Have you asked friends how they’re doing at work lately? Many people are feeling scared. The national news is filled with headlines about layoffs and an unstable economy. Unlike before, the layoffs no longer feel small and isolated. Big companies that we all know are laying off hundreds, if not thousands, of workers. Many are being laid off with little or no notice. The unemployment rate remains low, and there continue to be job postings. But, the state of the economy feels very uncertain. After three years of instability, people feel fear. It’s just that plain and simple.
This time of year, I often discuss the importance of having a job you love. You spend so much time at work that it is important to do work that is meaningful to you. It’s important to do work you can feel good about. This is all true. That said, there are also times you’re happy just to have a job. For many people, this is that point in time. If you’re feeling this way, what can you do?
Very often, how we feel at work isn’t really about the work we’re doing. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying that people don’t quit companies. They quit managers. And, that’s the truth. Sometimes, workers will leave for a better salary. But, they wouldn’t have been looking if they hadn’t been unhappy.
If you are in a situation that feels tough, look around you. One way to combat unhappiness at work is to find a work friend. It sounds silly at first, but it works. Having someone to talk to about what’s going on in the office can create a support structure that is otherwise lacking. It can give you a sounding board on hard days. It can give you another reason to come to work and put your best foot forward when you’re not feeling it. It can give you one person you can trust and count on.
In most situations, finding a work friend is easier than finding a new job. And, if switching jobs during an uncertain economic period is more of a risk than you’d like to take, it’s time to build up the support system at your existing job.
If you’re lucky enough to have a work friend or two, don’t discount how important they are in your life. They are your buffer that will help you make it through tough times. They’ll help you to love days that might otherwise be unbearable. They’ll have your back, and shelter you from the storm happening in other areas of the company. Cherish those people. They’re special. They’re the ones you may even work with again in the future – at another company.
As always, if you have a new opportunity on the horizon, go for it. But, if you need to keep things steady, focus on friendships. Focus on the people who help you to love your job a little bit more.
Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in iTunes or Stitcher.
Excuses are dream killers. Lets be honest. I have heard so many over the years from job seekers who are looking for a new job.
“My resume isn’t good enough yet. I can’t possibly apply.”
“I don’t have the right education. I should go back to school.”
“I need to completed my certification. They won’t take me seriously.”
“They think I’m old. It’s pointless.”
“They think I’m unattractive. There’s no hope.”
“I don’t believe in LinkedIn. I don’t want to try it.”
“I don’t want to bother other people. I don’t want to email the decision maker.”
“I don’t think they like me. Why try?”
“That’s not the way I was taught to job search. I don’t want to try something new.”
“I’m not sure if I will like the job, so I shouldn’t apply.”
“Interviewing would take up too much time. I have other things to do.”
“I can’t network. I don’t have time for it.”
“Networking makes me uncomfortable. I’d like to get a job without doing it.”
“I don’t fit all of the requirements on the job description. I shouldn’t apply. They may judge me.”
“I applied there before and wasn’t selected. They will never pick me again.”
“My family member doesn’t think I would do well at that job. It’s hopeless to try.”
“I’m sure I don’t have the right experience. They will never want to talk to me.”
The list could go on. But, you get the idea. There are lots and lots of reasons we can all come up with about why we didn’t get a job, or shouldn’t apply for a job.
Some of those reasons could even be valid. Ageism, for example, is a very real thing. But, your age (like many of the other factors listed) is just a fact of life.
You can do things to reduce the impact of your age (or other factors) on your search. But, you have to keep searching! You can’t give excuses and then give up — and still expect to find a new job.
I meet smart, qualified people every day. Those same smart, awesome people explain to me all the reasons they can’t possibly find a new job.
Then, I meet other people who are equally smart and qualified. This second group of people isn’t any more or less qualified than the first group. But, you know what? They are having an easier time finding a job.
WHY is that?
To put it simply, they aren’t making excuses. They are pushing forward with their existing resume and qualifications and they are looking for a new job anyway. They are networking and having informational interviews — even when they are uncomfortable. They are trying new ways of searching. They are signing up for LinkedIn. They are continuing to apply for jobs — even after being rejected.
Seriously, their qualifications aren’t better. Heck, they suffer from the same self-conscience issues that we all do. But, the big difference is — they aren’t making up excuses and they’re still trying. They don’t give up.
That’s it. There’s no secret. They are pushing ahead despite everything else. They realize that they just need one good job offer, and they’re looking for the one. They aren’t focusing on the sixty job applications that didn’t turn out to be a fit.
