Keeping confident in the unknown time of the job hunt
The NeverEnding Story?
The weeks tick by and you’ve put in heaps of energy, you’ve almost made it to landing a new job, but not quite: pick self up, rinse, repeat. You find yourself placing a lot more value on horoscopes and inspirational quotes than usual. Give me a sign! When will it happen? When will I finally get a ‘yes’ for a job I am excited about?
“Stay positive, it’s just around the corner”, say well-meaning friends, with jobs. Well, from personal experience job hunting for several weeks, I’d re-frame that message a bit. You won’t always feel positive, but try to stay balanced overall. The corners to navigate, instead of being singular, may resemble something more like a dodecagon, (a 12-sided polygon, and not that friendly, herbivorous dinosaur character you had conjured up in your mind). Remember, (much to the dismay of your 80s self), even The NeverEnding Story came to an end (- Atreyu! Falkor!-) and your job hunt will, too.
Get busy, get amongst!
So obviously if you are full time job hunting a major part of your days and nights is taken up by scouring job search data bases, writing applications, and preparing for interviews, and that’s vital for your future. However, the tricky thing is, that if you don’t get the role it can feel like it was all for nothing, even if you made some key contacts and honed your hunting skills in the meantime. For this reason it can be really important to undertake some activities outside of the hunt which can help you maintain your confidence and sense of self-worth.
For my part, I organised a volunteer fundraiser for the Nepal Earthquake which involved lots of exercise and getting $800 for the cause. I’ve been writing a poetry blog which helps me to process my thoughts during this challenging time. Doing things like this give you something to feel good about, like you are making progress. You can even add some skills to your CV, such as online social media competency or community engagement.
Feeling apart rather than a part
It’s easy to feel like you are in a bit of a parallel universe when job hunting, one in which time goes by slowly, and the energy you put out is simply sucked into some black hole as yet undiscovered by NASA. Personally, I’ve found it hard to make decisions when my confidence levels are low: I can overanalyse hypothetical situations (often a waste of time), and I don’t trust my judgement as readily as usual. What helps here is being aware of the kind of situations that trigger these feelings and what you can do about it. Meeting a friend for coffee, going to a gym class, or going for a walk, even cleaning the bathroom: these are all things that might help clear your mind and make you feel a part of the world again.
You are your own worst judge
On a recent trip to the dental hygienist I was asked about whether I would return to work after the appointment. My initial reaction was to judge myself for not meeting up to her expectation of me as an assumedly employed person. Then I thought again, “actually I’m job hunting at the moment”, I replied. “Oh nice, well good luck”, she said, as though discussing the weather.
Remember that everyone has probably been unemployed at some stage, or at the least, through comparable challenging life periods. So actually, by underestimating yourself, you might well be misjudging others.
It’s not all lollipops and rainbows
“People forget that a picture ain’t made from just one color. Life ain’t all good or all bad. It’s full of everything”, George Dawson, author of ‘Life is So Good’.
Yes it’s tricky, yes it can be really tough. Job hunting is another phase of life and if you can somehow learn to smile in the dark, even if just sometimes, you’ll develop resilience, a balanced perspective, and you may help inspire others. You’ll be in a great position for when you finally round the 12th corner of the dodecagon (to find a smiling, herbivorous dinosaur), and get that long-awaited ‘Yes, we’d like to offer you the role’.
Then a new challenge begins….
Like this post? You might also like Throwing in the Towel: The trials and tribulations of job hunting land and Learning from Rejection: finding out why you didn’t get the job
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