Carrying Too Much? Headed For A Crisis?


Let’s suppose three conditions exist:

  1.  You’ve got problems.
  2.  Your employer tells you to leave your personal problems at home.
  3.  Your other half tells you to leave your work problems at work.

So you’re not to unburden yourself at home or the workplace. But the message society is broadcasting in 2019 is that talking about your problems, stresses and general mental health challenges is highly encouraged. So who will listen to you if the people in your daily life with whom you have the most contact apparently won’t?

This is the situation many people find themselves in, and with no one they know prepared to listen to them – really listen to them – most people end up carrying an increasingly large load each and every day. Every so often, that load becomes unbearable and then something happens where you shut down completely and take an extended medical leave of absence after experiencing a mental health crisis.

If you saw someone carrying a heavy load, you’d offer to help. The same person carrying too many problems on the other hand is harder for us to see.

If and when you do break down the Management team where you work might say they saw it coming. Well, if they saw this coming, what did they do to reach out and try to head it off before it developed into a full-blown crisis? Was there any offer of counselling? Did they sit down and try to get at your work-related or personal concerns as they impacted on your work production?

Now some employers do have Employee Assistance Programs (EAP). These provide employees with access to confidential counselling services. For those that access this help, it’s a good opportunity to talk openly about the pressure you’re under in both your personal and professional life. You’re given a number of sessions to participate in; and you set the frequency of those talks. It’s just the two of you; you and your Counsellor.

WHAT you talk about is pretty open. Don’t expect however that this Counsellor will hear you out and then tell you what to do to fix your life. That might be nice to envision for some, but in reality, they listen, offer support and yes do make some suggestions on various strategies you might find helpful. They will share community resources if and when appropriate for you to take advantage of, but what they won’t do is lay out a plan for you to follow that solves all your issues. That after all, would be their plan for you, not your plan for you.

Okay so this sounds good if you work for an employer with this counselling service to access. But, for the many who don’t have such services paid for to access as part of their benefit plan, what’s a person to do?

Well, you can opt to pay for counselling services out of your wages. While you might feel this is money you can’t afford, consider that your own mental health is at stake and perhaps you can’t afford NOT to get the help you’re after. If you have a complete break down and have to quit or get fired, you still have all your issues to deal with – plus loss of income and loss of employment.

I think it’s fair to say there are a lot of people these days who are carrying worry, grief, anxiety, depression, bitterness, fear, hopelessness, low self-worth, phobias and pressure with them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Some have learned to hide it so well, you and I would be completely shocked if they ever shared what they carry. We’d likely say, “What?! You? No way. I don’t believe it. I’d never have guessed. But you don’t show any signs of that!”

Now we all experience stress and worry; it’s not confined to a few. For the majority of us, these worries and pressures are things we can work through using the skills we’ve acquired and practiced while resolving other challenges and similar situations in our past. As we work through problems and worries, we gain confidence in our ability to work things out, we might have learned to see the bigger picture; to know with great confidence that these problems will eventually pass and life will go on. This perspective and these growing skills help us manage the problems as they arise.

However, equally true is the fact that many people don’t have the knowledge of resources to draw on, they don’t have good role models in their lives helping them learn the skills to resolve problems. They may therefore fail to resolve their problems on a regular basis and all these failures just compound their problems because they repeat the same behaviours which result in the same problems arising. Tragic, sad and a vicious circle.

You may opt to talk things out with a trusted friend. Good for you if you have a friend you can in fact trust, and if that friend listens without jumping to the temptation to tell you what to do. Saying, “here’s what I’d do if I were you…” isn’t really helpful but it sure sounds like what you want to hear.

So how do you access counselling? Ask your employer if there’s help. Ask anyone who works in a community agency for a phone number of such services or use the internet to look up counselling services in your area.

To your good mental health.

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Those Across The Table Struggle Too


Have you ever thought much about the people you deal with every day who sit or stand across the table or counter from you and provide a service? Far from robotic, these too are average folks who get up, go to work, do the best they can and go home. They have personal struggles, mental health issues, real-life disasters, hopes and dreams, wants and needs just like me; just like you.

Not many of us care to know quite frankly. When we go in to renew our licence plate stickers and get in that 12 person deep line, shunting our way up to the counter, we just want to pay our dues, get the sticker and leave. We may even share with those we meet for the rest of the day our complaint about the long line, the inconvenience of the process and high fees, and to finish off our rant, complain about the attitude and tone of voice of the man or woman who served us.

