Staying positive, in and of itself, when you are searching for a job is not only a daunting task, but is honestly really crucial to your search. There is so much negativity that can both surround and spring from job hunting, it can be truly difficult to stay positive. I struggle with it all the time. Sometimes I lose. Sometimes I have really tough moments, or even really tough days (yep, plural). But I bounce back (okay maybe it’s more of a slow rise than a bounce on occasion, nonetheless, back up I go…) and I know I have to keep it up, keep ME up, or I will lose the whole war, not just the battle.
The tough moments come sometimes out of the blue, or are sometimes caused by rejection, but mostly I think it is the slow, blind, grinding of hours and days spent looking at hundreds of job openings and, though I write cover letter after cover letter, resume tweak after resume tweak, nothing happens. It wears down my resolve, frays my nerves and makes one tiny word grow louder and louder in my head until all my positive energy is used up trying to drown it out. “WHY?” grumbles, pesters, screams across my thoughts and all of a sudden I find myself feeling oh-so-NOT-positive.
“Why can’t I find a job if there are so many job openings?”
“Why don’t I get any callbacks?”
“Why did I decide to __________ in my past so I don’t look more hireable now?”
“Why doesn’t anybody want me?”
“Why am I such a failure?”
Yep, I know, extreme, negative, depressing, supremely unhelpful. But sometimes that’s just the way it goes. And when it does, there’s a big ugly black hole pulling me away from any progress I could be making.
My logical brain knows (thank goodness) that all those Why’s are unproductive, if not downright crazy. I know most jobs listed online are already filled internally or by people who know the right people. I know the thousands of applications swirling around with mine out there in the Monster-ous ether are too much for any one hiring manager to deal with. I know that I have lived a great life and would not be who I am today if I had made different decisions. I know that this wild, and currently fruitless, hunt is no reflection on my self worth and my significance to others. I KNOW those things. I still feel like crap anyway, some days. But luckily, since I KNOW, I also now know that the craziness is my signal to take a break, instead of kicking myself for feeling bad, thence feeling even worse.
When I am feeling terrible about, well, the whole d@mn thing, I know that I will NOT write as well, I will NOT be as creative in my approach to either search or application, I will NOT be as efficient, I will NOT apply for jobs at or above my goal/experience/salary level, but only to those my crazy, negative brain thinks I am worthy of (fast food? really?), etc etc etc. I simply will be wasting my time and leaping into that black hole of sad insanity. Neither of those are good things, should you wonder; I have tried them and advise that you don’t. So when the WHYs get so loud they begin to make me sad, I stop. I stop hunting, digging, writing, applying, brainstorming, staring blankly… and walk away from it all for just a little while and I get better.
I have to admit that I don’t know the exact reason behind my change back from a negative to a positive mindset all the time. Once in a while I just get the pleasant surprise of randomly feeling better and taking another step forward, like the cliche “sun coming out from behind the clouds.” Most of the time though, I see the negative slide and have gotten to know myself well enough after all these crazy, adventurous years to know what/who/where helps me to turn myself around. Staying positive, or getting back to feeling positive, is very personal, what I do may not be beneficial to you at all. I’ll give some of my suggestions in another post, but really you have to get to know yourself and find Your best ways of turning the mess around. It’s worth it, now and in the long run, when we find our dream Jobs! Right?! right??