I am putting 2016 down to be my worst year – from getting over the toxic old company, relocating back but more the lack of the job.
I’ve never been in this position and rejection is hard. Not working means I am a different version of me.. I can’t make plans for big nights out, I can’t plan a holiday. I may as well wear a badge to save me repeating the line “when I have a job”.
But what has this experience taught me?
Well after one real dip – I was down – really down. I removed myself from any social life (as I say that is limited anyway) and decided I couldn’t see anyone for the weekend. Odd decision for someone like me who really doesn’t need their own space (so tell me why I am single?!) but I couldn’t deal with it. But by Sunday, the mood lifted
The reality is that only I can get me out of this.. I can’t ask someone else to re-write my CV, I can’t ask them to apply for jobs for me and I can’t send them to the interview. Moping won’t fix this. Only I can.
Instead of staying in my cave I told my friends and family that the subject of jobs is in the cave. I politely asked them not to ask as every time I have to answer “no nothing yet” or reveal the detail of more bad news it refreshes negative talk in my head. Repeat that too many times and you feel negative. Then you start feeling a loser. Plus I am confident that I am doing everything I can do.. what happens when you say “nothing yet” is that people go into advice mode.. then you get defensive and feel a loser. The reality is they’re doing it to feel better about the awkwardness too. (a friend last night admitted she did to feel better herself) but it doesn’t help and rather than me feel I have to justify myself (my insecurity) its easier to ban the subject.
Seeing friends and family is essential for me – but re-living the bad stuff – no it’s not and that was a turning point. When I see them it’s a break from the job hunt and we talk about anything else. It’s like being back in the real world again! (I promise, not working is more isolating and more harmful to you sense of self or your identity that you can imagine)
So what have I realised in my reflection?:
Well, I am more optimistic and more resilient than I have given myself credit for until now. Maybe it’s my practical side – but there’s no time for wallowing and the technique to ban the subject keeps me optimistic. Imagine saying out loud 10 times a day that I got declined.. its no good for the soul
I haven’t been bored .. job hunting and exercise keep me busy. But on top of that I have found ways to address my laziness (well excuse today where I confess, I haven’t left the house).
All the years I have said that I should be better read when it comes to HR / leadership books and I have started to read those.
I have started to document learnings into one reference spot to help me once I am working.
I re-wrote my CV and I am so much prouder of the new version of how I present myself.
I started this site.. I have always said I would love to write but a phrase that haunts me is“people are judged by their actions not intentions” now for as long as I can remember it’s been a fantasy. I’d love to write a novel and I have a screen play buzzing round my mind. And yet I never write. Now’s the time to practice. I know this isn’t fiction.. but even the discipline of sitting down to write can only help right?!
I can always find things to do.
And whilst I knew this. I have the most amazing friends. they have their ways of checking I am okay whilst respecting the rule. Generosity and you know what – people surprise you – it’s amazing. A friend who I have only known in a group before this week insisted on taking me out for lunch. A gesture so touching. Another friend sent a gift in the post. Feeling that love is priceless.
What advice would I give to someone out of work?
- your CV / resume
Leaving Jamaica I improved my CV..it was far from the one pager (I am not convinced by that anyway) and I was getting interviews.
I then had an awkward moment when the interviewer took a line from a few jobs back and asked for the detail. I had NO IDEA what it referred to! I blagged as best I could but that taught me it was time to strip it back further.
When re-writing the CV I realised that the older version had been more for me.. I worked hard on those projects and of course I want to show what I have done. BUT
REMEMBER WHO THE AUDIENCE OF THE RESUME IS FOR
It’s not for you – it’s for the reader.
Keep it simple, highlight key points that you need them to know.
If you have had a career in the same discipline you don’t have to keep all the day to day / BAU elements in. The reader will know from your job title.
As I say, my old CV was doing okay – but now I love that I have that different format (check out enhancv.com and get tougher on yourself and you will love the result)
2. Be selective on who you meet with
What I realised, that in the past, I have been in roles and had calls from agencies or companies asking if I’d be interested in a role. If I am, I go along and without sounding arrogant, in the main I have got it. my success rate wasn’t 100% but it was close.
When you’re not working, agencies can convince you to go along to anything. In your worried state about finances you march along and ignore that nagging voice in your ear about the company not even being that interesting to you.
then you get rejected (caveat here .. its not been THAT many!) and it hurts. Rejection hurts wherever it’s from. possibly more hurtful when it’s from a place you wouldn’t have entertained in the normal run of things. Why put yourself in a position to be rejected if you know that should they offer there’d be doubt in your mind? Stay selective if you can afford to be.
3. Sign with more agencies. I signed with one who I got to final stage with but she put me through a tough interview and gave me valid feedback. I know that when I am working again I would gladly use the agency as it wasn’t a superficial meeting of being told I am great.
Companies use a mix of agencies and some roles dont get advertised. An agency representing you means you are more likely to get the interview.
sure there are some rough ones out there. But sign up to 8 and you will lilely have 3 that will work for you.
4. Stay positive
I have covered this I am sure. But speaking to a friend in the same boat when he was in a bad way – he hit the lethargy – he was giving up.
But as I say – only you can do this. There isn’t a job fairy and sory – readers of “The Secret” who think the universe will bring it along to you from positive thinking.. landing a job takes effort.
5. Stay healthy and take action
eating well, exercise keeps you more positive about yourself and into action mode.
laying in bed, attaching yourself to the sofa does nothing.
sit at home on takeaways when feeling low – sorry – recipe for depression
6. Take the feedback
I was told by a headhunter that my CV needed work. But I was so positive that it wouldnt be long that I ignored him (he and i went back years and the feedback was given in a blunt way)
But taking action helps – when i dipped i felt better when doing something to make me feel more in control,
Okay I can’t control my competition but I can influence how a potential employer sees me.
hence a new CV and reflection on interviews and more prep. Learn and apply the learning.
the friend who dipped still hasn’t updated his CV.. he had only had one interview .. now he is great, and has a great track record but the CV doesn’t show that to me. Yet he still is sending the same version out
and what is the definition of insanity – doing the same thing and expecting a different result (thank god I don’t promote this blog, I’d hate him to read this.. but the lesson is there).
7. Network and get active on Linkedin and relevant sites
The longer you’re not working, the easier it is to lose confidence. Keep reading up on what’s going on in your industry, meet people and chat about the hot topics. read the books you haven’t had time to read.
Keep your mind engaged and you’ll realise you know more than you give yourself credit for.
8.. Don’t give up
9. Once it is over, remember how hard it is.. empathise and pay it forward