Posts Tagged ‘motivation’

1.   It’s a good way to network, which is a much more effective job search strategy than staring at the computer screen for eight hours a day and indiscriminately spewing your resume out into the Lost Dimension of Job Seeker Infinity.

2.   Oprah’s history anyway.

3.   You’ll actually get some valuable info about what’s going on in your field of interest, and won’t have to keep listening to your whiny frenemies who keep saying, “There’s nothing out there.”

4.   You can officially slap the aforementioned frenemies upside the head for being negative.

5.   You’ve been spending too much time on the couch in your bathrobe, and you’re starting to smell.

6.   You’ll get info on what skills you need to be competitive, so you can emphasize those skills in your resume and cover letters, and/or brush up on the ones you’re shaky on.

7.   It’ll keep you in the game. ‘Cuz once you’re out, that fence is hard to climb over, and you don’t want to get your doinker caught in those wires on top.

8.   You’ll be interacting with actual humans.

9.   It’ll keep your confidence up, and give all those “talents I have to offer” thoughts long-term storage space in your head.

10.   You can actually get real live smokin’ job leads that way.

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You (hopefully) know a lot of what to do when you and your last job have parted ways. Network, volunteer, join groups, do a targeted search, blah blah blah. Here are some things NOT to do when you’re not working:

  • Stay in bed (alone) until 2:00 p.m. If you’re not alone, then by all means go for it. Well, maybe not every day. You wouldn’t have enough energy left to do a job search. But staying in bed half the day alone is kinda like drinking alone – it’s more depressing and dysfunctional than fun. You don’t have to get up at six a.m. if you’re not a morning person and you don’t have any early appointments that day, but before 10:00 is probably a good idea (can you guess I’m not a morning person??).
  • Watch TV in the middle of the day. It may be tempting to catch up on Jerry Springer and see whose life sucks more than yours, but that’s not a habit you want to get into.
  • Spend hours looking at online job boards and applying for listed job openings. Yes, it’s easy (well, relatively speaking). Yes, it makes you feel like you’re accomplishing something when you actually apply for jobs that are listed. But you know where that usually gets you, don’t you? That’s right, you’ll be sucked into the Job Seeker Vortex of the Apocalypse. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
  • Eat all day. I don’t think I need to elaborate on that one.
  • Spend a lot of time rearranging your underwear drawer. You may think, “Oh good, now I have time to do all the pesky household stuff I never have time for.” By all means, clean the house and use the opportunity to catch up on some of that other stuff, but don’t use it to avoid job search activities. If you’re spending more time alphabetizing your toiletries than doing job search stuff, you’re in trouble.
  • Staying up late every night. This goes along with the first one, of course, cuz if you’re out drinking or just up watching Nick at Nite, it’ll be hard to get up at a reasonable time. I fell into this trap when I wasn’t working – at one point, I was going to bed at 3  a.m. and getting up at 1:00 in the afternoon. Needless to say, I didn’t get a hell of a lot done.
  • Spend most of your time hanging out with friends. I don’t mean you shouldn’t see your friends, because they’re very important. But don’t go to a Hitchcock film in the middle of the day with your buddy and call it networking.
  • Spend hours on one cover letter. Maybe the first one for a particular type of job may take longer, and you always want to target your cover letters and take time to make them as likely as possible to elicit responses (and of course proofread!), but there is such a thing as going overboard. Mildly obsessive is okay, pathological is not.
  • Spend hours every day fooling around with your resume. Yes, it’s important to tailor it to the job you’re targeting, and it always is a work in progress to a certain point, but again you can take it too far. Don’t pick at it like a scab ’til it bleeds all over your laptop.
  • Go to one networking group event after another that has absolutely nothing to do with you. I must have said this before, but I’ll say it again – although networking is the most important way to spend your job-search time, and it’s good to open up to new interests, it doesn’t pay to compulsively and gratuitously attend events on topics you could care less about. If you’re into God, guns and ammo, don’t join the Society For Atheist Tree-Huggers.

Staying positive and motivated can be tough when you’re counting the days ’til your next unemployment check. It’s scary and stressful, and generally sucks. Here are some suggestions to make it suck less:

  • Hang around people who have jobs. This may sound easier than it is in the current job market, since everyone and their Great-Grandma Mabel has been laid off, but contrary to popular belief there are actually still people who are working. You may wonder why the hell this will help you. There are 2 reasons. First, someone who is working is more likely to be around other people who are also working, and possibly have job leads. Second, though it’s not a bad thing to occasionally vent your frustration, you don’t want to wallow in it for too long, which is easy to do with your fellow unemployees (yes, I know it’s not a word. So sue me.). That doesn’t mean you should just diss your unemployed friends, or that job search groups aren’t helpful. They are, as long as they don’t become bitch-and-snivel sessions. Which brings me to my next point.
  • Banish people from your life who make you feel like crap. This is a good rule of thumb in general, but we’ll focus on how it relates to your job search. Assholes who bring you down, tell you you’ll never get a job, you can’t do this or that, discourage you, generally concentrate on the negative and tell you the roof will cave in are not people to hang with. Unless they’re roofers who actually know that, in fact, your roof will cave in, in which case you probably want to get the hell out of the house.
  • Do stuff. Volunteer, take a part-time job, join groups that relate to something you’re interested in. You’ll be less likely to lie around depressed, watching One Life to Live and Andy Griffith reruns. You’ll also get your social fix, have the chance to network and possibly find job leads, have something constructive to put on your resume for your unemployed time besides fixing the leaky faucet in the bathroom, keep your skills up, and maybe gain new skills that’ll help you get a job.
  • Do good stuff for yourself. Exercise. Gets those endorphins going, helps you be healthy and feel good. Take a bath (no, not because you stink. Well, maybe you do, but how would I know that?). It’s a free way to relax and pamper yourself. You can even indulge in scents and bubbles — even if you’re a guy (of course if you are, I’d keep it to myself if I were you). Eat healthy, but give yourself a treat once in awhile. Do deep breathing or meditation or whatever you’re into to relax.
  • Do whatever’s worked in the past that makes you feel better and stay motivated. You would know that better than me. Refrain from doing the stuff that hasn’t worked or made you feel worse, since that would be stupid.

There is a time and place for whining. Like if you’re the siren on the roof of an ambulance when it’s rushing to the hospital with some shmuck who just got bonked on the head with one of those blue thingys that occasionally fall out of airplane toilets.

The time and place for whining is not in a job interview.  It’s not when you’re networking with people who may possibly know someone who knows someone who may provide a job lead or some helpful information. It’s not at your cousin’s 4th of July barbecue when your Aunt Melody with the hairy armpits asks you how your job search is going. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that there are few situations in which whining isn’t frowned on, and job search whining is one of the worst.

What exactly constitutes job search whining? Well, I’ll tell you. Here are some of the most whiny job search phrases, guaranteed to make someone want to smack you:

  • There are no jobs out there for me.
  • No one will hire me – I’m too old.
  • No one will hire me – I’m too young.
  • Nobody’s hiring.
  • You have to know someone to get a job – it’s not fair.

Now, I know the job market is still tight, though it is starting to come back.  And yes, age discrimination does exist, and employers want people who have experience. And “knowing someone,” otherwise known as networking, is more likely to work as a job search strategy than just spitting resumes indiscriminately out into the black void. Even during a recession, though, there are available jobs; people do get hired every day. And guess who the ones being hired are? The people who aren’t whining.