You Can’t Pour from an Empty Cup

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Everyone knows the quote: “Finding a job is a full-time job in itself.”

This is completely true, but that also means you need a break once in a while! Finding a job or changing your career is hard, there’s no doubting that. Not all of us are lucky enough to get something right away, and sometimes it seems never-ending. Trust me, I know.

As I mentioned in 7 Quick Tips for the Job Search , staying positive is important, but also extremely difficult at times. After a few rejections and a slew of potential employers who simply didn’t respond, I found myself struggling with this a lot. Although I’m not sure what the average amount of time is for a college grad to find a job after leaving school, I consider my time to be slightly longer than most. I graduated in May 2014, and I didn’t start my current position until the end of February 2016. I never thought I would be in the position of struggling to find a job, but that is where I found myself during that time. To be totally blunt, it sucks. It really does.  No need to sugarcoat this, right? However, while I thought I was struggling to keep a positive attitude, my Dad actually commended me on my resiliency. Probably about half-way through this almost two-year period, he told me he was actually surprised at how well I was handling it, which was comical to me, since I didn’t think I was handling it particularly well at all.  But regardless of how I was feeling, I kept with it, kept applying for any job I thought would be in the realm of possibility. Was I always a positive ray of sunshine? Absolutely not.  But in this process, it’s important to give yourself a break and realize that some things are out of your control. What you can control is how you go about organizing yourself and how you let yourself unwind. I, of course, have tips for that.

The first thing I will tell anyone embarking on a career change or a job search is to make a spreadsheet. No matter what kind of organizer you are, having a spreadsheet with a list of the jobs you’ve applied to is incredibly helpful. Some employers/companies seem to take their abnormally slow time in getting back to you, or even starting their  interviewing process,  so having  a record you can refer back to is useful. If you’re going at this full speed, chances are you won’t totally remember every single job you applied for. My personal spreadsheet has four columns: place of employment, job title, application date (the date you apply) and interview. Under the last column, I put the date of my interview, as well as dates of any follow-up communication post-interview. The only reason I put this in a post about self-care is that I believe if your actions are organized, your mind will follow.

My second tip I also mentioned in 7 Quick Tips for the Job Search: Make time for yourself not to do any job search related things. The first step in this is to eliminate it on the weekends. The weekend should be yours to do with what you will and relax, not agonize over how to phrase your cover letter. For a while, I would search and apply every day of the week, but I burnt myself out. It’s not healthy to do that, especially not for your mind. I started limiting it to Monday-Friday, and also eventually only until 5 or 6pm on those days. I  can honestly tell you it helped. Taking time away from it allows you to come back refreshed and more motivated. Stretching yourself too thin isn’t going to help you in the long run. Will you add the number of jobs, you apply to, sure, but it’s better to do that with a clear mind and clear focus.2f0cf827ebc97819f6d3a198ce3ab118

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