I hope that isn’t what you believe, because it simply isn’t so. Unfortunately, some of the people we meet in our workshops start out feeling that way. Yes, even though the economy is showing some signs of growth the job market is still weak, but it isn’t dead. The number of people gaining re-employment may not be huge, but some people are finding work!
I use the word “finding” instead of “getting” because the former is active and the latter passive. Psychologists use the concept “locus of control” to describe the extent to which some people believe their destiny is in their own hands versus those who believe their future is reliant on luck. People who think that outside forces play a major role in their lives are considered to have an external locus of control. They have a tendency to feel that success takes a lot of luck and being in the right place at the right time. These individuals believe that there isn’t much they can do to influence their lot in life.
In contrast, other people feel they are largely in control of their destiny and are described as having an internal locus of control. For them, hard work and perseverance pay off, even when it comes to looking for work. They know that a job isn’t going to fall into their lap, and they’re certainly not going to wait until the economy has fully recovered before making a conscientious search.
For sure a little luck can help. It helps even more if you create opportunities for luck to befall you. What does that mean? Keep applying for every position you’d like to get. Tell everyone you know – family, friends, parents of your children, service providers – the kind of job you’re looking for. Feel in your heart that you are in the driver’s seat and there is a good job out there waiting for you to find it.
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In today’s economy, finding a job may seem like a journey of a thousand miles. Unfortunately, estimates range from 6 to 9 months. For some, the search has exceeded a year. It is at such times that following the advice of the 4th century Chinese philosopher, Lao-Tzo, may help keep your head above water. It is a good way to remind yourself that it will take perseverance to land your next job and the journey will be accomplished one step at a time.
Why is it so difficult to keep at the job search? One reason is that we are wired, so to speak, to receive reinforcement such as a salary or positive feedback on a regular basis. While searching for a job, weeks can go by without anything happening to boost your morale. It therefore becomes critical that you begin to reinforce yourself. Positive reinforcement means more than praise or recognition from others, it can be giving yourself a reward for doing something constructive. Promise yourself that you’ll pick up your favorite mystery novel or take a walk after spending time on your computer or making phone calls. Pick activities that are simple but pleasant.
Objectively evaluating your progress is also helpful. Keep track of both your job search activities and pleasurable activities. Review your notes each day and use them to set goals for the next day. Remember to pat yourself on the back after an active day. Congratulate yourself based on your efforts. It may take months to get the next job, but it is the day-in-day-out steps you take that will lead to the big pay off.
When working on a book for over three years, I found it critical to start each day pushing myself to take the first step. In this case I asked myself to write one paragraph. Inevitably, one step led to working for hours.
While looking for a job, you are your own boss. It is up to you to set goals, set up your daily schedule, monitor your progress and reward yourself for efforts made.
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