I’ve been trying to be more disciplined in my job search. There are good days and there are those days where negative energy likes to linger. When that happens, self doubt shows up. It’s followed quickly by procrastination. It doesn’t take long for them to resurrect any bad habits I have. Together they all gang up on confidence. I have to make sure I remain positive and not let those negative thoughts and emotions stay too long.
So I need to be a lot more disciplined at this. I still need to make time for the things I like to do or need to do. Looking for a job is a full time job but I also want some “work” life balance.
I’ve started a morning pages journal. It’s 3 pages of whatever comes to mind written in longhand. This was recommended to me by my late friend Kelvin years ago. But I never did it. It was an odd coincidence that I found it again from some article on LinkedIn after I was thinking of him. So I figured that must be a sign.
I have a spreadsheet that tracks all my action items, networking activities and goals for my job search. But I haven’t been consistently using it. If you’re a project manager, this would be similar to your project control book. I updated it this morning but will need to do it daily. I’ve been doing a decent job of making new connections on LinkedIn. I feel more comfortable doing information interviews. Selling myself doesn’t come easy for me (and perhaps for you). I have to practice my 30 second commercial regularly.
My wardrobe also needs to be updated. After a few years of working from home and years of casual dress code, I really don’t have a decent business casual clothes. I have 3 suits, 1 dress pants and 1 blue blazer. I need something less formal than suits but more formal than khaki pants.
Mostly I need to stay focused and positive. Not having a steady stream of income makes me feel vulnerable. But I also want to make sure I get a job that I enjoy too. At some point, I’m sure I’ll need to make some trade offs. But for now, I just got to keep moving forward.
I just submitted a job application and won’t you know it, I goofed up. I did a bit of digging and figured out the name of the hiring manager. But the job posting on LinkedIn didn’t have the hiring manager’s name or title. In various drafts, I had the name in but I finally took it out at the end just in case I was wrong. So I used the dreaded “Dear Hiring Manager”.
After I submitted it on the company’s website, I noticed who the job reported to. It didn’t have the name but her title. Of course, the title was for that person’s name that I had. I had even gone on her LinkedIn. What ticked me off was that I went through the posting a few times but missed this. I’m just kicking myself now.
The job is at one of my target companies but it’s only a 1 year contract. And the salary is a lot lower than what I used to make. But I need to get my foot in the door.
There are days when I feel I know what I want out of life and what I need to do to re-invent my career. And then there are days when I don’t have a clue what to do with my life.
Life is a journey and its meaning will likely remain mysterious to me right to the last day of my existence.
Where can I get some wisdom. Is there still some old man that sits on top of a mountain? Perhaps I should look for a wise monk. Maybe the answer will be in some fortune cookie.
For someone without a job, I’m one of the lucky ones. Everyone I’ve met at my job counseling firm has a story.
I met a woman who was contemplating a career change to become a teacher. But she has 2 kids still in school. As part of her severance, her employer gave her 3 months of job counseling and time is closing fast. A few weeks later, I found out she lost her husband earlier this year. The dreams of becoming a teacher would be shelved for now.
There was another IT geek who wasn’t sure what he wanted to do. His hair and beard needed needed some serious trimming and unfortunately in this job market, physical impressions do count. It wasn’t until I checked his LinkedIn profile did I realize he was actually an IT architect. He’s got some decent credentials. He never spoke about his accomplishments or what he wanted to do next.
Another woman hinted that she has had clinical depression but said she’s pretty sure she doesn’t have it now. She just wants this job hunting to end. She used to cherish time away from work. Now the abundance of free time feels confining and she’s not sure what life has in store for her.
Then there was a guy who turned down a couple of job offers. It surprised me until he explained those job paid less than his previous role and it involved a lot of travel. He is the only child and is now facing elder care issues. We chat briefly and exchange contact info.
Another project manager has a young family. He doesn’t have a lot of Canadian experience and is willing to work in small cities where there might be less competition. I asked him if his family will move with him. He said no, he’ll find some place cheap to live and send money back to his family.
There are so many people here who could use a break. There just doesn’t seem to be enough well paying jobs to go around. Everyone has a story to tell.
It’s so easy for me to get distracted and turn a promising day into one of wasted opportunity. Job hunting forces me to venture out of my comfort zone. Networking doesn’t come naturally to me despite my strengths in working with people. Talking about me is essential but I’d rather talk about others. The only time I talk about me is here. Asking for help, advice and insight can be humbling but I have no problem offering them when asked.
It’s easy for me to get distracted by all the stuff that’s going on in US politics. The pipeline deal got approved? I thought the refineries didn’t have any more capacity? Is the oil for the domestic US market or for exports? Facts vs Alt facts, illegal voters, NAFTA to be opened up for negotiation…
When I’m on LinkedIn, I’ll come across some interesting articles. I feel compelled to read them immediately because it looks important to my job search. I also want to carve out some time to write and improve my photography. And let’s not forget going to the gym. Oh and time for reading too.
But I’m going to instill more focus and discipline in my job search. I’ll have to set aside most of my time for it because that’s my priority. If I can dedicate some quality time to this, then the rest should find its time.
To deal with all the negative stuff going on, I’m going to focus on doing what’s good in my corner of the world. I came across this quote.
“Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”
It’s been wrongly attributed to John Wesley from my brief research. Yes, I even spent time to make sure I could rightfully attribute the quote. I haven’t been able to find who actually said this. But I like it and will try to incorporate that into my every day living.
I met with my job counselor this week and we both agreed that my job hunt needed more focus and attention – in particular networking. I went over my 30 second commercial with him and he recommended adding more hard skills. There were many other recommendations about my LinkedIn profile, moving to a more active job search through networking rather than looking at job postings etc…
So I started to make a plan on how to tackle all of this. I woke up late although I got to bed at 10:30 PM. I actually woke up around 2 AM and didn’t get back to sleep until 4 AM. I slept through my alarm. After a healthy breakfast of oatmeal, nuts and berries, I did the dishes and brushed my teeth. I noticed the bathroom needed to be tidied up. I wiped the faucets, sink, the shower stall, the mirror, the toilet and, swept the floors and tossed out the old towels. I decided to mop the bathroom floor too.
I dragged out the bucket and the mop that spins. The bathroom looked decent after that. While it won’t win any awards, people won’t be scared to use it. I even use those Lysol wipes. Then I looked at the hardwood floors. It was getting a bit sticky. So I spent the next hour just doing a basic mop up. I’ve found over time the best way to clean my floors is hand wiping it using a micro fibre cloth and hot water. But I have to get down on my hands and knees to do that. That’s too tiring and I’ll save that for another day when I feel like it.
So I did a quick wipe that and the hardwood floors looked a bit better. It’s now after 1PM. I then debated if cleaning was a form of procrastination. Since I’m a Gemini – the debate raged on forever. So I decided to blog.
I best get back to my job hunting.
(ed. note: warning – the author’s next entry is about dish washing. He has run out of things to write about.)
“Far too many people spend a lifetime headed in the wrong direction. They go not only from the cradle to the cubicle, but then to the casket, without uncovering their greatest talents and potential.”
Rath, Tom. Strengths Finder 2.0 New York: Gallup Press, 2007
I got the chills when I read that. As I try to figure out what the next stage of my career will be like, I want to have a better grasp of my skills, talents and mission in life. I may not utilize all my talents at my next job. But I need to find out what they are first and develop an outlet to fully deploy them. I don’t want to look down at my body when I’m done with it and wish I had live my life differently.
Advice and comments are always appreciated.