and anxious.

If you think about the title, “You’re not what we’re looking for”, there could be some valuable clues in those six words that you’d be smart to think about and then do something about. The most obvious question to ask of the person making that statement is, “Why am I not what you are looking for?” In other words, what are they looking for that you lack.

You see it could be that if you hear this once, you were a wrong fit at that company. It’s not your fault, nor is it theirs. In fact, finding fault at all is the wrong thing to do. You may have all the qualifications on paper, but during an interview, the interviewer(s) made a decision that based on your personality for example and how you conducted yourself that someone else with equal qualifications would just fit in better. That’s fair I believe.

After all, the company and the person representing it know the culture and the kind of people who thrive and those that don’t or might put that culture at risk. You and I, we don’t know that, and they might have done you a favour from being hired and then shortly fired when you didn’t fit in as well as another candidate would.

Let’s suppose now that you hear, “You’re not what we’re looking for” frequently. What message could really be behind those words? Hearing it often could well mean that you just don’t have what it takes to compete with other applicants period. Say you got a job 8 years ago through a family friend in an office setting. You were let go a year ago due to downsizing and you’ve been looking for work for over a year.

In a situation like this, you may not have the credentials required by a new employer, such as certificate in Office Administration. You may have a working understanding of the software that company used, but perhaps employer’s are looking for people who have experience using newer programs, and face it, there are many people over those years who have upgraded their formal education in school and are now graduating with training in the latest and best practices.

You see that job you held in a small firm of 10 people was good while it lasted, but it has left you unprepared to compete with other applicants with more recent education or experience with larger companies. If you were one of those applicants, you’d be arguing that you’re a better fit and you might be absolutely right.

Now the above is just a scenario that I’m presenting. It does illustrate however that the experience you may have is valid and good so far as it goes, but it falls short of the experience other applicants have which may mean they are consistently hired where you are not. Frustrating? Absolutely. Understandable however? Yes, completely.

If you can determine therefore why you are not the best fit and what they are looking for, then you are in a position to do something about it if you so choose. If the message is that you don’t have experience working in large organizations, maybe you should confine your job search to smaller companies where you’ll be a great fit based on your work history. A job in a larger firm where you have to interact with many people in different departments may be something you’d have to learn but why hire you when other applicants know it already?

Recently I read a reply from a reader pointing out that it is companies not job seekers that are to blame when things don’t work out. I read their post and sensed bitterness, anger, resentment and a lack of full understanding when they have been passed over for others. I don’t think job seekers are to, ‘blame’ for their unemployment any more than I think employers are to, ‘blame’ for making the decisions they do.

Just as a job applicant can turn down a job because they don’t like the money offered, the travel involved or the work location, a company can turn down any applicant. In both cases, from either way you look at it, one or the other could decide it’s a bad fit. In fact, an applicant could withdraw from the application process and the company decide to hire someone else at the same time.

My advice is to respectfully ask for some clarification of why you are not presently what they are looking for in order to better compete in the future. If you need more experience get it. If you need a specific kind of experience, seek it out volunteering or take some upgrading if that’s the suggestion.

You may not of course get the real feedback that you’d like. If your personality and attitude are a bad fit, they aren’t going to tell you that. Some outfits don’t give feedback at all if you don’t work out. Be as objective as you can, open to feedback as you can and then pause to consider any feedback you do get before responding.




Before Starting A New Job

Congratulations! You’ve been hired and you’ve got a few days before you’re due to start your new job. There are a few things you should do between now and then.

For starters, make sure you’ve shared your good news with all the stakeholders you involved right from the beginning. Whether an email sent out to them, a phone call, a personal card or notification on your social media platform, let everybody know the news. After all, whether you told 6 people or 50 people, all those people are under the impression you are still actively looking unless they hear otherwise. Even if you never heard a word from them, it’s a good practice to communicate your success with them.

The people who really need to hear your good news the most are, I would argue, those who agreed to stand up and be a reference for you. If they were contacted by the company, it could well be that part of the decision to offer you a job was based in part on the conversation the interviewer had with these people. Those folks may have had to keep you foremost in their minds as they went about their daily work just on the off-chance that someone called and asked about you. Seems like the very least you should do is thank them personally.

