My Unemployed Life: Should I Give Myself A Deadline To Find A Job?
What do you try when you feel like you've already tried everything to find a full-time job?
I've been at this now for 32 months. I'm no novice at the search for work anymore; luckily for me, my skills have become well-honed.
Actually, it's ironic: Usually experience is a good thing, but the more job hunting experience you have, the worse it is for you because it means that you still don't have a job. It's an area, like burying husbands (I did that once, which was much more than enough), in which you don't want to gain experience. Anyway, it came to me in a flash of intuition today that I need to set a goal. Out of nowhere I heard my inner voice saying, "I want to have a job by Christmas." I don't know where that came from or why, but there it was.
I started to think about it and I like the idea of setting a deadline for myself. It gives me a concrete amount of time within which to work. I don't know why I've never thought of approaching the search this way before.
While I've been unemployed, I've found that I tend to look ahead and see nothing specific: just weeks and months and years of blank time stretching out before me. I sometimes feel like I'm adrift, floating in this limbo between my last job and my next one.
But we all know that time, even when it seems endless, is sadly finite. Sooner or later, there's going to be that one last milestone for each of us. So it makes sense to stop thinking that there will always be time -- to find a job or to do anything else, for that matter. I've been very conscious of this for a long time, but never in connection with my job search.
I think this will help me focus, to concentrate on the steps I need to take to achieve this goal. Maybe viewing my job search from a different perspective will make a difference. It just feels better to think that my search will actually come to an end. Even if I don't know that it will, just looking at it this way makes me feel more positive. It gives me more control over this process.
Now I'm brainstorming some "next steps" to help me reach my goal by Christmas. That's about 15 weeks away. Let's see, what do I need to do if I'm going to make a fresh start of this, with a definite conclusion in a few months?
Some ideas pop into my head right away:
- Make sure my resume is up-to-date and effective.
- Join a new networking group.
- Improve my profile on LinkedIn.
- Use Twitter to help me find a job (or be found for a job).
- Learn how Facebook can assist me in my job search.
I like this deadline thing. It makes me feel like it's worth trying some things I haven't, or haven't done in awhile. Starting over frees me to approach things in new ways instead of staying stuck in my old ones.
And the questions: What if Christmas arrives and my present -- a new job -- hasn't? Then what will I do? Will I quit trying? Will I extend my deadline? Will I attempt yet another brand new start?
Maybe I'm just playing mind games, trying to trick myself into believing that I can simply impose a beginning and an end onto this, as if it's just another household project. It's not. Like life, it's impossible to predict the endpoint of a job search.
Then there's this question: Am I setting myself up for even greater disappointment if I pretend my search is almost done and it's not? Could be. But if it helps me feel more optimistic for awhile, then it may be worth it.
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More From Fran Hopkins
- Is There Any Light At The End Of This Tunnel?
- Is 8 Percent Unemployment The New 'Normal'?
- Am I Not Getting The Job Because I Don't Expect To?
Fran Hopkins is a lifelong NJ resident and Baby Boomer who’s been searching for full-time work since losing her job in a January 2010 layoff. While “between jobs,” she’s earned an MS degree in Health Communication, does freelance writing and public relations, and is actively involved in the NJ chapter of the Association for Women in Communications. Her household includes a college-age son and an assortment of pets.
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