And this lack of thought isn’t confined to someone at the licencing centre. No, we likely don’t give much of a thought to the well-being of the Bank Teller who handles our transactions, the person who serves us in the drive-through, the shopkeeper who sells us an item in their store. If you’ve got something – some things – on your mind that worry, stress, preoccupy and keep you from focusing on what you’re doing with a 100% positive attitude, why is it hard to understand that the other people we interact with daily have similar challenges?

Now, to be clear, when we are dealing with such people, it’s inappropriate for both you and I to stop and ask with sincerity how they are doing and whether or not they’d like to open up and share their problems with us. We don’t all have the necessary training to start with and there’s that growing line behind you that you’re now holding up and in doing so, you’re compounding their stress to serve others. And surely, you don’t really expect them to honestly share much of anything with you in that public setting, nor expect them to fully trust you whom they don’t know much at all?

What you and I can do however is our very best to be everything we’d expect in return: courteous, respectful, kind, pleasant to deal with and yes, smile which makes us nicer to deal with.

You might think this is a given; it’s known, basic, interpersonal skills 101. However, I see many people approach those behind the counters and treat them poorly. Raised voices, a lack of manners, scowls at the outset, seemingly looking to provoke an altercation, foul language, animated faces and drama more suited to a theatre stage than a bank reception area. I’ve even found myself apologizing for someone else’s rude behaviour when it’s my turn. Just acknowledging the difficulty they had providing service to the previous person goes a long way.

The thing is we expect the people who serve us to be 100% focused on us. Some would say, “That’s what their paid to do so yes, just do their job.” And honestly if that’s your reaction, you’re likely one of the people who doesn’t care to think about other people as, well…. people. Why would you assume they shouldn’t be working if they’ve got problems on their minds? My goodness, many people would sit home for long periods were this the case.

The truth of the matter is that a great number of people with problems, worries, stressors and mental health challenges find the inner resolve and strength to go about their work day each and every day. They do bring their problems with them to work, then to the grocery stores where they stand in line served by others, then to the gas stations or bus stops where they are surrounded by more people and served by the Cashier or the Bus Driver. On the outside they may look like they’ve got it all together; not a care in the world. On the inside, hidden away from the public, they too may be dealing with all kinds of things we’ve no idea of.

So it’s important therefore to be kind, respectful and yes, even empathetic when we don’t get the absolute best from whomever we are dealing with. If the Waitress neglects to bring us the ketchup we asked for, it’s surely not something to make a big deal over is it? Ask a second time and be kind about it. Maybe she’s worried about getting a call from the school about her child’s behaviour, perhaps she received an eviction notice just before coming to work and she’s conflicted with being here at work serving you so she holds on to her job, but really would rather be packing up or planning to fight it.

To close, I often suggest to you readers that you take advantage of counselling services to unburden your load, share your troubles and in so doing, move forward. That person listening to you, for all their expertise is a human too. As you pour all your feelings out, you’re one of 3 or 4 to do so that day and every day. That’s a huge responsibility they take on gladly, and while they are paid well, they also pay a price you can’t measure.

Be kind, show gratitude, be understanding. Every day with everyone.

You Only Have So Much To Give


You have to love working for a Manager who demands you give it all you’ve got; then when you empty the tank, they question your commitment and willingness to go above and beyond. Where exactly do they think that extra energy is going to come from when you’ve nothing left to give?

Imagine an hourglass if you will, just turned upside down and the grains of sand rushing out the narrow opening and spilling into the bottom half. When those grains are falling, let’s see your productivity at it’s highest. There’s so much sand in the upper half, pressure and gravity come together to keep the sand moving quickly. However, as time elapses, so too does the quantity of sand remaining. Much of the sand is spent and collected in the bottom half, and there’s less pressure being exerted on the remaining grains. Some might actually adhere to the glass and not fall through without a gentle tap on the sides. Eventually, all the grains drop and there’s no more to be had; your productivity is similarly spent.

Like that hourglass, you’re energy is done, you’ve left it all on the work floor. While it’s easy to reach over and flip that hourglass so the process can be repeated, people don’t work the same way. Oh sure we all have some reserves to tap into, but those reserves are also finite. You just can’t keep expecting an inexhaustible amount of energy to be exerted of anyone. People are not perpetual motion machines.

