Job Search Stress

deer

You don’t know what the future will bring. You don’t know if you will be able to find a job that fits your skill set. You don’t know who, if anyone, is going to hire you because you’re too paralyzed to actually apply for jobs. Your resume sucks. You haven’t quite figured out the organization’s complicated application process. Or maybe you are just too overwhelmed by the many places to look for jobs that you don’t look at all. You know you’re good, but are you good enough?

You are stressed, dear jobseeker.  What’s more, you need to do something about all these issues if you want to move forward professionally.

Right now, you’re clearly standing in your own way.  You have the definitive deer in the headlight look and it’s not pretty.

How can you get past the blinding light and avoid being professional roadkill?

Let me count three simple ways for you.

1.  Worst case it. Since you are already holding steady at inaction, why don’t you go ahead and walk over to the dark side of negativity? Assume you don’t find a job that matches your skill set. You don’t apply for any jobs. You don’t re-evaluate your resume in order to enhance its effectiveness. You don’t make any attempt to understand the application processes in place or figure out where to actually look for the available and potential jobs. You settle for mediocrity or worse, self-imposed poverty.

There. Feel better? Both your life and your career suck.

You can’t pay your bills. Your kids will never go to college and your significant other will leave you for someone else who actually has their act together. Your dog will run away.

Is this where you want to be? Are you truly happy existing in this murky shadow land without your less than loyal supporters?

Of course not; however, now that you’ve examined the worst case scenario, you are feel to reject it. Things, it would appear, may not be as bad as they could be, right? Or are they? Let’s find out.

2. Assess your status quo. Knowing that you don’t want to be in THAT place, let’s now take a closer look at where you really are. Do you have the safety net of employment, for better or worse? Or are you income-less, soon to be destitute? Whatever the reality of your situation, define it. Look at it. Accept that, for the moment, you are one with it. Figure out how much longer you can reasonably maintain a comfortable status quo financially, spiritually and mentally.  That will help you determine how hard and fast you implement the next step.

3. Take calculated action. In order to change (i.e. improve your sorry lot in life), you have to do something different than what you’ve been doing. It sounds simple enough but we all know that change can be a bitch. Accept it. Make the bitch your best friend and start a list of the changes you can realistically make.

Here are some suggestions:

Revise your resume.

Identify the best sources of employment in the area you are targeting.

Begin to research employers.

Discreetly, if need be, network with your friends, family and co-workers.

Apply for at least one new job a day.

Keep track of who you talked to you.

Follow up on your actions.

If your skills aren’t marketable enough, learn some new ones.

Join and participate in a professional organization.

Drive home  a different way. Seriously.  Sometimes just doing one little thing differently gives you the motivation and momentum to do one more thing differently.

 

 

 

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The 15 Minute Happiness Challenge

SONY DSCI get it. You’re busy. You have a stressful job, a high maintenance family, bills to pay and community obligations to meet. You’re just a popular person. It happens.

You’re so busy, however, taking care of everyone else’s needs, dramas and dreams that you neglect your own. Am I right?  Admit it. You know I very well could be painting a perfect picture of you.

So what’s a busy person to do in this case?

Go through life being everyone else’s hero? Maybe. There’s nothing wrong with being a hero, after all. Any Mom or firefighter can tell you that. There are rewarding moments under all those flames.

Or maybe as we’re going through life being everyone else’s hero, we should each try being our own hero, too. We can start small, say with a mere 15 minutes a day. I’m game if you are.

Here is the challenge if you’re ready to try it:

Give yourself at least 15 minutes a day  to nourish your own dreams.

In that 15 minutes or more a day if you can pull it off, devote all of your thought processes and energy inward. Forget your boss, your teenager, your mortgage payment and the cupcakes you promised to make for the PTA fundraiser.

Start making your happiness, however you define it, a priority.

Do you want to be a bestselling author? Spend your 15 minutes writing or outlining  your book.

Do you want to one day climb Mount Everest? Spend your 15 minutes creating a packing list or searching for your sherpa online. Maybe do a pushup or two with an oxygen mask on while you’re at it.

