April 26, 2016
Don’t you hate those days when, despite your diligent efforts, your job search doesn’t advance one iota–no emails, no phone calls, no news. Finding ourselves in the role of “seeker” is always humbling, even when we are angling to find something as commonplace as missing keys. When our aim is secure employment, a pursuit fundamental to our sense of self and security, it’s not surprising that we combat feelings of stress and frustration as we search.
I remember, during an especially long job search, having high energy days where I was able to muster up a zen-like attitude about my quest. Then there were those other days when I felt exhausted by the emotional gymnastics the hunt required and I lapsed into a feeling of hopelessness.
It’s important to recognize that looking for a job puts seekers in kind of pre-transition limbo. Existing in this state is hard. You need to exercise good self care, and you need emotional support. While there are measures you can take to search as strategically and efficiently as possible, there are also many factors that you can’t control. It’s difficult to have a pressing need that you can’t simply sit down and fix. Despite your best efforts, there is only so much that you can do to advance from this limbo state. I know it’s difficult, but you have to make your peace with that.
You don’t get to shape this timeline. Your challenge now is to be patient, optimistic and creative as you wait. This can be hard to do if you are stuck in a job you hate, are nervously trying to get yourself back into the workforce or are aching to get your foot in the door. Still, while you may not be able to change the big picture right away, there are other factors that you can alter to make yourself more comfortable while you search and to take your eyes off watching that pot. The cliche holds true that it only seems to boil when you turn attention away.
Make Self-Care a Priority
You are in a time of transition, which may make it difficult to find your emotional balance. Take time to address this. If you have a personal or professional mentor, this would be a good time to connect. This is also an important season in your life to be journaling, exercising, praying, meditating. Do whatever keeps you centered to avoid wild emotional fluctuations. Those are hard on your body and mind.
Cover your Bases Search-wise
Be thorough and diligent about your search. Fully embrace your role as a seeker, and break the project down into small pieces. One week, for example, work on self-branding. The following week, create a personal website. Become a student of the search so that you know that you are doing everything in your power to get the job you want.
Many professionals are taking on side jobs and exploring the gig economy to make extra money. Why not give it a shot while you search for your next day job? Between freelancing, consulting, contract work or driving and deliver jobs, there are a lot of options to explore while you search.
Zora Neale Hurston wrote: “There are years that ask questions and years that answer.” It’s hard to find ourselves knee-deep in an asking year. Growth hurts, but it also leads us to the selves we are meant to be. Good luck in your search.