Your Job-Rock, Paper, Scissors
The job search can and does feel like a crap shoot these days. When you may feel no matter you do, how many networking events you attend, how many job postings you apply to, you are in a mean game of rock, paper, scissors and you are always a mis-match! Even when you feel like your job search is more like a guessing game-guess again. You can win at this if you just sit back, and prepare yourself for an inevitable crap shoot with the occasional win.
It’s not all bad news. There was a teeny-tiny glimmer of hope this past week when the reports indicated a slight increase in the number of jobs in the U.S. That doesn’t mean it’s necessarily a job you may want or be qualified for, but it does tell us that however slight, there is hope out there. It’s been a tough last two years even for those who are struggling to hold onto their jobs. It’s not easy for anyone these days whether employed or unemployed. Having enough sense to protect yourself in either situation is the key to your survival in the coming months. Expecting the worst is never something you should dwell on. But understanding your “worst case scenario” isn’t a bad idea because, hey at least if you address it head on, you get the fear out of the way and you can move on to developing a strategy to help you through the tough times ahead.
Not knowing the outcome of a job search, inquiry or whether you get to keep the job you may currently be in is the inevitable way of the world. Even the self-employed need job security even if it’s in the guise of deciding whether to keep working for themselves or join the ranks of the many others still looking. It’s your ability to walk through the fear of the unknown however painful, take the guess out of the game, that will help you know that there truly is a light at the end of your job-tunnel.
It’s really simple. Write down the absolute worst things you think that can happen to you as you transition from employed to unemployed or, still looking after one year. Take the next 12 months ( I use to advise 6 months to look for a job but these days, to be safe, 12 months is a better barometer) and figure out what you have in terms of savings, resources, support, etc and list out what it will take you to survive. It might scare you to even think about it let alone memorialize in on paper, but the point to this exercise is to get the demons out of your head so that you can move forward with confidence and peace of mind in finding your next job or waiting for the right one to appear.
Sometimes when you actually face your fear head on you will be surprised out how much you can deal with that comes your way. Understanding that you have enough savings to pay the bills over the next year helps you stop worrying moment to moment and takes a bit of the edge off. It’s not a reason to slack off and go on holiday. But it does help you know that you are capable of surviving and helping yourself through the tough times even though panic inevitably sets in. So facing your worst possible fears helps you deal with the unknown and takes the guessing game out of whether you will crash or burn or rise like a Phoenix from the ashes. Objectively facing your own personal worst case scenario makes is less like a game of rock, paper scissors and more like a plan of action, where you know you can and will survive this down turn and come out ahead with the best of them!
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