A guest post from another one of our Crossroads Career ministry leaders: Harry Urschel of The Wise Job Search
For many people, their job search has gone on for a long time. Much longer than expected, and longer than their emotions, relationships, and finances seem to be able to bear.
An extended job search can be trying and make even the most resilient personalities weary over time.
It’s not unusual to have great difficulties in finding and landing a job over the past couple of years. How you deal with the challenges and weariness can have a great deal of impact on your success in your networking and interviews.
Are you getting weary?
What do you need to do to start fresh and feel good about getting at it each day?
Here are some points that may help…
Count your blessings! (Seriously!) – I know. Many of you are already thinking “You’ve got to be kidding me! That’s an overused piece of advice!” I agree, it is used a lot, but I think it’s valid. Too often we dwell on all the things wrong in our lives and lose sight of what’s right! When you only focus on your problems, you can’t help but become weary.
No matter how bad your situation, there are always good things in your life as well. It’s up to you how much thought, emphasis, and importance you put on those things. If you tell yourself “sure, I have some good things in my life, but look how bad these things are!” You’re not doing yourself any favors. Your outlook on life literally becomes what you decide to dwell on. If you dwell on doom and gloom, your overall view of life will be miserable and draining. If you decide to dwell on the positives, and be optimistic about your future, your outlook and attitude will be hopeful and upbeat.
What are your blessings? Perhaps your extended family, friends, children, spouse, your church community, your health, your home, your hobbies, abilities, talents, faith, freedom, safety nets, your values, your upbringing, or your education. Your blessings might include any or all of these, or something else entirely. Figure out what they are for you. Make a list and review it regularly. Focus on what’s right with your life, be thankful for them, and your weariness will fade.
Connect with someone! – A job search is tough. It’s tougher when you’re “holed up” and trying to go it alone. Often people go into seclusion when they’re down and spiral into deeper misery. Although it’s critical to be talking to people and network constantly to find your next job, those conversations are not typically ones where you can be completely transparent and open. You have put your best professional foot forward to gain new referrals or job leads.
Find someone that you can confide in. Someone that you can discuss your challenges and concerns with, and someone that can offer empathy and encouragement. Notice I said ’empathy’, not ‘sympathy’. You don’t want someone to provide sympathy and no encouragement. You need someone that can understand your situation and point out the bright spots and can point to the light at the end of the tunnel. Relationships can be the greatest source of refreshment and new energy in difficult situations.
Be physically active! – Sitting on a sofa, watching TV, and eating a bag of chips may sound relaxing, however, can be one of the biggest drains to your energy and attitude. Get up! Take regular walks, bike rides, work-outs, swims, or whatever activity you enjoy. Becoming physically active can do wonders for your outlook, sense of accomplishment, and energy. Don’t become a couch potato!
Serve! – It’s hard to feel too sorry for yourself when you’re serving others. Find ways to bless someone around you. Maybe it’s volunteering at a charitable organization. Perhaps it’s simply paying for the cup of coffee for someone behind you at the drive-thru. Maybe it’s shoveling your neighbor’s sidewalk or cutting their grass. Perhaps it’s getting involved at a ministry at your place of worship. Whatever you decide to do, find a way to serve others as often as possible. Invariably, it’s one of the most uplifting and energizing things you can do.
Look beyond yourself! – When our universe revolves around us, we will always be disappointed. When we realize that our lives are not our own, but are part of a larger purpose, we gain strength and energy from seeking to live for that purpose. What’s your purpose? Almost without exception, people that see their lives as having a transcendent purpose from their own immediate lives have a brighter outlook, more enthusiasm, and more resilience than someone that doesn’t.
It’s popular, particularly in America, to view one’s life as one of rugged independence. However, no matter how smart, talented, educated, or strong we are, we all have limitations and will run into walls as we reach them. When we understand that our lives have greater meaning and value beyond our own abilities, we can gain encouragement and hope by doing what we can for our part, and looking beyond ourselves for the real fulfillment. Who or what is that transcendent purpose in your life?
A tough job search can make you weary. Look for the solutions that work best for you to keep you going and give you new energy along the way!
Harry Urschel is a Talent Acquisition Leader, Executive Recruiter, Job Search Coach, and Writer in the Minneapolis area with over 25 years of career development experience. He is also a Crossroad Career ministry leader at Grace Chuch in Eden Prairie, Minnesota.
Harry teaches job search courses, leads networking groups, and authors The Wise Job Search whose articles are used by a number of publications, schools, and organizations.