Job Search Got You Down? Here’s How to Keep Your Head Up
Getting started in a new career can be tough. Job searching often means a lot of grunt work wading through lists of job postings and filling out applications, periods of waiting that seem much too long, and for most people, lots of rejection letters on their way to finding that perfect employment opportunity. In today’s market, it takes a lot of work to find work.
All sorts of people go through the process of trying to move into a better career, for all sorts of reasons. In this position are recent college graduates, looking to begin their career so they can move out or their parents’ homes and live independently. There are also people who are looking for a more fulfilling career, who are dissatisfied with their current job and want something more out of their work-life. Among the job-hunters are those who want to get married or have children, and feel that their current job doesn’t offer the long-term security or financial support they will need. No matter what your background, the job-hunting period is one of uncertainty for almost everyone. You may feel that your life is in a kind of limbo – you don’t want to make any major decision because so much depends on if you find a new job, and what it is, and where it is located. Life in general gets put on hold, and you may find yourself just waiting…
Unfortunately, the waiting often lasts longer than people anticipate. When moving into a new career, it can and often does take months for the right opportunity to come along. Many people are unprepared for this length of time, and they find that everything in their lives is now dependent on the long, unpredictable process of job hunt. It can be a difficult time for anyone, and because you feel that so much is riding on your ability to get a job, your self-esteem may suffer. You might feel frustrated when the process takes longer than expected. You may feel critical, and blame yourself for not finding a job. You may feel depressed or listless. However, you don’t have to. Yes, it means a lot to get a new, satisfying career, but remember that what you do for a living does not, and should not, define you as a person. Even when you are between jobs it is important to take care of yourself mind, body, and spirit. By using positive thinking, listening to your own spiritual and emotional needs, and knowing how to keep the rest of your life active and on track, you can make it through the slumps of the job-hunt process.
TEN STEPS TO KEEPING YOUR COOL - job hunt slump
Waiting on someone to respond to your application can make you feel like you have no control over where your professional life goes, but that is not true. There is always something you can do to affect your life, because even in a demanding situation you can always choose how you will react – there are things you can do so that looking for a new career doesn’t get you down. Below are ten steps to take as you move through your job-hunt to keep you relaxed, happy, and alert. Remember: no matter what is going on in your life, you always have control over yourself.
1. Be Prepared - job hunt slump
Understand that deciding to go for a new career is a large undertaking, and realize that this will take some time. Try not to give yourself time limits – if you feel you have to use them, setting a timeline of one year for your new professional goals is not unreasonable. Accept that you probably won’t get the first job you apply for, and that there will be some rejection involved. It doesn’t mean anything negative about you as a person, it’s just the nature of the process.
2. Have A Day Job - job hunt slump
The old adage says that it is much easier to find a job if you already have a job. Whether this is true or not, having a day job is good for more than just the source of income. Having a steady job, even if you think it is menial, will make you less likely to criticize yourself during your career search. In addition, working will give your life a sense of order and routine which are comfortable in these kinds of uncertain periods. Last but not least, it will give you something to do other than worry.
3. Be Okay Where You Are - job hunt slump
Obviously, you want to move onward and upward – otherwise you wouldn’t be job hunting – but it is important to be okay with being where you are. When you feel down about career-hunting, it’s easy to justify it by saying “Oh, I’ll feel better once I find a job,” but if you take this attitude you’re condemning yourself to several months of misery. Everyone moves at their own pace, and you’ve survived so far without that job. You need to respect yourself and your worth as a person enough to know that there is nothing wrong with whatever you are doing to get by in the meantime.
4. Separate Needs And Wants - job hunt slump
This is a big one, because the tendency is to say things like “I need a new job, because I need the money, and I need to move into a new place.” These things are wants, regardless of how strong that want is. You need food, and a place to sleep, and social interaction. Remember that a need is something you can’t live without, and you can certainly live for a few months without that dream job. By keep things in perspective, you won’t put so much weight on the resolution of your job hunt, and you will have a much easier time having a normal, day-to-day existence.
5. Live Your Life - job hunt slump
Forget about the job thing for a while – get out and do something! Go for a job, or a bike ride, and enjoy the fresh air. Go see a movie, or get some ice cream. Spend time with friends and family. Life doesn’t stop just because you’re looking for a job, and you don’t want to let a few months of good, happy living just pass you by because you could only think about job hunting. Get out of the house, relieve some stress, and do the things that make you happy.
6. Don’t Define Yourself By Your Occupation - job hunt slump
Remember that who you are is much more than just what you do for a living. If you let your occupation determine your self-worth, then there are going to be many times in your life when you don’t feel good about yourself, and that’s not the way it should be. Don’t let your job satisfaction determine your level of self-satisfaction – you are worth more than any job.
7. Don’t Obsess - job hunt slump
During this period, you may find yourself obsessively checking job websites, your email accounts, and your voicemail for new jobs opening up or responses from the old ones. Don’t do this to yourself. It doesn’t make things happen any faster, and in the meantime it takes you away from the rest of your life. You have to be able to send out a resume and let it go, or you’ll spend all your time worried and stressed about what’s going on with every application you’ve sent out. Mail it, and forget it.
8. Concentrate On The Good Things - job hunt slump
Your family? Your friends? Your spouse? Your health? What in your life makes you happy? While career searching, instead of focusing on that job you don’t have, focus on all the good things you do have. This will help you keep a positive outlook, and make you much less susceptible to stress and negative emotions.
9. Remember: You Can’t Force It - job hunt slump
Worrying, stressing, moping, obsessing, getting angry, and getting self-critical – none of these will make your job hunt go any smoother, or any faster. You can’t force that dream job to show up on your door, and trying will only cause you stress, unhappiness and wasted effort. You can prepare a great resume and cover letter, you can find out all about a good, and you can be meticulous about the application process, but beyond a certain point there is simply nothing you can do to get a job to come to you faster. Instead, just do your best, and let things happen in their own time. You’ll find that job when you find it, and until then it’s better to pay attention to the rest of your life.
10. One Day At A Time - job hunt slump
This is perhaps the most important part. Don’t spend all your time worrying about the future, guessing about the future, and making plans like, “when I get that job, then…” Center your life in the here and now. There are things that you are doing here, today, things like going to your job, going to school, spending time with your family, and hanging out with your friends, and these things deserve your full attention. Don’t spend today trying to live your tomorrows. Take a deep breath, let all that stress about the future go, and take it one day at a time.
KEEP AT IT - job hunt sucess
Job hunting can be tough, but you always have the power to choose how you deal with a tough situation. By letting your job-hunt become the focus of your life, you are setting yourself up to be angry, depressed, and generally unhappy – you need to remember that your happiness, and your well-being, is more important than any job. Use these ten steps to stay emotionally healthy and balanced during this phase of your life. Eventually you’re going to find that dream job. Until then, don’t let the job hunt get you down.