Here’s where the hourglass analogy fails though. When looking at the hourglass, we can visually see how much sand is in each end. We can then at a glance tell how much is left for the upper half of the hourglass to give. People on the other hand; you and me, not so easy to tell at a glance how much we’re holding back and how much we’ve got left to give – if any.

When you go out to buy an hourglass, you’ll find big ones, small ones, and some timers that look like an hourglass only have enough sand to fall for a minute. Others are 3 minutes, 30 minutes etc. In other words, while we might mistakenly ask for an hourglass, we don’t actually want one where the sand will fall for an hour. We still might call it an hourglass. It’s really a sand timer or sand clock.

In your workplace, you can probably think of people who seem to have an abundance of energy. They are productive when they first arrive to work and they seem to pick up speed as the day goes on and when they leave at the end of the day, they still have a bounce in their step. Just as easily, you know the other types of people where you work who start off productive and in short order they need a break to recharge. They go in spurts, needing breaks or their lunch/dinner time to find the energy needed to complete their work and then they race out the door at the end of the day, entirely spent.  Different people, different sizes of hourglasses if you will.

Poor managers don’t get this though. They see some employees as if they were intentionally holding back, tipping their hourglass at a 45 degree angle so some sand remains lodged in the upper half and not giving it their all. Even when someone looks exhausted, the poor manager has a pep talk or cracks a whip expecting more; expecting the employee to jump up and be fully productive as if they just flipped that hourglass. But each employee is a varying size of sandglass. What some supervisors fail to understand is that by the time someone arrives at work, they’ve already spent some of the energy they had earlier. Not everyone arrives fresh, fully ready to go, and not everyone works at the same pace. Some have to work conservatively if they are to make it through the day. Unfortunately, some in management hold up the one employee as a shining example for the rest and compare each employee to the one with the seemingly endless energy. “I need you to be more like ________.”

Rest, sleep, drink, food and time; these are some of the typical things people need to re-energize. We can only give so much and then if we aren’t provided with ways to build our energy back up – or we fail to take measures ourselves to increase our stores of energy, we’re in trouble. Our bodies will take measures into their own hands and either illness or total exhaustion will shut us down. Our brains might be willing, but our bodies only have so much to give.

So we have to look out for ourselves and for each other. When you work for a good manager or supervisor, they get this too. Sure there are times when the old, “we all have to give more” speech rally’s us for a short-time. But when that short period evolves into our everyday work environment, don’t be surprised when staff start failing; calling in ill, taking time off more often, perhaps leaving for other jobs, or taking mental health leaves. The accumulative impact of this is the same workload spread even more upon those remaining. You can’t get more out of those already giving it their all.

Thoughts?

 

Rebuilding The Damaged Psyche


My business card says my job title is Employment Counsellor, but in truth, I spend a vast amount of my work life providing emotional support, helping others to see the good in themselves and doing everything I can to help people rebuild their fragile self-confidence. Yes, there’s so much more going on in the course of my day than employment counselling alone.

I’m fortunate to be in such a position actually and it comes with tremendous responsibility. When I think of all the people I’ve come into contact with through the course of my work, it’s more humbling than anything to realize just how lucky I am to have met so many wonderful people. And what makes it all the more remarkable is that our lives always intersect when they are at a low point; unemployed and financially dependent on social services support.

I tell you though, some of the stories I’ve been fortunate enough to have shared with me give me tremendous hope for many of them. You would be amazed to see and hear the resiliency in their voices; the determination to improve themselves and make better lives for their children, their hopes for a better future. To see the impoverished and only assess them by their financial health would be a mistake. They are first and foremost people, and they are deserving of respect, care, support and service with integrity just as any other person.

But here’s what I find tragic and regrettable. The vast majority of the unemployed people I come into contact with all share a damaged psyche. How they view themselves in the present and their prospects for the future is skewed because of how they’ve been treated in the past. Now sometimes the treatment they’ve experienced is clearly abhorrent; mistreated physically, sexually, financially by an abusing partner for example. However, I’ve also come to believe that far more people are held back, put down and damaged by less overt sources.

Just yesterday I was assisting a young woman as she crafted a targeted resume for a job she’s interested in. I noted in the choice of words she used during our conversation that she was fixated on her lack of paid employment as a barrier to getting an interview. I pointed out how some of the phrases she was using communicated a lack of confidence and doubt about her suitability for the job, and that in an interview, she’d be better off changing her language. I said I’d like to work on changing how she marketed herself but that first she’d have to truly believe in herself. She replied that I had my work cut out for me then because in College, they were all told their biggest liability was their lack of paid work experience and until they were hired, there was nothing they could do about that.

