Job search can create powerful life transformation.
It may not seem that way, what with the current statistics that show there are 4 million of us who are long-term unemployed. The Labor Department estimates there were 312,000 fewer unemployed in its last report, but studies show that number actually reflects the discouragement of 312,000 who've quit their job search, giving up.
Much of what is creating this unfortunate circumstance is the "stigma of long-term unemployment." There has always been a stigma around being laid off, as if it reflects poor performance and incapabilities at any level. In the recession, massive layoffs mostly had nothing to do with the skills of those who lost jobs. But Americans can't get past "It takes a job to find a job." You're considered unqualified in your profession if you're jobless for any reason.
"It's time for us to rethink job search," says Susan Howington, CEO of Power Connections, Inc., an outplacement and career coaching firm. "Job hunting can create a life for the better." Howington is author of How Smart People Sabotage Their Job Search: 10 Mistakes Executives Make and How to Fix Them! "We get locked into the computer sending out resumes, and miss opportunities that could bring constructive change to us."
Those happen by circulating in the working community through charity volunteering, apprenticeships, and internships. "I suggest a combination of them because the more you circulate outside your comfort zone, the more hope you'll have for meeting people who can decide to hire you," she says.
If you've exhausted all avenues for employment in your field, consider the strategy of taking a position in another field that will introduce you to people outside your sphere of contacts. Going back to the "it takes a job to find a job" principle, you can hope to meet another potential employer who can offer you a future move. You might even find happiness doing something that never caught your attention before.
All work is respectable, and offers hope for you to move forward in your life. Author John Maxwell says in Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Learn, "Hope is in the DNA of men and women who learn from their losses." Choosing hope, he says, "turns victims into victors. The courage of hope is always rewarded."
If you're immobilized by unemployment, small steps get you back into the job search scheme. "It becomes critical for us to polish our shoes, update our haircuts and hairstyles, and freshly press our wardrobes to circulate publicly again," Howington says. "Hope comes from action. Action leads to opportunity." Maxwell concurs. "Positive thinking must be followed by positive doing."
Job search can result in personal and professional growth. It's difficult to muster a positive perspective when pounding the pavement. An attitude of hope and victory while circulating among new acquaintances can bring renewed energy.
It could be your ticket to a job search payoff. It's a strategy worth a try.