Do you dream of being your own boss or getting  new boss? Start drafting a plan of attack or revise your resume.

Do you want to do absolutely nothing and revel in the solitude? Go for it. Close the door. Turn off your cell phone. Assume your favorite mediation position and chillax.

Fifteen minutes a day is not a huge time commitment but it can lead to great things.

Accept the 15 Minutes Happiness Challenge. You’re worth it.

 

 

 

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The Land of Enough is Enough

oxygen-mask

You used to love your job. Every day was filled with a new challenge. You were flying high on the wings of your career and the sky was the limit, or so it seemed.

Somewhere along the way, however, the cabin pressure in the organization drastically changed and along with it your attitude.

Now, you don’t like getting up and going to work every day.  The people you work with annoy you more than they should. You’re not challenged with the everyday business that monopolizes your existence or you simply stopped caring about it.

In short, the passion is gone and the paycheck is the only thing you really look forward to anymore.

You are entering the airspace of the Land of Enough is Enough.

It’s not uncommon to get fed up with your job, no matter how much you may love it deep down inside of your heart. We’re only human, after all. When the occasional petty annoyance at work intensifies and becomes the norm, however, it may be a sign that it’s time for you to move on professionally.

In the event of professional decompression, reach for your own oxygen mask. It will not automatically appear in front of you.

To start the flow of oxygen, update your resume. Place your resume firmly in the hands of new potential employers and breathe normally.

Secure your intentions to leave your present organization in your mind but do not share that information with with your coworkers or supervisor at this time.

Although your new job may not quickly materialize, the simple fact that you are taking positive steps to move forward and continue your professional survival will increase the flow of oxygen to your brain and quite possibly to your soul.

If you are job searching among those who exhibit child-like behavior, take care of your own  professional needs before you attend to theirs.

Stay the course until you reach your new professional destination, refreshed and ready to soar to even greater heights.

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I can see clearly now…

window

….that I’ve washed the windows in the house. On New Year’s Day. In a country where you’re not supposed to do housework on holidays. Color me a rebel. I had to do it because they were so dirty. Surely my German neighbors will understand. They’ll probably even appreciate it.

Back when I made housework a priority, I wasn’t such a rebel. The windows stayed fairly clean, sans teenager hand angels and dog nose prints. I had time. Lots of it. These days, not so much. Life has gotten busier and when that happens, some things that once held a higher spot on the to do list fall to the wayside. It happens.

Not today.

It’s the first day of a brand new year. A perfect day to refocus one’s vision. So go ahead. Swirl a sponge in a bucket filled with one part dishwasher soap, four parts glass cleaner and a blast or two of steamy hot water to keep your hands toasty on a frosty morning.  Take the hand plunge and begin to scrub away the layers of dirt that have been clouding your view for far too long.

You can do this literally or figuratively. Or both.

It’s a new year and the possibilities are endless if you have the clarity to see them and the courage to go after them.

Happy New Year to you and yours.

May the windows in your life allow you to see clearly now, too.

new year

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It’s Not the Bitchy Season

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It’s easy to focus on the things that get on your nerves. Traffic. Long lines at Starbucks. Too many unchecked “to do” items on your holiday shopping list. The irritating co-worker or neighbor who drives you insane.

That list could go on forever. On some days, it seems to do just that.

That list, however, should be tossed for two points into the nearest trash can. Or shredded into the finest of crosscut pieces, burned beyond any hope of recognition, or offered up as a last-ditch suck-up sacrifice to the long-suffering gods of all that is joyous and good.

It’s not the season to be bitchy. It’s the season to be thankful.  Repeat it until you believe it and re-focus your thoughts. See the good in all the bad that shows up on your list.

You’re stuck in traffic because you’re either going to or coming from a job.

You have someplace to call your home, be it ever so humble or not.

You can afford to toss a ten spot on that venti white mocha coffee and the to die for blueberry muffin. (Your hips may not be able to afford it, but we’ll save that weighty matter for another day).