They are focused on their success. They’re focused on the future. And, they make no excuses!
The best way to find out if you’re a good fit for a job is to apply. Apply, and interview for the job. Learn more about the company. Just move forward, and make no more excuses.
Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on iTunes or Stitcher where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in iTunes or Stitcher.
In the age of oversharing online, it seems that searching for a job is one of the last topics that anyone wants to share. The world’s largest job site, Indeed.com, recently commissioned a study by Censuswide, surveying 10,000 job seekers around the world – in the U.S., Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, The Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.
As you would expect, 65% of job seekers worry that others may find out they’re looking for a new job. 24% of job seekers ranked their job search as the topic they’re least likely to share on social media. This is right up there with personal finances.
And, this makes sense. In much of the U.S., workers have limited employment protections. Simply put, an employer can fire you for a reason. Or, they can fire you for no reason at all. If they know you’re looking for a new job, they may perceive you to be disloyal. And, disloyal employees are at risk for being let go.
They don’t have to give you advanced warning. We’ve all had a friend who has been walked out of the building of their workplace with a small box of their personal things. That horrific thought is enough to cause you to never speak about your own search, ever again.
Professor Paul Dolan, Behavioral Economist at London School of Economics also pointed out the need to be seen as successful. “Admitting that we are looking for a job means exposing others to our potential success or failure. To avoid embarrassing ourselves, we choose to hide our searches.”
This also holds true in romantic relationships. Researchers found that half of job seekers don’t tell their partners when they’re applying for a new job. Those over age 55 are even more likely to keep searches hidden.
Although surprising, this finding makes sense. If you’re searching online, you may apply to a large number of jobs before landing a first round interview. If it takes thirty applications to land one phone interview, who wants to have that conversation with a spouse thirty times? Rather than feel like one successful phone interview, it may very well feel like twenty nine failed applications. Often, a new job requires a lifestyle change of some kind. Waiting until things are more firm allows the job seeker to avoid some level of judgement and conflict.
That said, keeping career changes from your partner isn’t recommended. Your career greatly impacts your personal life, and if you’re sharing that life with someone else, your decisions will impact them too.
But, when it comes to colleagues, there really is good reason to be cautious. Even if you’re doing a great job in your current role, your boss may have second thoughts about you if they know you’re looking. When you tell others about your search, you risk losing control of your search. As it’s clear, job searching really is the last taboo.
Angela Copeland, a career coach and founder of Copeland Coaching, can be reached at copelandcoaching.com.
Okay, this is going to sound strange. But, bear with me. After having coached hundreds of folks on their job searches, I’ve noticed a pattern. And, it’s not one I would have expected.
What’s one of our number one fears when it comes to job searching? It’s actually that we will get the job! That’s right. We are afraid of being offered a job.
Why in the world would that be the case? It’s a great question, and the answer to this important question could unlock a key to the job search.
First, let’s rewind a bit. Think back on how you got your current job. Then, think about how you got the job before and the job before that. If you’re like most people, you got most of your jobs through a networking contact. Someone happened to know who you were. They thought you might be a great fit, and they offered you a job. It was as simple as that.
This makes our deliberate job search so much more difficult. We have much less experience selecting what we want to do, and then going after it. We’ve typically just gone with the flow. If a friend thought we might be good at sales, we tried sales. If an uncle had an operations role available at his company, we gave it a shot.
Proactively and deliberately searching for a job takes on so much more responsibility for our own futures. So, why would we fear a job offer when we are clearly looking for a new job?
Well, if you’re like most people, you have taken most every (if not every) job you have ever been offered. When your friend or your uncle told you about a great opportunity, you went for it.
The thing is, when you aren’t quite sure what you want to be, you might be afraid of getting a job offer because it could mean taking a job that’s not right for you. We are afraid that we will be offered something because we assume that being offered a job means taking a job.
So, we sit and stir. We think and think about what we might want to be – one day. But, we are so paralyzed with fear about making the wrong choice that we make no choice.
But, what if – what if we decided that it would be okay to say no to a job offer that didn’t feel like the right fit? What if we decided that it wouldn’t be wasting the company’s time to go through the interview process, even if we didn’t take the job?
My guess is that we would be less paralyzed by fear. We would look at job searching more like a fact finding mission rather than a scary commitment. And, why not? The company would happily interview a candidate five times before walking away if there wasn’t a good fit. Why wouldn’t we as candidates be willing to do the same thing for ourselves?
Angela Copeland is a Career Coach and Founder of Copeland Coaching and can be reached at CopelandCoaching.com or on Twitter at @CopelandCoach.
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