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What to Do About Being Demoralized On the Jobhunt

We all know that jobhunting sucks. For nearly everybody, the jobhunt is like war: flashes of excitement between what seem like endless periods of bored waiting. Everyone I’ve talked with over the years about the process of looking for work has shared an observation similar to this one: “It sure doesn’t take long for your self-respect and morale to plummet–and you end up in the ‘I’ll Take Anything’ mode.”

This, of course, is a terrible place to be.

My job is to lead you out of the demoralized mindset like a guide taking you out of the jungle–quickly, directly, and away from the poisonous spiders.

Let’s face it: odds are, no matter how ‘good’ you are, if you’ve got a dwindling bank balance and your jobhunt is dragging on, you’re bound to get demoralized. Heck, it even happens to me. What makes the difference is how fast you shake it off…and what methods you have available to accomplish that.

One of the Very Big Ideas about creating the result of a successfully and swiftly concluded search for work is that you don’t settle. Let me repeat that: In your job search, you never, never let yourself even consider for more than the shortest time the slightest possibility of changing what you want and what you’re looking for. If you catch yourself doing that, do whatever it is you have to do (for me, it’s go somewhere I’ll be alone and look into a mirror) and remind yourself of the following:

  • you are a professional
  • you are not a slave
  • you are not here to fit in anybody’s picture of you but your own
  • you are skilled, and you deserve work that makes use of those skills
  • you have decided what you want, and you are going to get it.

I’ll admit, there are times when it can get scary. Note that I’m not saying that in an emergency, you shouldn’t take a lower-level job in order to pay the bills. But don’t get stuck there.

A second Very Big Idea about work is that once you get involved with an organization, if you take any pride in your output at all, you will start to get sucked into what is going on there. The problems and events of the organization will take hold of you. They will begin to really matter. Think about this: it’s a bit disturbing. You can get caught up in things that have little to do with you, and definitely are not helping you, but because of the way employment functions, you will feel obligated to stay. This is the trap I want you to avoid. Don’t get stuck.

I’ve discovered one Mega-Killer Idea that turns freaked-out jobhunters into calm, ready-for-action and soon-to-be-hired Superpeople. Rarely do I state this idea straightforwardly, however, because I’ve found that people tend to discount it as “Sure, I know that” data but don’t actually apply it. I find it’s better if I wrap it up a bit, dole it out in steps for people to take as they look for work. Now executing those steps well could take only a few days.

(Using it, my most effective search for work was about four days: at the time I left the previous position, I had the idea of the company I wanted to go to next, and the job I wanted to do there. I put together a document presenting what I could do, and cold-called on the company to find out who I should speak with. The Director of Manufacturing wasn’t in, but the next day my presentation had produced the call for the interview. A brand new position was created for me, paying exactly what I had been earning in my previous job…and I never mentioned that amount. Look at what happened here: I didn’t know who I had to speak to; I didn’t know–and it didn’t matter–whether they ‘needed’ someone with my skills; I subliminally sent off the signals that produced a manager’s salary at the exact level I valued myself at the time; my time out of work was one week.)

I’ll be talking about this idea and the execution steps in much more detail in my upcoming e-book, Get Hired! But for now, you have the starting point of the steps above to deal with the feeling of being demoralized about your jobhunt. If you have come to the conclusion in the meantime that you need help with your jobsearch, send me a note.

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