The simple fact that you have a holiday list to begin with suggests you have others in your life whom you care about and who presumably care about you, too.

The irritating co-worker or neighbor gives you the opportunity to be a better person.

It’s easy to focus on the things that get on your nerves. It’s better to get over them.

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Surviving A Toxic Workplace

Employee-wearing-gas-mask

The toxic workplace.

If you’re lucky, you’ve never had to work in one. If you’re not so lucky, then you understand how dysfunctional it can be and how challenging it can be to survive working in one.

At first glance, the toxic work place may look like any other office. People appear to be hard at work, doing whatever it is that they do for whatever reasons drive them. If you spend any amount of time in or around a truly dysfunctional organization, however, you eventually begin to notice the fault lines.

Left alone without any attention given to them, those barely visible cracks begin to widen until one day what was a hairline fracture has expanded into a replica of the Grand Canyon.  Unlike the real Grand Canyon, this one just ain’t pretty. Working it in day and day out isn’t healthy for you, either.

How can you survive a toxic workplace without becoming infected by the stupidity and narrow-mindedness that surrounds you?

Here are some ideas:

  • Be aware of its existence. You’ll need to know what’s really going in order to protect your own professional well-being.  Identify the sources of discontent and make sure you are not unwittingly adding to the dysfunctional dynamic.
  • Talk to someone about it. You shouldn’t have to endure the madness as a solo act. Maybe that someone is your supervisor, a trusted colleague, an outside mediator or your significant other. Sharing the insanity will be good for your blood pressure, too.
  • Drive on despite it. You know there are problems but you still have a job to do. Do it. Try to avoid the drama and those who seem to enjoy a starring role it in.
  • Watch your back. You don’t like to think that there is a target on it, but you could be wrong. Your innocence in the situation doesn’t guarantee your survival. Nice guys are sometimes also known as collateral damage.
  • Plan your exit strategy. Consider whether or not you want to be associated with a toxic organization in the first place. If you ultimately decide that you don’t want to spend so many hours per day in such an environment, start looking for your next job while you have the benefit of a paycheck now.

Whatever you do, be sure to take care of yourself mentally, emotionally and physically. Exposure to toxicity in the workplace can be draining personally and professionally. While you are trying to sort things out for yourself:

  • Focus on the good that you see and that you do. You can’t change the behavior of other people especially if they don’t want to change. Ironically, some individuals are unhappy and choose to stay that way. Just think of them as the professional cockroaches among us. They will survive long after others have left the building.
  • Avoid taking sides with any warring parties.
  • Examine your own behavior. Make sure you’re not inadvertently adding fuel to the growing fire.  Not everyone sees things the same way. Maybe something you are innocently doing is causing angst with others.
  • Update your resume. It sounds like you’re going to eventually need it.

If you have any experience with toxic workplaces or tips you can share for surviving one, please add a comment and share your wisdom.

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Job Action Day 2013

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The first Monday in November. Remember that. That is when Job Action Day (http://www.jobactionday.com/) occurs annually and this year that date is November 4th.

So, what is Job Action Day (aka #JAD13 on Twitter) and why should you care?

Let me enlighten you.

Job Action Day is THE day when job search experts from around the globe join together virtually to offer you, dear job seeker or not, expert advice, tools and solutions.

Each year there is specific theme. While anyone in the workforce or wanting to be in it can surely benefit from this event, this year’s primary focus will be on empowering veterans and former military transitioning to civilian jobs and careers.

You can thank QuintCareers.com, the web’s leading career site, for developing Job Action Day. Since 2008, savvy followers have been reaping the benefits of the event and learning from the impressive list of experts who have willingly joined forces for the greater professional good of you.

To learn more about this year’s event, visit Job Action Day 2013.

For a taste of years past, visit past Job Action Day events.

So, go ahead. Be nice to yourself and your career. Connect, network and learn.

#JAD13 on Monday, November 4, 2013.

Open yourself up to new ideas, solutions and strategies that can help you to reach your career goals.

I’ll be there and I hope to chat with you!

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