Locking Yourself Up

During your job search, you’re going to experience some highs and lows. You’ll do things that make you proud of yourself, even though on a big scale, they may be pretty small. For example, sitting alone at home in front of your computer, you type up your resume and throw in a load of laundry at the same time. Major accomplishment? Hardly,but if you’ve had several days of lounging around and not accomplishing anything at all over the holidays, you should look on getting your resume together as a big deal and congratulate yourself for doing it.

Now there are times when you may not be busy doing much of anything and your mind just won’t allow you a moment’s peace. Maybe it’s replaying over and over some scenario where you said or did something you now regret that led to your termination, or you didn’t volunteer for some project and the guy that did just got that big promotion you were gunning for and now you’re wondering what might have happened if you did.

To be honest with you, the past is well…the past. Playing the blame game with yourself is going to leave you stuck in neutral and spinning your tires getting nowhere fast. Oddly enough, some people actually allow and encourage these negative thoughts and feel they deserve to be ‘punished’ by their thoughts because they are a bad person and do bad things. Personally I think that’s nonsense.

It’s not that I’m insensitive or aren’t aware that people need to work through their issues at their own pace. I believe that people; all people, make errors in judgement from time to time, and those errors in judgement sometimes result in consequences that are more significant for some than others. So if you’ve made a poor decision in the past, recognize first that it is in fact, in the past! Your present situation, feelings and unemployment do not have to be only affected by what you have done, but can be influenced by what you NOW choose to do or not to do. Can you change the past? No. Can you change the present and influence the future? Yes. So what are you going to do about things?

What you do today and in the next few days, will have an impact on your future and the length and depth of the sorrow, depression and anxiety you feel right now. It may not be as straight forward as picking yourself up and dusting yourself off, but it does begin with you. Every person who achieved anything, no matter how great, started out making a single decision to do something. That first step – the very first step mind – may have been very, very small indeed. Oh sure we only know about the end result, and sometimes we get a brief speech by the person telling us how they got to where they are today. Way back in time however, they were probably faced with tough times, and the reason they ended up successful was a decision they made to act.

Now other people who do not accomplish great things, and struggle just to get by, well, they too make decisions. The decision some of them make is to do nothing for fear of making a bad decision. Realize however, that the decision to sit in limbo and not make a decision is in fact a decision itself. The big danger here is that on top of all the other problems they may have had, now they have a further problem which is called paralysis. Paralyzed by indecision, they lock themselves in a prison and fail to use the key they have in their own hands to unlock the prison door and step outside. This is a perplexing conundrum to those on the outside looking in. We know people have the ability and skill to free themselves, and yet there they sit.

Now let’s look at your present reality. You’re out of work or you’re underemployed. You know you aren’t happy with your unemployment or your present job because you feel you could be doing so much more. So far so good. Now I’d suggest you objectively inventory your skills, strengths, liabilities, problem-solving ability, interpersonal and communication abilities, assets and resources. Who do you know who believes in you. Set up a meeting with these people or this person. You need some building up my friend. When you don’t believe in yourself, put yourself in the hands of someone you genuinely trust and ask them to do something for you. Ask this person or these people, to tell you what they like in you, what strengths you have, your best qualities. Don’t be modest about this, and don’t discount anything they say. Don’t interrupt them, or deny what they say. L I S T E N .

If you are talking with more than one person, think about qualities and strengths you hear repeated. That’s a big clue. Write these things down – all of them and underline or circle anything said more than once. These are your biggest assets. When you’ve got this list written down, start thinking about the jobs you’ve had in the past and more importantly the jobs you might want in the future. How do the qualities you’ve listed get valued in the jobs you’ve had vs. the jobs you want? Maybe you’re not the problem at all, but your best qualities and attributes aren’t valued in the jobs you’ve held. Find a better fit, and you’ll excel, you’ll be happy, and you’ll be hired!

The hardest prison to break out of is not a physical walled in structure, nor lined with iron bars or bricks and mortar. The toughest, most secure prison in the world is the one built in your own imagination, and if you believe that, you must by default also believe that you can equally imagine the key, the unlocking, the stepping out, and then looking back from a distance to see how you had been held captive not by a jailer, but by yourself.