Job Hunt Basics: Lesson 3
(This lesson continues where Lesson 2 left off.)
Do NOT Go at It Alone. Get the Help You Need
In the book “What Color Is Your Parachute? 2010: A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers” Richard Nelson Bolles says that a huge percentage of job hunters quit after two months. They just check out and stop looking. Take a look at Parachute chapter 1 for the details and statistics. (You may have noticed I pull a lot of material from this book. As I mentioned in previous lessons, this is a great resource. You can read my Parachute book review to learn all about it.)
During my job search, and I’m about as positive and highly motivated a person as they get, there were days when getting out of bed was a struggle. Those days, the blues got the best of me. I say this mainly to take the stigma away from it. This is less a sign of weakness and more a sign that losing your job and looking for work is tough.
Before things get too difficult, prepare yourself. Consider a book like “Real Life: Preparing for the 7 Most Challenging Days of Your Life.” I’m sure there are others, but this book gives you insight into what happens when you experience a loss or trauma in life. Don’t underestimate it. A job loss can be as traumatic as a moving to a new city, divorce or even the death of a loved one. Real Life reviews the dynamics of any difficult life experience and provides practical advice for getting through it. This book can be a resource for your spouse as well. During my job loss and job search, my wife went through a tougher time than I did.
And please don’t discount this book because you wonder about the author Dr. Phil. This book’s a a great resource. If you look around, I’m sure you can find other resources that are just as good, but my message is this,
“Don’t underestimate how rough a time this might be.”
You need to prepare so you stay in top form. Marathon runners need training for the endurance they will need. Job seekers need to prepare for a potential long haul.
You can give my Real Life book review a read to learn more about how this book might be of help to you.
BTW, if you aren’t much of a reader, consider subscribing to something like Audible.com. Services like this enable you to download books and hear them on your iPod or MP3 player. They’re currently running a special that enables you to get a free copy for signing up. Just click here. (BTW, I listened to my copy of Real Life on my IPOD. Dr. Phil himself does the reading.) If you don’t have a player, these work nicely on a computer as well. Another alternative is to check them out in tape or CD for at your local library. Definitely a money saver.
On the same note, let me share with you a TV news story I saw. It explained how unemployed Japanese workers would continue dressing up in the morning, leave the house and then spend their days in the city parks. (A recent episode of “Desperate Housewives” included a similar situation.) They couldn’t tell their families. The disgrace and shame was just too much. That sounds so horrible.
I can’t stress how important it is for you to stay connected. Every person you know should be fully aware that you are out of work and need help landing that next job. You should begin searching for a job support group, either a formal one or one you build yourself, to get things moving.
During my 2004 job loss, I discovered the group Back on Track Network (BOT). I’ve mentioned them in previous lessons in this course. The group provided me with practical, motivational and spiritual support during my “time off.” BOT was founded by six out of work professionals who were looking for work in 2001. They supported each other through their respective ordeals and, once they found employment, made a point of creating an organization to support others the same way they supported each other. It led to their forming this nonprofit group.
It was a godsend for me. I like to think of it as something like an Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) program. That program works because who better than a drinker (preferably a former one) to advise another drinker. I believe the same holds true when it comes to job seekers.
This program did wonders to support me when I was looking for work.
(BTW, Keith Ferrazzi’s most recent book Who’s Got Your Back: The Breakthrough Program to Build Deep, Trusting Relationships That Create Success–and Won’t Let You Fail elaborates on this support concept. In my Who’s Got Your Back book review I explain how Ferrazi recommends you surround yourself with the people whenever you face any big challenge. A job hunt is a big challenge.)
I believe so strongly in this approach that I sat as Back on Track Network board of directors for a three year stint and continue helping that group anyway I can. My work with BOT is what led to my launching Career Jockey.
There are support groups like BOT at churches, civic organizations and chambers of commerce. If you can’t find one start your own. A former customer of mine lost his job and he started a group. He’d meet weekly with a group of job seekers at a local restaurant that gave that a place to squat.
In some cases, getting support may include getting professional help. If you’re married, you may run into relationship issues with your spouse. Don’t be ashamed. If you broke your arm or had appendicitis, you’d go and get help. This isn’t much different here.
See if your benefit plan has an Employee Assistance Plan (EAP). EAPs usually include a small set of FREE mental health sessions which may be all you need. If you don’t have medical benefits, tap the local churches. Many have fully licensed mental health professionals charging reasonable rates. Some even use a sliding scale and charge you depending upon your ability to pay. And don’t underestimate how valuable it might be to meet with clergy or lay ministers trained to help you at just this time.
As a final note, our Back on Track Network team in South Florida even had to deal with a suicide. That was a scary time for us and I only repeat it here to make you aware that this is serious stuff. Get help if you need it.
Hope this helps.
Stay tuned for the next lesson, “Finding the Hiring Manager That Wants to Meet You Badly“.