!

Isn’t it interesting to hear how this comment resonated so deeply with this one student? She told me that her lack of paid work was her biggest worry now that she was done school. So just to be clear, what she has going for her is: 1) just graduated with a diploma 2) she’s early twenties and can make a long commitment of service to an employer 3) she has 4 non-paid, positive experiences on her resume in her field, 4) she’s got the right aptitude for the position she’s going for and 5) she’s determined to succeed. And yet, with these and other positives to celebrate, she’s held up and hung up on that message from a trusted and respected Teacher that her lack of paid employment is this huge barrier.

I only have her version to comment on of course, but I would hope that trusted Teacher would have focused not on the lack of paid employment itself, but on strategies to circumnavigate the problem of a lack of paid employment. For her resume, I suggested we ditch the words, “co-op placement” entirely. While true, what I know to be the case is that not every employer values volunteer, co-op, internships and seasonal positions as much as they value paid employment. So instead of a heading, “Work Experience” which implies paid work, I always use, “Relevant Experience”. Under this heading, an applicant can put all their non-paid work right alongside any paid jobs; it is collectively then,  a summary of the positions held that are relevant to the job being applied to.

When we were done, I pointed out how we were still faithful to the truth; there were no lies on her resume, but the lack of paid work was now entirely concealed. What I saw in her was a smile, her shoulders dropped and relaxed from the tense, stress feeling she presented with initially, and she said, “I like it!” What was really happening was a small shift in her self-perception. She could defend this resume, she felt better about how she represented herself, and this sparked a boost in self-perception.

I don’t always win and I sure don’t know everything. I do know there’s more I don’t know that what I do know and this has me keen to learn more and keep discovering new approaches, new strategies and new ways to improve. What I do know with certainty however is that there are a lot of people walking around, appearing to function, ‘normally’ who are suffering with a damaged psyche. Let’s be careful to help not hinder, mind our words, mind our actions.

Happiness In Appreciating Small Things


If your workplace is a hectic, physically demanding or mentally exhausting place to work; if the volume of your workload has increased and you’re barely treading water, you might find that heading into work on Monday morning, you’re already living for Friday quitting time.

While weekends and days off are satisfying and something to look forward to for most, it’s not a good sign if you go into work just for the money, focused on getting out. This kind of mentality in the workplace can make it a toxic place to be if that attitude is spread among the majority. You could end up losing an appreciation for the work you do, think and talk poorly about your employer, your job, the environment and soon enough you become viewed as negative in general. If this happens, you might find fewer people want to hang out with you both at work and on their personal time; simply because most people would rather hang out with positive people.

Having said all this, you might be in agreement but wonder what you can do about it as there’s no way to change what you do for a living. The environment is intense, dusty, staff work in isolation or people bark to be heard over noisy machinery all day, etc. You might enjoy your job itself but just find nothing to look forward to except that weekend on the far horizon. Problem with this thinking is that if that’s all you look forward to in a day, even when the weekend is here, your thoughts of the upcoming return to work on Monday ruin your full enjoyment of Sundays.

One possible thing to try is to identify other things throughout the week that you look forward to and will enjoy. These can be things both at work and when you’re away from the job. I’m talking small things here; not major events. String together enough small things that you find pleasure, happiness or gratitude for in a day and your mood can shift slightly when they come to mind at work.

One small thing I personally look forward to each morning and have immense gratitude for is having a shower. It’s no simple feat from an engineering standpoint I suppose to get hot water readily available in every household in our community, but to me, it’s a simple thing I look forward to upon waking. Were my water to go cold or have to be shut off for even a day, I’d really come to appreciate what I’d lost even more and rather quick! It’s not that their long, but how I feel rejuvenated and invigorated gets me off to a great start each day.

I also look forward to the clothes I wear; that favourite pair of shoes, that shirt that usually draws a few compliments, maybe the colourful socks that I wear just often enough to be noticed and have a few laughs about.

Yesterday at work I was extremely focused at one point, working away on my computer and suddenly I thought of two things I was looking forward to once I got home. Those two activities each brought a physical smile to my face as I thought of them, and I could predict a pleasant evening ahead. What were they? Well, not everyone will share my view, but I looked forward to cutting the grass and watching my favourite football team play a game on television. Sure it’s only an exhibition game, but it was a first glimpse at the team after a long winter and early Spring.