Depending how long you have been out of work, you might find that your wardrobe is dated. You’re going to want to make a good impression on day one, and taking a trip to the store to pick up something you are going to feel confident in on day one could be just the thing. If you’ve been scrimping and saving, this is one thing you can do for yourself that will lift your spirits. If you paid attention to how the people dressed in the company when you had your visit, you’ll have an idea of what to wear. Not sure? Why not call and ask about the expected dress code? And consider a haircut too.

Some organizations are really well-organized and you’ll have people looking for you right from day 1. You may be met in reception, given a tour, have a meeting with your new boss right off the bat and then get introduced to others and given some time to set up in your work area. In some cases, there could be poor communication and planning, and when you arrive, no one seems ready to receive you and make you feel welcomed. Pay attention to how you feel and how you are brought into the organization one way or the other. This could be a great opportunity to improve the experience of new hires.

Planning is important for you as much as it is by the company. You should have planned out how you will get to your workplace, asked where to park your vehicle and if the parking is free or not. The last thing you want to do is have to drive around for 15 minutes once you arrive and then appear to be late walking in the door. And it might not be advisable to park in the area reserved for your boss. If you are reluctant to contact your new boss for this information, call the general number and ask the Receptionist. Getting his or her name will also give you someone to say hello to when you arrive on your first morning.

Think ahead about your lunch too. Eat in or eat out on day 1? Good advice is to bring your lunch and plan to eat in the lunch area presumably provided, but if you get a chance to go out with some people, leave the lunch there for the next day and go. Making friends or just being welcomed by a few people and included in their lunch time is a great way to start off. If no offers are made to you regarding lunch plans, you can eat your lunch and maybe use your time to keep your eyes and ears open. Be friendly!

Oddly enough, there is something to look out for on your first day. While no one may know you, you might actually find that it appears someone or a group of people aren’t too happy with your arrival. Why would that be? Could be something like the person they thought would get the job is a friend, relative, neighbour etc., of someone who works there now. Your co-workers might resent not you specifically, but you in general because you got the job they hoped would go to someone else. This isn’t fair to you of course, but it could be you’ll need time to win them over and give you a break. No need to be everyone’s best friend on day 1.

Also on your first day, don’t bring a lot of knickknacks to work. Little figurines, toy cars, desktop golf games etc. might be cute in the store, but find out what is acceptable and what is not before you show up with lots of things you accumulated at your last job. You might find that poster you wanted to hang in your locker or adorn your wall with is not a offends your colleagues.

It feels good to get a job doesn’t it? Part of your identity is coming back, and so is your confidence. Awesome!

Congratulations On Your New Job!

It’s been a long, frustrating job search for the most part. You’ve spent time applying for jobs, writing cover letters and resumes, sending them off to people who haven’t the courtesy or time to acknowledge they even received them. You’ve spent time dressing up for interviews that didn’t produce job offers, worn smiles that masked anxiety and desperation, and prayed every time your phone rang that it was an employer offering you a job, which it never was; until now.

Congratulations on being offered a job! And as you heard that voice on the other end of the phone line saying, “We’d like to offer you a position”, you felt that wave of relief wash over you, vindicating your efforts to find work, and with those seven words, a sense that life is about to get a little easier, (and hopefully better) dawned on you.

One thing you may do is notify the people who have believed in you the most during this period of unemployment. Quite frankly, you’re going to want to thank them for their help and support, but isn’t there just a little part of you that wants to hear someone tell you how happy they are for you? How you deserve to be working and your hard work has finally paid off? Hear how someone is lucky to have you and how proud they are of you? I know I’d love to hear that if I was out of work.

My suggestion is to phone up or email those folks right away. After all, they probably invested a fair bit of effort in you and your job search too. They need to know that they can stop sourcing out job opportunities for you, and they no longer need to keep their eyes and ears open for possibilities; and more importantly, they can also stop saying, “I know this person who would be great if you are looking for someone.” After all, they’re going to look bad if a potential employer says, “Great. Put her in touch with me”, and then they have to contact them and say, “Sorry, she’s started working for someone else and I didn’t know.”

