“A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins with a Single Step.” (Lao-Tzo) by Dr. John Manni, Psychologist
July 26, 2011 by John Manni & Doug Barton
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.