Here’s a summary of the typical emotional experience people have during a job search.
You see a job posting that looks like it could be amazing. You start to dream about this new work situation. You feel excitement and hope.
You start working on your application with a rush of momentum. Then you look at the job posting the next day. You read it a bit more carefully, and you see you don’t quite fit all the requirements. You start to wonder if your resume will stand out from the crowd. You feel discouraged and worried. You decide to push through. You finish your application as best you can. Then with a big breath and a feeling of trepidation, you click ‘Submit’. Then you wait. You worry. You question yourself. Finally, you hear back. You receive a rejection, in which case you sink a little lower in your chair. Or you receive a request for an interview, which creates a whole new cycle of hope, work, and worry.
Job searching is an emotional roller coaster. There are highs and there are lows. So how do you stay grounded in the midst of these swings? Try these three tips.
1) Focus on what you can control with a steadfast resolve.
In life there are things we can control and things we can’t control.
You can control the effort that you put into an application. You can control the number of times you reach out for a networking coffee. You can control your decision to put in some extra time to boost your skills in a particular area.
You can’t control whether or not you’ll get a callback for an interview. You can’t control how many times people will accept your invitation to coffee. You can influence, but you can’t totally control, how long it will take you to land that next gig.
So keep your eyes on the things that you can impact. Specifically, measure and reward yourself for your efforts, independent of the results they garner. For example, track how many hours you spend on job search tasks rather than how many interviews you receive. You can certainly use the information of your success rate of getting interviews as a signal to stick with or change your approach, but you’d need several data points to make that call. Until then, keep your head down and focus on the work in front of you.
2) Stay in reality.
The root cause of the emotional swings of a job search is our imagination. We imagine a new job and everything going swimmingly, and our feelings go through the roof. We imagine being rejected or stuck in our current situation forever, and we experience an emotional plummet. But in the middle of a job search neither of these ideas are reality. They are figments of our imagination.
To avoid the highs and lows of a job search, stay focused on what’s real in the moment. For example, in this moment I am working at x and putting in applications to several new companies. Can you see how this fact based statement of what’s happening has less charge around it than the dreams our brains create?
Engage with excitement and disappointment when they actually happen. Jump up and down when you get the job. Take a day to mope when you find out another candidate has been chosen over you. But until they are real events, skip the emotional swinging. Stick with what’s actually happening in the moment.
3) Pick your head up and pay attention to right now.
It’s all too easy to get sucked into an all consuming job search that takes over your world. So pick your head up every once in awhile. Look outside. Take a few deep breaths. Better yet, go outside, and walk around. Keep an eye on your physical and emotional well being by doing things that help you to feel healthy and connecting to friends, family, and community.
In the midst of your work to move your career to a better place, I’m sure there are still good things in your life. Notice what they are. By getting out of your head, talking with other people, and taking a broader view of your life, you’ll be better able to get through your job search with more ease and grace.
Give these three tips a go, and see if they help to temper the emotional swings of the job search. It’s easier to stay consistent with your efforts when you’re feeling grounded and calm.
From the web: Here’s a fun post from J.Money of Budgets Are Sexy on staying grounded in the midst of potentially winning the lottery. Enjoy!
Have you experienced the emotional roller coaster of a job search? Why do you think this happens? What helps you to stay calm in the midst of all the unknowns of a job search? Leave a comment below!