Before you start the actual job, you’ll have some things to think about and prepare. If you have children, you might have child care to arrange, perhaps clothes to wash or new ones to purchase, and maybe food for lunches to buy. You may also have to make a trip to see the employer to get all signed on before you actually start working. You know, filling out tax forms, getting your ID, signing a contract etc., or this might be done on your actual first day of work.

There’s transportation to plan, perhaps personal equipment or tools to assemble, and sitters for your animals to arrange. In some cases, you’ll be needing to open a bank account and provide documentation of this for the new employer so they can deposit your pay. Oh and on your first day, look extra sharp because you might have your photo taken for that shiny new ID badge I mentioned in the last paragraph. Smile!

And while the stress of unemployment and a job search is moving out, a new source of stress may be starting to take its place; the stress of working again when it’s been awhile; the stress of learning new responsibilities, meeting new people, trying to fit in, wondering if anyone will like you. You may be anxious about things that you’ll find out in due time, like where’s the washroom, where do I put my lunch, who’s my boss and what are they like?

Of course you know in your head you can’t answer half the questions in your head until you actually start work on your first day, but that may not stop the questions from coming and a lack of sleep because you can’t turn off your brain wondering. But it’s a good stress for a change isn’t it? Nervous excitement is building, and it feels good again to think of yourself as, ‘normal’. Whether you are devoutly religious or religious on a casual basis, you might find yourself uttering a short, “Thank You” and sending it skyward.

I can tell you that as an Employment Counsellor, I love hearing when people I’ve been helping get the work they’ve been wanting so bad. Some of them get this silly grin on their faces because they are so happy, and it’s wonderful to see. And honestly, it’s really nice to feel that in some small way, I’ve helped them along. And this good feeling is largely due to the fact that I’m one of the few people who may know exactly how hard they’ve been trying and what employment really means to them.

The next test is for you to get through the first day, understand the job you have been hired to do, meet the other people you’ll be working with, and see your work area. It’s important to make sure you pass the probation period, so your employment becomes stable over the long-term. Be friendly, know that it’s normal to be anxious, nervous and no you won’t be expected to do the job as well as others who have been their for a long time on your first day.

Congratulations. Work responsibly and you’ll do well. You after all, deserve it.

A Job Search Of Frustrations Ends In Success

Approximately three months ago, I happened to be scheduled to be in our Employment Resource Centre for the day. Those who use the Centre are all unemployed or underemployed recipients of social services or those on disability assistance. When you work in the Centre, you essentially deal with whomever walks through the door, and deal with the issues they bring with them.

On this one day, I noticed a young woman who was strikingly different from many of the regular clients. She was dressed well, well-groomed, and working very diligently and privately on a computer, blocking out those around her, not even batting an eye when disruptions happened. On the desk she was using, she had three very organized piles of papers, and was obviously extremely focused. She was sitting upright, slightly leaning forward and her fingers proved she knew her way around a keyboard too. I was impressed.

So I started up a conversation with her and it turned out she was looking for work as I suspected; hunting down Environmental Technician positions. She showed me a resume that for once I found was almost perfect the way it was. What a change from the other 99% I see that are anywhere from complete disasters to those needing tweaking. I was impressed. She showed me a cover letter she had just finished which also looked pretty good, and the recommendations I suggested were minor – more improvements than corrections.

“I’m so frustrated”, she said. “Do you know I’ve been applying for jobs in my field and all I get is confirmation that they’ve been received in a polite computer-generated response email?” So I asked her to tell me how she went about job searching. She shared with me that she researches companies she would like to work for, learns about their values, principles and mission statements. She has set herself up for alerts in the gas and oil industry, trying to catch on to early postings. She matches her resume to job postings, always uses a cover letter, always follows up with calls to ensure they have been received, proactively asks for interviews, uses good manners thanking everyone she speaks with, and sends notes of thanks if she does get an interview. Still nothing.

So then I asked if she was using social media and she offered to show me her LinkedIn profile page. That too was pretty well done, and the picture was a keeper. It all seemed so unified and the kind of job search that typically I’d suggest everyone should be doing to increase odds of success. She was trying to meet people too, network with those who might be in a position to help her out. I was scratching my head and wondering what there was left to suggest that this go-getter could do; after all, I was the so-called expert and had voluntary inserted myself into this conversation.

