It’s difficult to get excited about a new job when you’re out of work, been looking for a long time, the rent or mortgage is due and people are counting on you. Probably the LAST thing you feel like doing is putting yourself out there to get a new job.
I want to offer you some research-based tips that will allow you to get your head in the game and make some positive moves in the right direction. It’s not uncommon to feel overwhelmed or even depressed after a layoff or when you are unemployed. These tips will energize and convince you to do the things you need to do to make the necessary changes in your career.
I know, I almost cringe too when I hear this because EVERYONE is saying that we need to do this, but the truth is IT WORKS. Ok- so instead of just reading this and thinking, “I need to be more grateful,” put a little system into practice.
Let’s talk some micro-movements you can implement to make this gratitude thing work for you. First, add “notebook” to your grocery list and then the next time you are at the supermarket, pickup a notebook in the school section of the store. Once you get home, write “gratitude” on the cover in a Sharpie and set it anywhere you are likely to write something in it. For most people that’s the table next to their bed or on your desk.
Make a habit to start each day, end each day or some other time of day and write down anything – yes, anything – you can be grateful for.
What are the things you take for granted? Great hair day? Write it down. Didn’t get in a car accident today? Terrific. Explore all of your blessings both the seen and unseen. Draw your awareness to the beauty all around you and give thanks for it.
It’s Not About Being Positive
So when we are down and out, sometimes we think we need to just power through and put on a happy face. Nope. Your brain doesn’t work that way. You’re actually too smart to think your way through this. Sorry Norman Vincent Peale, the power of positive thinking isn’t going to do us any good.
Instead, acknowledge to yourself what you are going through. That might sound something like, “I’m really having a hard time right now looking for work.” or “I’m feeling discouraged by all the applications I’ve submitted and haven’t gotten responses to.” That bit of truth you speak to yourself allows you mind to be receptive to what’s coming next.
Now, add something a little positive to the end of those statements like, “but I am not going to give up and something is bound to open up if I keep working at it” or “I know I can really make a positive impact for an organization when I get the chance.” These little messages of positivity at the end of will help you to turn around your current state of mind into feeling more empowered and not a victim of your current situation.
Our blog on positive self-talk will definitely help with this one.
Making lists, planning out strategies or mulling over what you need to do is NOT going to help. It might make you feel better in the short-run, but eventually you will get mad at yourself for not making progress.
James Clear talks about this in his book Atomic Habits. He says we need to distinguish “motion” from “action”. Motion is planning and plotting but it isn’t the same as action, which is doing and moving. Motion brings a temporary fix, but action permanently rewires us. Motion is better than negativity and victim thinking, but action is where the juice is.
In order to get into action, you need to have something to jump start you to pick up that phone, connect with people on-line, send in that resume or email that company. The best advice I have heard and give to my clients is something I borrowed from Jen Sincero in her book, You are a Badass.
She says to do one scary thing a day.
That’s it! Just one. Might be helpful to have a list of scary things to do first (motion) but then move into doing just one a day (action). You can do that. Then add two. Then three.
If we are not moving forward, there is usually something that is blocking us. What is it for you? Take some time and identify your roadblocks. Are you not feeling great about your resume? Get it fixed. Even if you are short on funds, there are great books out there to help you (my personal favorite is ‘Resumes for Dummies’ by Laura DiCarlo). If you aren’t the type to buy a book and figure out what to do, then search your local county to see if there are any workforce services in your area.
Other obstacles that are common are distractions like TV, internet or other unproductive habits. Whether your obstacle is yourself or procrastination, identify what is in your way and remove it.
Once you’ve removed your obstacle, get a plan to move forward. Begin to schedule time to work on your job search and create a routine for yourself to address it everyday. You may need to hire a career coach to help with this piece.
Yes, you will need some accountability to help you move forward. I don’t recommend using a spouse or parent, but how about teaming with a friend who is in the same situation? Is there a way you can meet weekly and set goals and check in during the week?
Again, see if you can get some help from your local workforce or hire a career coach who can help hold you accountable. Sometimes when we invest money in ourselves and we have a little skin in the game, we are more likely to move forward. Make this investment in yourself. You will show up more fully to your job search if you do.
Surround Yourself with Supportive People
You need to have people around you who believe in you; people who know you may be in a rough patch at the current moment, but soon will be turning the corner. We need to avoid naggers, criticizers, patronizers, motherers – all of these types just bring us down.
Supportive people will listen, but not let you drone on too long. Supportive people know what is special about you when you ask them and even when you don’t. Supportive people don’t offer unsolicited advice and don’t try to control you.
Identify the unsupportive people in your life. If it is someone you interact with on a daily or weekly basis, you may need to have the dreaded talk that no one wants to have. I promise you though, talking to them and setting boundaries is going to add to your confidence and help you feel more in control in addition to quieting that critical voice coming at you.
If you aren’t sure what to say, try something like, “I really appreciate all you have done for me over the past few months with trying to help me. I have a new game plan right now and I will let you know when I need help or advice.”
For every person you redirect or eliminate, replace them with contact with your positive forces. Schedule regular calls with your unofficial cheerleaders. Mostly, take time to care for yourself- body, mind and spirit.
Getting into the right frame of mind is critical to landing your next job. Taking these steps will boost your confidence which will inevitably help you in your job search. Talk to people, try to enjoy this time, self-care and you will be on your way to getting your foot in the door, nailing the interview and landing the job.
Best of luck! If we can help in anyway, contact us at Careerfulness.com.