There is hope in the air. Every day brings news of mostly peaceful demonstrations with people taking action to change race relations in this country. And the protests are starting to show small results…. a) Confederate symbols dismantled; b) Walmart ending the practice of locking up African-American cosmetics behind the counter; c) Quaker Oats retiring the Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben’s brands. This is LONG overdue, only a beginning.
You ask, why am I, a career coach discussing politics? Because taking action in any challenging, seemingly impossible situation is inspiring. I don’t intend to minimize the importance and difficulty of the needed social change in our country by comparing it with a job search. My intention is only to give anyone looking for a job a “kick in the pants”. Yes a job search is hard, but it does not compare with the courageous, tenacious actions taken by the heroes of the Black Live Matter movement!
Be Tenacious, Take Action!
I KNOW how it feels to be unexpectedly let go from a company – 3 times in my career. I felt scared and hopeless while also trying desperately to sell myself in interviews without giving off any hint of desperation.
One time was during the dot-com bust. The local tech economy was in a deep recession. Three weeks before Christmas, on December 6, 2002, both my husband and I were laid off. Our children were 4 yrs old and 9 yrs old. I never want to be that scared again. But my responsibility to my family propelled me into action. I couldn’t let fear consume me.
“Action is a great restorer and builder of confidence. Inaction is not only the result, but the cause, of fear.” ―Norman Vincent Peale
I know in my bones the truth of this quote. Any action is better than no action. Focus on near-term goals, small, incremental steps that will morph into progress over time. For me, weekly goals are key to progress. Each Sunday I review the coming week. First I block out scheduled appointments, time for sleep (yes, I am very possessive of my sleep), exercise, time with friends/family and relaxation. Then I list clear, actionable weekly goals for a job search.
- Review new job listings 30 minutes per day.
- Ask 5 people to endorse my skill in resume writing.
- Contact 2 people for informational interviews or a conversation on how to support each other in advancing our careers.
These actions/goals are not dependent on anyone except for me. I am in complete control. And with that sense of control comes POWER. The power to be proactive, goal-orientated and tenacious. While I have no idea what will come from completing these weekly actions, at least the feeling of power and purpose WILL counteract the negativity of a job search during a pandemic.