What I did do was offer to include her in a future job search group I run, and promised that if she said yes, I’d do my very best to help her out, however that might be. She actually accepted with the stipulation that when notified of the actual dates, she’d either accept or decline based on what was going on at the time. And so it was that just over one month ago, she was contacted and declined at the time because she had a few interviews scheduled and wanted to fully prepare for those intently.

Yesterday she came in to the Resource Centre and asked to see me. When I walked in to the room she was glowing, excited and waved at me to come over excitedly. I could tell some kind of good news was about to wash over me. Sure enough, she showed me a contract offer from a major gas and oil employer. She says she got called in for an interview for a job which she applied to…5 months earlier. Yep; 5 months ago. They interviewed her and said they were looking to hire for September of 2014. No that’s not a typo. However after interviewing her, they were fast-tracking her to start in January 2014 because they didn’t want to lose her.

She told me there were 4 positions being filled, and they received 800 applications of which 20 were shortlisted, and 10 got second interviews. Those numbers are staggering, as is the time period involved. She applied 5 months ago for a job that wasn’t to really start until 10 months from now. Good information for other job seekers to note. The employer will pack her belongings, relocate her to another city, her benefits start on day 1, and the job is upwards of $73,000.00 per year to start.

Starting on social assistance had brought her to a new low, her savings exhausted and debt starting to rise. This job not only means a fresh start, it means financial independence, increased self-worth. And I loved the fact that she got so excited at seeing me walk in the room because she could share her news with me in person. How thoughtful to include me when thinking of whom to share her news with!

Take the good news in this story and carry forth the hope; visualize yourself getting the good news and then go out and be persistent and patient.

Public Rejection

History abounds with stories of people who have been rejected at some point, and the most interesting examples are where the individuals didn’t give up and kept pursuing their various goals, ultimately obtaining success. Now if you the reader are currently undertaking a job search, I know that hearing about others doesn’t advance your own situation, but perhaps it can put things in some perspective that can be helpful.

Before he became the world’s most successful band Manager, Brian Epstein went from record company to record company with a disc trying to get a deal for four teenage boys. He was soundly rejected by Record Executives, one of whom told him that guitar playing groups were on the way out. Brian felt terrible because he had built up the hopes of his young musicians and told them how great they were; great enough in his opinion that he had quit his previous job in order to manage them. By the standards of the day he got a poor deal in the end, but it was a start. Still, imagine the Executive who would report later that afternoon to his bosses that he had just turned down some obscure group called of all things, “The Beatles”.

Sticking with the Beatles a moment, how would you have liked to have been Pete Best? Here was a guy that played drums for them originally, but was replaced by Ringo Starr when George Martin their Producer said they had to drop Pete. Pete has lived his whole life knowing now that he could have had immense fame as part of the world’s best Rock and Roll band, but instead of wallowing in pity, he’s had a good life with a band of his own on a much smaller scale, and handled the rejection well.

Look at the present day with all the hopefuls that audition for singing or dance contests, many of which are now recorded and made into evening television entertainment. You can bet that among those who are rejected, there are many who seriously have more invested than just a day of fun. Some will have worked hard for that chance only to be told to go home. “You’re not what we are looking for”, isn’t what they wanted to hear, but many more hear it than those who are chosen to move ahead.

Look too at professional coaches in sports. When a team hires a new coach, both the person doing the hiring and the person being hired know that in that profession, there will be a firing just as public down the road. And while working, every move that coach makes will be questioned, evaluated and debated by Management, players, fans and sponsors. If expectations are to be the best and raise a cup, that means ultimately only one of all the coaches will have actually accomplished the goals of the organization. When fired or terminated, a short statement saying something akin to, “I’d like to thank so-and-so for his commitment and dedication to our franchise. We’re just moving in a new direction”, is likely to be said.