You can view cutting the lawn as just another chore if you like, or you can view that same activity as one of the privileges of home ownership. I love the view of the backyard when the grass is freshly cut; the smell of the cut blades mixing with the lilac blossoms and everything at this time of year is lush and a mixture of intense greens. The tulips are in full blossom, the trees have their full canopy of leaves back, the hosta plants are healthy and spreading; it’s everything you strive for as an amateur gardener. It was so nice, I laid out supper on the back patio and it was just nice to sit back and take in the view.

Maybe your day gets a little brighter when you think of some facetime with a loved one far away; a grandson and daughter in my case, or perhaps a brother, mother, sister or father in yours.

Another thing I’ve come to appreciate and look forward to over many years of long commutes is the actual commute itself. Mine is an hour commute to work and another hour home. Being a mix of city and country driving, I realized a long time ago that I want to appreciate the changing scenery and the ride itself. The goal isn’t to drive fast and get to work or home as soon as possible, but rather sit back, take in the sights of rolling fields, rising suns and the odd wildlife here and there. Having a vehicle you enjoy driving might, as in my case, make the actual drive fun too.

My point is to appreciate the small, daily things that take up a lot of your time. Living consciously in the moment. having gratitude, looking forward to things might do for you what they do for me. Good for our mental health!

Woke Up Feeling Blah. Call In?


Whether you’re the Chief Executive Officer or working directly on the front line, one thing everybody experiences are those days when you wake up feeling like you’d rather call in and take the off. Hopefully those days are few and very far between, but for some they come more frequently than others. Oh let’s be honest here; for some they come way too frequently. The question is, what do you actually do? Get up, get going and go in or languish in bed, phone the sick line and take the day off? If you typically hit a snooze alarm and give yourself just an extra 10 minutes in sleepy land, it only means when you DO get up, you have to go from zero to super speed to make up the 10 minutes you’ve given yourself. Judge the trade-off for yourself.

Some employees are fortunate in that they work for organizations that provide sick days and mental health days; sometimes referred to as personal needs days. These personal needs days are really designed for medical appointments, the day you take off to see your child in a school event, or yes, you just need a break. These are few by nature; say two or three in a year.

It’s important to understand why you’re tempted to make that call in and take the day off of course. Is it a preference for staying home or is it a preference to avoid work on this one day? Not everyone who skips a day at work is actually intent on avoiding work; in fact some feel quite conflicted about not working when there’s nothing physically wrong to justify being off.

In addition to knowing why you’re thinking of taking the day off, know how often you actually do call in and take the day off unexpectedly. If you find you feel this way often, perhaps these feelings are symptomatic of some larger issue; you don’t like your job and should be looking at working elsewhere or perhaps even some growing mental health concern such as depression.

Whatever your personal reason, there’s bound to be some fallout. The work you’re expected to do is either done by others, or it’s mounting up and waiting for you upon your return. While it might be great to have others doing your work for you, there’s a cost to be paid if this happens too frequently in their opinion; they may come to doubt your reliability, be less sympathetic to your needs for time off, and all of this can cause tension in the workplace directed your way; most unfortunate of course.

The reasons you give the boss and others for being off fall into three categories; the truth, a lie or some version of both. For many, it just isn’t worth all the fallout for taking a day; the timesheets to fill out, the chat in the bosses office, having to call in and explain the absence in the first place, the looks from your co-workers when this absence seems to be a predictable thing.

Think seriously about why you feel this way in the first place as I suggested above. Is your inclination to stay home connected in some way with the weather? Is there some task at work you’re going out of your way to avoid? If you move around in the course of your job, are you feeling anxious about working with a particular person or feeling growing stress about where you have to go in the course of your upcoming day?

It may be that your feelings are directly connected to something at work. On the other hand, what you’re feeling may be more about what’s going on inside you and have nothing to do whatsoever with work. A genuine mental health issue such as Depression doesn’t have to have any direct connection with external factors such as work. If you find yourself just not able to get yourself up to take part in something you were really looking forward to, such as a family outing to the beach, this is a sign there’s no connection with avoiding work.

Mental health counselling, prescribed medications are two possible ways to address what’s going on so you can function better; but using Dr. Google to self-diagnose and self-medicating isn’t good practice. You might end up temporarily masking a symptom without actually addressing the root problem, and make things far worse in the long run.

