Job Searching: It's a Normal Part of Living

It is Wednesday. Gorgeous outside; sunny with blue skies and fluffy clouds. I woke up, had some coffee, worked out just like I do every Wednesday. My 10:00 AM appointment was canceled. Hurray, I thought. Things are looking up! I did some research, chatted with a coworker online, did a quick check of my social media feed and then it happened. I got what I now refer to as “the call” explaining that the company decided to lay off a significant number of people and one of those people is me. And for a split second. The world stopped. But only for a second. I have been here before. And it sucks. I apologize for being so crude but truly, job searching sucks. Everyone who has a job has looked for a job. And so, the job search journey begins.

There are only two real reasons you will find yourself in this place, you (or your partner, or loved one) decided it was time for a new opportunity or like me, someone decided for you. It is normal. It is also normal to mourn the loss of a job. It is a loss of identity and loss of security. It is a scary place in which you have no control. And it can be a lonely place. And the thing is, you will, on average, change jobs ten times during your lifetime. But there is good news. Because everyone will look for a job at some point, many resources are waiting for you. And so, for now, your job is to start your job search. The road to finding a new job will be different each time you do it; There are twists and turns with each step, you may find yourself in a different direction. Mandy Hale, author of “The Single Woman: Life, Love, and a Dash of Sass” wrote, “Sometimes it takes a wrong turn to get you to the right place.” The trick is to get yourself prepared as best you can to handle anything you find along the way. I know this feels big. Heck, it IS big. But how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

Here Are Some Things to Consider As You Get Started with Your Job Search:

Be Prepared:

Start with a dedicated space you will use to do your job search. If possible, this should not be your bedroom or the place that you usually pay your bills. But it should be a place with as few distractions as possible. That includes clutter. Make sure it is clutter-free. That being said, do make sure that you have something in this space that makes you smile. For me, it was a postcard sent to me by some dear friends. For you, it may be a plant or a candle, or a picture. But something that when you look at it, you go to a happy place.

Get Organized:

Next, you want to make sure that you have items to keep yourself organized. For me, it was an old-fashioned notebook and a fun pen. Others prefer to keep notes electronically but you will want something that will allow you to keep a list of the names of the companies you have applied to, the job titles and descriptions, and anyone you have spoken with at those companies. There are hundreds of thousands of jobs out there and you can’t possibly remember them all. You will find comfort in having a place you know exactly where to go to find any necessary job search information.

Expect the Unexpected:

There are times that you apply for a job, get a call, have a great conversation and then you are offered a job you never heard of before. Perhaps you applied for a remote job, and now they have decided you will have to go into the office. It is important to keep an open mind as you start having conversations with recruiters and hiring managers. Don’t get too hung up on the way you think things should go. In fact, expect that you have no idea how it will pan out. This way you can be pleasantly surprised if, in fact, they go as you had hoped.

The Perfect Job May Not be Ready:

If you are reading this, I imagine that you have thought about what you would like in your next position. You may even have in mind the perfect job for you. But remember the point above. As the world changes, so do your opportunities. Any shift in the economy could mean that the perfect job you are dreaming of is no longer available. But that does not mean that you will not get close to those perfect opportunities. When this happens, it will be time to make sure you are getting a clear picture of what you are being offered and the company making the offer.

Even if you do everything that is suggested in this series, it will still suck. And job searching will continue to suck until you get a job you want at a great company that pays a great salary. But you will start learning things about yourself and the world that you were ignoring while you were busy at work. Maybe you will read that Brene Brown book everyone keeps talking about. You may take a class about how to be a better leader. You may even get that new headshot you have been talking about doing for years. And there will be a few days, that you just don’t want to. And that is okay too. Everything you will feel along the way is normal. And temporary. Remember, every day you are brave enough to get back on the job search will suck a little less because you will be one step closer to getting back to work. As Brene says, learn to embrace the suck.

Read on for more ways to make your job search a success: Job Searching is a Full Time Gig

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