All fields have examples of people being rejected. Architects lose bids on new building contracts, new home buyers have offers rejected by sellers, aircraft manufacturers have their bids rejected by Countries, politicians are routinely passed over in favour of others. Rejection happens everywhere. Scientists have experiments fail more than they succeed, doctors lose patients on surgery tables they can’t save, sometimes a colour of paint gets mixed wrong at the store. Big deal, small deal, it happens all the time.

What is important to remember is that rejection itself is something a person can learn from. If you can figure out the reasons perhaps behind someone’s dismissal of you as a candidate for a job, you might be able to learn from it. In fact, how you react to rejection can even be turned into the basis for an interview answer in the future. Suppose you’ve been turned down by a company in the past for a job because you lacked some credential. If you have strengthened your chances by improving yourself, that’s a great example of perseverance to use. Alternatively you might just tell everyone that the company is full of fools and you wouldn’t want to work there anyway, and take away nothing from the experience. Now who’s the fool?

In such a strongly competitive job market, for every person who is ultimately successful, there will be many who are not. That means your personal odds of being hired are lower given the larger number of applicants. Job searching and applying for jobs then requires more effort than you may have been giving in the past. This means you not only need to apply to more jobs, but you need stronger individual applications that you’ve been submitting.

Upgrading your education and experience, perhaps by volunteering, interning, apprenticing, or working on a pardon etc. might be what you have to get going on. Doing more of whatever you’ve been doing only might mean more rejection. Get some personal feedback from a professional and find out how best to increase your chances of success.


The Exhileration Of, “I’m Hired!”

Yesterday I got word that a client I’ve been working with during the past year has successfully interviewed for a position she really wanted. Now anyone whose business it is to assist others in moving towards financial independence will tell you that when one of our clients succeeds, it is so joyful to share that news with them. It re-affirms of course our work, but really it’s just about being so excited for them and we can almost see and hear the weight slide off their shoulders.

This one client I will admit is a person that I have had exceptionally high expectations of. Not only has she always presented herself well-groomed, but she has always been open to hearing and acting on advice and suggestions made to her. One of her most attractive qualities to me has been her determination and focus in conducting her job search. When arriving for example in the Employment Resource Centre to use a computer, she will enter the room, move to a cubicle, open up the necessary software and e-mails, and then seldom take her eyes off the work she needs to get done. When her work is completed, she’ll often pack up and leave without wasting anytime on Youtube, Facebook, personal e-mail etc. She’s here to work.

I made sure when I spoke with her that I congratulated her for her determination and told her how proud I was of her. I couldn’t help but smile myself as I heard the excitement in her voice. What really came out was her rise in self-worth and growing self-esteem. You see over time, her confidence was eroding, she was doubting herself and wondering if she shouldn’t expand her list of acceptable jobs to well outside her chosen goal.

Ironic in some ways that when a person is unemployed for longer than they expected, that their self-perception should be so damaged. Of course that’s because in our society we tie how we perceive ourselves and others by what occupation we have, and how we earn a living. The feeling for many without a job is that they don’t in fact, “earn a living” at all. So when an employer told her she was hired, her view of herself soared because someone else was validating her as a person and saw value in having her as an employee.

HOW the offer was made helped repair a lot of damage too. You see, she had originally been told that there would be two interviews potentially. She would only be hired by the person ultimately making the decision if she could pass the first interview with, as it now turns out, a co-worker. Well, after meeting with that individual, she was told to sit tight for a moment and the decision-maker appeared. A short time later, the rest of the interviews were cancelled, and she was hired on the spot and today is her first day – less than 24 hours after the interview.

Sometimes that’s how things work. Unemployment rears its ugly head and you crash after a long fall when that period of time gets drawn out seemingly forever. Then just when you really start to doubt yourself, a job offer comes and you feel vindicated, you feel optimistic again, you appreciate a pay cheque so much more, and you make a commitment to value your work and what it means because it becomes part of your identity.

If you are struggling in your own job search, take some small comfort in this tale. One day it WILL become true of you too. Resist the urge to give up and spend time in the dark places of depression and gloom. It may not be easy, but surround yourself with positive people who believe in you. Speak with a Career, Employment or Guidance Counsellor. Many of the people around you who to you appear to be entirely successful, have themselves experienced unemployment and frustration. You are not alone in your job hunt.

All the very best as you work to land that next job.