Lately a few people that I know have found jobs. We all go to the same job counseling company and it’s good that they have landed. Some are from a networking group that meet weekly. I know how hard they’ve worked and the struggles they’ve gone through.
As for me, I have to continue to stay focus and not get complacent. It’s so easy to take teh foot off the gas pedal. I just have to continue sharpening my resume, improving my networking, honing my interview skills and be more comfortable marketing myself.
But if any of you want to fork over a few hundred grand (Canadian), I would be okay with that too.
On an unrelated note, I sent a note to a friend of mine who has stomach cancer. I just wanted to let him know I was still thinking of him. He replied back and is scheduled for 8 rounds of chemo and surgery afterwards. A week later, he sent me a photo of him with his bald head. He’s still smiling with his wife behind him. He told me it’s all in God’s hands now. I hope he’ll be able to defy the odds and pull through.
I was chatting with an ex colleague today. We talked about the challenges at my former workplace, what’s going on in her life and her health. She thanked me for always being a sympathetic ear, providing good advice and making her laugh. She was part of my trusted network and we helped each other with a lot of deals.
What’s interesting is that we both didn’t meet each other until I left my company. We both worked from home. And when we did have to go into the office, our schedules never meshed. So we never met but had developed a great working relationship.
I told her today that some people are a bit surprised I develop these types of relationships with people I’ve never met. She believes we knew each other from a previous life. I don’t know if that’s true. It’s sort of like the relationship I develop here with fellow bloggers. I’ve gotten to know some of you very well. I’m always touched when people feel they can trust me and confide in me.
Life is good.
I’ve been sleeping in the past few days. This morning, I woke up around 9:30. I looked at my phone and didn’t even hear the alarm. I also missed some text messages. Good thing they weren’t important. When my days aren’t productive, I tend to stay up late trying to make up for it. This just perpetuates the problem.
My back is also starting to stiffen up. I should restart all those exercises that my chiropractor has asked me to do. I have a basic Ikea dining room chair that I use as my “office” chair. I saw a store that sells refurbished office furniture and I might buy one. It’s a good brand (Steelcase) and I’ve sat in quite a few of those chairs when I was working.
It’s also been perplexing for me these past few months. I’m so easily distracted by social media – especially US politics. I have to get back to some of the good habits I developed when I was working.
I follow a lot of accounts on Instagram. It may surprise you to hear that some of them are fashion designers, planes, cats and fitness trainers. There’s a local guy that I follow who seems to know what he’s doing. He’s Chinese and seems to be well liked within his community. I’m not really a fitness guy but I like his tips.
In his last few postings, he mentioned his latest podcast and it’s his first time interviewing a guest, a local trainer – another Asian guy. In accompanying Instagram Stories (sort of like Snapchats – they disappear within 24 hrs), he mentioned how he’s trying to get out of his comfort zone more by doing podcasts and interviews. Getting out of my comfort zone is something I like to do too so I related to him.
He started to post some clips from his podcasts – nothing unusual. It was just 2 guys chatting and trying to act cool. But in one of these clips, his guest seemed to make fun of a question. The guest trainer went on about people who want to get as big (physically) as him. He started to laugh and swear. The host started to laugh too. I think the message the guest was trying to say was it’s not just working out, it’s the dedication required to workout when you’re tired, it requires rest and a good diet.
But the tone was of elitism and exclusivity. Both of us are “in” and you’re not. While I have been known to use 4 letter words (I can swear in Greek too but that’s another story), watching the 2 of them swearing and laughing stung. They could have done a lot better and be more professional instead of acting like kids. Turn the moment into something educational and maybe even inspirational.
I’m just venting a bit.
My weekly networking meeting with 3 other job hunters was reduced to just 1 person. 2 of them said they had conflicts. One of the things we did was to practice some interview questions. She told me my answers were good but I looked old and tired. She reminded me I was competing with 20 year olds who have tons of energy. I didn’t get a lot of sleep the night before so maybe that contributed to it.
“Old and tired”. Ouch. That hurt.
I felt better after a haircut and a walk. I debated about retail therapy but decided not to.
It was a slow start for this week. Instead of getting off at the starting line, I couldn’t even find the track. After a couple of days of bad sleep, it finally caught up with me last night. I finished breakfast in time for lunch. I missed today’s networking meeting. Oh well. It’s easy to get complacent and easy to get discouraged. I can’t let those 2 forces get to me.
The other week, I met up with someone from my bank who wanted to pitch some financial services. He was in his 40s, well dressed (very nice suit, watch, cuff links, shoes were clean and shiny) confident and greeted me with a smile and firm hand shake. What I liked about his presentation was how low key it was. And he made it all about me. He answered every question I had – sometimes using a brief anecdote or a few key facts he had tucked away. Everything about the presentation was how they could help me. It wasn’t a hard sell but more of a “Hey, I can help you. Let me tell you a bit about what we do.” He sprinkled the presentation with some questions of his own to get to know my concerns. Afterwards, he emailed me a thank you note and a brief summary of his services.
Once I got home, I realized what he did was exactly what I should do when I get a job interview. It was one of the best things I’ve learned recently.
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.