Focus

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.

 

 

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Growl

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.

Rain, Pain and Slowly Going Insane

Looking for a job is a job.  Lately, I just don’t feel like working.  When people ask me what I want to do, I give them my usual 30 second commercial.  But deep down, I just want to read, write and take photos.  When I walk by a panhandler, I sometimes see myself in that role.  It’s illogical and unsettling.

Anyways… I’m tailoring a resume to a job opening.  I hope to finish it today and move on to the cover letter.

The cool and rainy weather the past couple of days hasn’t helped my mood.  And my DSLR is spitting out error messages (err 99 code).

I think it’s time to restart my gratitude journal.

Everyone Has A Story

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.

Snippets

I just have 3 snippets.

  1.  I got a kid of around 5 yrs old into a bit of trouble on the weekend.  He was in a table next to mine with  2 adult women and a younger girl.  One of the women was his mom.  We were all in a packed restaurant and he was in the table in front of me although his back was towards me.  During dinner he looked back at my table and I gave him a quick smile and looked away.  He thought I was playing with him and he ducked behind the back of his chair.  I could see him trying to peek at me but I didn’t pay attention to the kid because his mom was seated facing me.  It was a good thing she was focused on feeding the little girl and didn’t look over.  I only looked at the kid when I knew the mom and the other woman wasn’t looking at me.  Eventually the mom got tired of the kid not eating, hiding behind the winter coats that were draped over the back of the chair and trying to peek at my table.  She let loose a few stern words and the kid was sniffling and crying a bit.  But before you start on me, he was giggling and laughing by the end of the night.
  2. My sister told me one of her neighbours passed away.  She was an elderly woman who had some mental health issues but lived by herself.   An ambulance and police showed up and they had to use a crowbar to open the door to her house.  What surprised my sister and her neighbours is that the elderly woman’s daughter just lived down the street.  None of them knew about the daughter until that old woman passed away.  No one had keys to the elderly woman’s home.  It’s just sad.
  3. It’s been almost 9 months since I lost my job. I have no idea what my next career will be.  I have to admit that I didn’t really look hard for jobs until this year.  I would say last year was more of a recovery – both physically and mentally. The uncertainty is both scary and exciting.  The potential is limitless (or so I tell myself).  I’m certainly pushing the limits of my comfort zone but I’m still strangely calm.

Focus and Discipline

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.

 

 

Tough Love

“It’s a good start.”  Then the pen slashed across the hardcopy of my LinkedIn summary.    It wasn’t the feedback I wanted to hear.  But it was probably the feedback I needed to hear.  It’s back to the drawing board.  But it wasn’t all discouraging news.  My counselor took pains to highlight my people skills.  He told me he could see why people feel comfortable talking with me.  He knows how to gently push and nudge us past our comfort zone.  I jotted down more tips including making time for myself.  I tested him by asking how he managed transitioning from one job to another.  But he was smart enough to quickly turn the conversation back towards me.

It still amazes me how my dad managed to keep his sanity while job hunting.  He didn’t have the benefit out outplacement services, LinkedIn, resume writing services…  He was motivated to keep his family together.

I’m motivated to find something that interests me.  I don’t have kids to feed and to put through school.  This entry isn’t ending the way I thought it would.  Maybe the hidden lesson is to be grateful for where I am.