I’ve had the pleasure of working with Greg Jarold for a number of months. His story is one of opening himself to possibilities, creating a resource and support network, and working through inner and outer challenges with quiet determination. In so doing, he found a perfect job fit for his talents. Take inspiration from his journey!
After a ten month long job search and nine months of unemployment due to a layoff, I have found a new job which I start next week. After hearing many times and for various reasons that I wasn’t the best fit for jobs for which I had applied and would have gladly adapted to, this one actually appears to be a comfortable fit from my point of view and that of my new employer.
Early on in my search I found myself wishing that I was a “blogger” because these days, carrying on a job search is every day less and less a solitary pursuit. For one thing, there is a massive job search industry out there, particularly in cyberspace, and I was always coming across interesting things that I thought would be of value to other job seekers. So with this article, I finally have a chance to share in writing a small part of my journey.
If there has been one primary task during my job search, it has been to maintain my motivation and keep my spirits up. The importance of doing this cannot be overstated. I never do well with rejection even in the best of times and of course it’s even more difficult under high amounts of stress and not much is more stressful than unemployment. But, there was no way I could neglect my inner-self during this stressful time. Pursuits that may sometimes seem to be self-indulgences during good times became necessities during my search.
One of the first hurdles I had to overcome was my reluctance to share with the world, well at least everyone that I knew and came across and eventually sought out, that I was unemployed. My distaste for the stigma of being unemployed had to be overcome for a greater goal, finding a new job. Without casting my net out as far and wide and frequently as possible, my chance of coming across a good fit of a job was slim. I’m not a natural salesman but I needed to wear that hat at least until I found a new job.
The unexpected benefit of sharing my current lack-of-job status with everybody within earshot was that I found moral support around every corner. Finding new, and nurturing existing, personal connections was something I found I could do to keep my spirits up. I didn’t have to face my challenges alone. I have made it a personal policy to “say yes” to opportunities and invitations to spend time with people. And why not, when “time” was something that I had plenty of. Even though most of these connections were personal in nature, I also took advantage of as many professional organization networking and educational events as I could.
I found an even more focused path to connections to help me make it through unemployment at the Carnegie Library in the Job & Career Education Center. I took practically every class offered in the PC Center, many of which helped me polish my skills using Microsoft Office Suite programs but others were more directly pertinent to my job search. These included resume writing and job searching on the internet. There is also a Job Club that meets periodically. In addition, there is a Speaker Series which includes regular presentations by career experts on topics of interest to job seekers. This is where I meet Neal Griebling!
Using the services of professional counselors is another thing I did to help me make it through unemployment. Neal was especially helpful to me when I needed to think outside the box of my past jobs and accept that I needed to look at a broader range of jobs but also understand what is really important to me in choosing a type and place of employment. My psychologist was also always there for me in dealing with the roller coaster of emotions that I found myself experiencing. All of this has helped this time in my life to be one of personal growth as well as struggle.
My favorite tool in my tool box for staying motivated and happy was to intentionally work to be grounded in the moment, every moment, what is actually happening in the “now”. When I would stop and look around at any given moment I would see and do see that my life is pretty darn terrific, well at least for maybe 99% of those moments. For starters, I got a chance to indulge my inner homebody by being at home during the daylight hours most every day. Making a study of the way the sun moves from east to west and shines into my house on sunny days has been a source of joy. Being able to watch the transformation of my yard from fall to winter and spring and into summer has been a gift. Being grounded in the moment is even useful doing the routine tasks of job hunting and completing job applications. For each possible or appealing job description that I came across, I would stop to think about what having that job would be like day to day and imagine myself actually doing it. This helped me stay focused on the task at hand which was to enthusiastically sell myself as someone who could provide a great service to the employer. The danger of this was getting too attached to a particular opportunity and then not getting the response for which I had hoped. I needed to let go and move on to the next moment and the next opportunity.
Perhaps the best advice I have for someone also in a search for a new job is to establish a daily routine but be very flexible. You’ll have to give up some preconceptions but when you do there is more space for new ideas and approaches to both the search and your life. During my search, I’ve had the recurring fear that once I started a new job I would forget all the wonderful things that I have learned about myself and other people during my job search struggle. I guess that one of my new struggles in the next chapter of my life will be to intentionally work to remember and add to what I’ve learned and use that to make even more out of my new job and my life.