Searching for a job is hard work. As it would happen, I am the queen of hard work. The tougher the challenge, the harder I work. Finding a new job after a layoff appears to be the most difficult challenge I have faced yet.
I wasted no time getting started. In other words, I panicked.
Tip #1: Don’t Panic. You will want to panic. Do your best not to.
The day I learned I was being laid off, I immediately posted an update on LinkedIn. I sent messages to a few recruiters I had come across in my time at my previous company, and reached out to a couple industry contacts. That afternoon I had heard from several contacts within my network and I was off and running (key word: running).
Tip #2: Walk, Don’t Run. This is a marathon for which you have not trained.
From there, the weeks have raced by in a blur of phone calls, interviews, and many, many emails. I have met wonderful people from industries across the spectrum. I have reconnected with old friends and have made several new friends.
What I have found is that people genuinely want to help. I cannot begin to express the gratitude I have for the people who have known me for a long time and have offered their support and assistance, and for the people who barely know me and still have gone out of their way to help me.
Tip #3: Ask For Help. People want to help you.
For five or six weeks now I have been running. Every single morning, I have pulled myself out of bed and gotten dressed for work. I often leave the house early in the morning and do not get home until early evening.
I had thought I would get to play the part of ‘stay at home mom’ for my kids. I thought I would bake cookies to be ready for them when they walked in the door, and would have a clean, shiny house I could finally invite my friends to visit. I would finally get all of my paperwork organized, my email box in control, and the laundry on a regular schedule.
Tip #4: Discard All Expectations of what life will be like while job searching.
This has decidedly not been the case. I have not yet baked any cookies, the laundry continues to pile up and my email – well, let’s just say that the unread count in my inbox has grown exponentially.
This past Monday I hit a wall. I no longer had a full week of meetings/interviews/phone calls scheduled. I was tired – exhausted, actually – and started to feel something like… lost.
Tip #5: Take Breaks. Take Breaths. See Tip #2.
I began to question what I was actually looking for. Meaningful work. That’s what I want. I want to be able to contribute in a meaningful way. I want to use the gifts and talents that I have to make the world a better place.
How do I find this in a job description? How do I express that in a resume, a phone call, an interview? What job title am I looking for? What industry do I consider? What person do I reach out to?
I wrote a post earlier this year cautioning us all not to put too much pressure on our jobs to provide us with our meaning in life. This, somehow, is hard to keep in mind when searching for a new job. This is a chance to start over, to try something new, to truly find my passion and my purpose. But do I really need to fit all of that in to my next job? Probably not.
Tip #6: Do Your Homework on Yourself. What do you need out of new job? That is what matters now.
Since hitting the wall this past Monday, I have been trying to take some time for myself. I finally made it to the gym. I got a massage, took myself out to lunch, and I spent several hours one day meandering around my city, going wherever the breeze took me. I only dressed for work two days this week.
I have asked the Universe to provide me with some answers. Apparently, she needs to get back to me on that.
In the meantime, I will be trying to balance things better. Instead of working around the clock, I will schedule time for job searching. I will also schedule time for family (I can’t wait to make those cookies), and will certainly schedule time for myself.
This is a unique time in my life. I have worked my entire life, whether in a job or in school (often both at the same time). It is no wonder that I am feeling lost with neither currently under way. I need to embrace this and make the most of it.
Tip #7: Celebrate Along The Way, no matter what it is you are feeling.
I have been working with a coach and in our last session she asked me to consider the question: What is powerful about being lost? I plan to spend some significant time considering this question. Perhaps this will be the topic of my next blog post. If you have any thoughts, I’d love to hear them!
To all of you on a similar journey, I wish you the power to balance, the patience to wait for the right thing, and the resilience to make it to the other side.
As always, keep it positive!