How to survive during job search

Job loss can be traumatic and unsettling. We are thrown from the familiar and relatively safe environment of busy employment with meetings, reports, travel, presentations and other tasks to a less structured and often lonely time of concern, uncertainty and unfamiliarity. Not only that, we may harbour feelings of anger and disappointment at losing our jobs and questioning why the decision was made and if we could have done anything to prevent it from happening…

It’s critically important to be able to positively manage your emotions during a period of transition following job loss. This keeps you upbeat emotionally and also in better shape when meeting with others either in networking or interviewing scenarios. People like enthusiastic, positive and energised people, but if we don’t make the effort to feel this way, there’s a chance it may count against us during the job search process.

In my experience the financial side of job loss sorts itself out one way or another. You’ve received a severance, your partner may work, your parents may allow you live with them (probably a last resort for most of us!!), you cut back your spending, cancel the Europe trip or there’s something else that allows you to manage things financially.

“The toughest challenge in job search is to manage what goes on between our ears…The emotional roller-coaster that follows job loss and continues until we find our next role.”

Transition should be a time to catch up, re-energise and indulge ourselves a little. This provides balance and ultimately helps you to cope and better present yourselves to prospective employers.

There are 4 things you can do to help you cope more effectively during transition:

  1. Job search – I don’t believe job search is a ‘full time job’. 3-6 good quality hours in a day, with the option to take a day off occasionally is far more productive. It’s easy to waste 8-10 hours in job search if it’s not structured and focused (How easy is it to click on a few other websites when scanning job boards?). Keeping busy by sending off applications, conducting networking meetings, going to interviews, meeting your career coach and recruiters all represent positive and productive job search activity. When we are busy we don’t have time to wallow in self-pity.

  2. Time with partner, spouse, friends and family – We invest a lot of time at work and work-related activity, therefore, being ‘between jobs’ is also a good time to reconnect with those we love and those closest to us. Have lunch with your wife, catch up with old colleagues, pick up the kids from school or travel a few hours to visit that uncle you’ve not seen for several years….All these activities allow you to have fun, be positive and enjoy someone else’s company which in the grand scheme of things is often of far more real value.

  3. Time for yourself – Do you like to paint? Do photography? Ride on steam engines? Jump out of planes? Visit museums or art galleries? Something else you really enjoy which allows you to switch off and to savour the moment? Great! Then schedule time during the week to indulge yourself! It’s important that you not feel guilty when doing these activities! You deserve the time off and it provides great balance.

  4. Exercise – If this is not included in point 3, add it to your schedule! It has been clinically proven that moderate exercise a couple of times a week releases the so-called happy endorphins which reduce feelings of sadness, melancholy or depression. Don’t believe it? Give it a go and see for yourself! Make exercise a part of your ‘between jobs’ schedule!

As you jump back aboard the corporate hamster wheel, the opportunity to enjoy many of these activities is missed. You’ll start to work long hours again, travel, bring work home etc. etc. Weekends again become ‘too short’ and the opportunity would have passed you by.

Life is full of regrets, so don’t let this happen to you! Instead, let your head hit the pillow every evening, knowing you’ve had a productive and enjoyable day – with another to follow. This helps during your journey to your next role.

If you require assistance in career coaching covering topics such as resume preparation, interview skills, fear-free networking or the development of a LinkedIn profile, Paul Di Michiel (The Career Medic) can assist. You can contact Paul by clicking here for an obligation free chat to see how he can help you in job search.

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