Digging Deep (staying rooted when you’re job hunting)
There are many reasons why a person looks for another job. Maybe they aren’t satisfied with the status quo; they want better pay or more flexibility. Potentially they want to be closer to home, or to work with a bigger/better/flashier company, or to climb the proverbial ladder? Perhaps…
These are all perfectly understandable reasons to be on the hunt for a new role. However, what if it’s the other side of the coin? What if it’s a necessity and not a luxury?
Imagine you are job hunting because you’ve lost your job. Maybe the reason is because you’ve moved from the other side of the world, where your qualifications and experience are not deemed relevant. You’ve gained qualifications for a very niche industry and now you find there are no relevant possibilities. Possibly there is a language barrier to deal with, or perhaps you’ve been a stay-at-home parent and now you’re going through a divorce. Whatever the reasons why, you now find yourself without a job and you need one to survive, to pay rent‑ to simply live.
This is when the stress factor revs up a thousand-fold and it is essential that you build a backbone made of steel and have a bucket load of determination to survive this patch. I recall a beautiful quote that I read in a book years ago when I was volunteering in Peru. This quote has stayed with me ever since: “Dig your roots deep, so you’re not destroyed when the storms of life hit you”. Storms will come, and these storms could present as a failed relationship, job loss, illness or a multitude of other challenging possibilities.
I’ve identified a few things that have helped me to keep my roots deep and that have eased me through difficult times. Hopefully you may find one or two things that will help you when you’re in between jobs.
- Hang with your tribe (your loved ones). It’s easy to isolate yourself when things are not going your way, but this is when you need the love, support and affirmation of those around you the most, especially those who will continue to encourage and uplift you.
- Make time to be you. Whether it’s hiking, Salsa dancing, reading a Charlotte Brontë novel or origami that brings you enjoyment, take time to do the activities that make you feel like yourself. It’s nice to just have a break and savour the little things. Enjoy those pockets of joy that are available to you.
- Walk/Run/Swim. When you are actively job-hunting and especially if you’ve been doing it for a while, it can cause significant anxiety and worry. This is when physical activity can help you stay mentally calm. The experts tout the benefits of regular exercise for a reason! Make sure that you include some form of movement, every day if you can. Stick to a routine.
- Volunteer. Helping others takes you away from focussing solely on your situation, whilst making a difference to someone. It could literally be an hour a week. It also is a good opportunity to grow and enrich your network.
- Pay attention to your inner/spiritual life. Consider learning how to meditate as it does a world of good and is proven to reduce anxiety and stress levels. I highly recommend even 5 or 10 minutes a day , and there are so many amazing Apps available to ease you into the practice, for example ‘Breathe’ and ‘Headspace.’
- Talk. When things get really tough, talk to someone. It’s hard to see forest for the trees when you’re in the thick of it. Talking to people will give you a little perspective. If things get really rough (not sleeping, high anxiety levels), it might pay to see a counsellor or a psychologist. Speak to your GP as they may be able to refer you for sessions or even Mindfulness courses through your local DHB.
- Recall and Reflect. Think about the hard times in the past and how you managed to get yourself through. Reflecting on how far you have come will remind you that no storms last forever, and that you will get through this too.
Remember, this is just one chapter in your life. In the meantime, stay strong and stay rooted. This too shall pass.