For most of us, feeling sluggish wears off once we roll out of bed, have a shower, eat breakfast and get dressed. The commute in to work with some music or that first tea or coffee might be just the thing.

Some of us never call in and ‘take a day’ when there’s nothing wrong other than a desire to languish in bed a little longer. If you do take a day here and there, you’d be wise to restrict these to one or two a year. In other words, keep your absence to a bare minimum rather than establishing what might become a pattern of absences.

Look, if it’s the job, get that resume dusted off and updated. Start looking for work elsewhere. Most of the time, it’s not the work at all, just wanting a day to do whatever turns you on.

Let’s have a good day out there!

Job Advice: Less Computer Time


Sitting in front of a computer screen for days or weeks on end, searching job postings and applying for the occasional one with your standard resume is not the best way to go about looking for work. It’s not that looking for jobs online and applying for the odd one here and there isn’t a good activity, it’s just there’s so much more you could and should be doing to find work.

I’ve come to believe from the many conversations I’ve had with job seekers, that many do sit for hours each day, scanning their favourite job posting websites. There’s a certain irony that while they wonder why their job search isn’t successful, they keep returning to this daily routine, repeating the same behaviour that isn’t generating results. Not only is this hard to understand therefore, there are real dangers to be aware of if you’ve fallen into this pattern of behaviour.

One key danger is the solitary nature of the online job search. When it’s you and a computer screen for hours, day after day, week after week, your human interaction is restricted. About the best you can expect is a computer-generated, auto-reply from employers confirming receipt of your resume. Well, and there’s the also the computer-generated pop ups that suggest you upload your resume to the job search website so you can be notified of jobs matching your recent searches.

This lack of human interaction can prohibit the development of your people skills; and it’s these interpersonal skills that are so vitally important when you find yourself taking a phone call or being granted an interview. A prolonged job search when you only go about it 2 feet away from a computer monitor also means you have to be fairly sedentary. In other words, you’re not as physically active as is healthy. This is even more the case if, when you do set aside the computer, you pick up the remote and sit for a few more hours watching television,  troll the internet or playing a video game etc.

Eroding your people skills through lack of use can and often does increase your anxiety when you do get into situations requiring social skills. Your lack of practice might even develop quickly into panic attacks, and you’re left thinking, “When and how did I suddenly find just talking to people so nerve-wracking?”

One odd reality I’ve noticed is that today more people carry a cell phone with them than ever before. Yet, the functionality of the phone feature is not one they often use. The device is used far more for texting, using apps to interact with others by tapping on ‘like’ buttons or using handy pop up auto-generated prompts so you don’t even have to think about what to say anymore, just tap one of the word bites offered up.

Ask a job seeker to make a call to a potential employer, a reference, a contact in their network and often the reply is, “I don’t really like talking on the phone.” Unless pushed, many will do their best to put off phoning anyone but a friend. An email is far preferable than potentially talking to the same person live on the phone.

This skill of communicating effectively in a dialogue was originally thought of as being enhanced when our world shrunk with the wide-spread use of personal computers, cell phones. Some of the most prolific communicators on the web are in fact largely one-way communicators when you stop and realize much of their presence is in sending out blogs, posts and carefully edited articles. Their thousands of followers may comment and reply to comments by other followers, but real dialogue between the follower and the originator of the post is scant at best, and often non-existent.

Now to you. When did you last get out and go talk in person with someone in an effort to gather more information that would help you eventually land an interview or job? You know, dropping by a potential employer to pick up a full job description, a quarterly or annual report? When was the last time you introduced yourself to a stranger and initiated your pitch? If it’s been a while, does the prospect intimidate you? How then are you going to fare when you do land the interview you’ve been hoping for? My guess is that those dormant people skills are going to be rusty at best and you’ll wish (too late unfortunately), things went better than they did.

Pick up the phone and make some calls. What’s the worse that can happen? Cold calling is more than just phoning to see if someone is hiring. Talk with the people who have agreed to be your references. Tell them how you’re faring, and how you genuinely appreciate their support. Maybe ask if they have any leads, offer to buy them a beverage and catch up for 15 minutes during their work day.

Call someone who does what you want to do and ask for a 20 minute chat to better understand their role from the inside. Get advice on how to get in, ask them about their job and what they find interesting and rewarding. Get into a few workshops or networking events to mingle and practice conversing.

A lot of jobs are never even posted on the web – anywhere on the web. They have fewer applicants too because of it.