How Do You stay Positive In Your Job-Search?

Original Post: How Do You stay Positive In Your Job-Search?

This post is inspired from a recent conversation with @JRMoreau, @mehnazt & @abroman (all on Twitter)
It’s a tough slog out there for a lot of us looking for job, and have been at it for a long time. There has been much blog-writing about what people can do to keep themselves clued-in and busy while seeking a job. From volunteering, to unpaid internships, to professional networking events, there’s lots out there you can use your time toward, in a manner that is relevant to your professional goals.
But I’m no saint, and neither are lots of other job seekers out there. I know that after a point, the motivation and excitement in doing unpaid work slowly wanes. Activities that you hope will land you contacts, which will eventually (and hopefully) lead to a meeting (for a job), don’t always yield the right results, even if meticulously planned. It’s easy to feel pessimistic, lose faith in yourself and lose the personal drive to keep at it.
Over the last year that I’ve been seeking a job and volunteering opportunities, I’ve struggled to find ways to keep myself going. To move from one potential to the next without telling myself ‘it’s not worth it’. To continue to believe in myself every single day. I am always keen on knowing what others in a similar situation do to keep themselves motivated, and thought that writing about it would be a great way to find out. Hopefully this can also give tips and support to others in the same boat as me. So this is what has worked for me:

  1. Do one thing you always wanted to do / learn about but never had the time to do it: Remember when you had a job, and you said you’ve always wanted to run a marathon but never had the time to train for it? No excuses now! Being out of a full-time job means having more time on hand to pursue interests. Read a book you’ve always wanted to, teach yourself how to roller-blade, start a blog, or go meet a friend across town you never had the time to catch up with.I used the last year to teach myself about internet marketing.
    I also taught myself to cook (for real) and used the time to start my own food blog, that I also use as a medium to test social media promotion tactics.

  2. Maintain a schedule: Idle time and lack of a structure to your day is a sure-shot way to allow negative thoughts to creep in. Most of us are hard-wired into feeling useful when there’s a format to the day, and the lack of a full-time job removes that structure. I keep fixed times for meals, make a list of things I’ll tackle for the day (and then stick to it), end the day with defining a rough agenda for the next day, and I try and stop all job-search related work at about 6 pm, post which I cook dinner, and tend to chores. A lot like how I would do it if I did have a full-time job.

  3. Work out of your home as much as is possible: Variety in work environs often bring out the better in us. Besides, the lack of human interaction on a daily basis is just plain unhealthy. Step out of your home and work at a café, or at the library. You may even find a job-search buddy you can share notes with!

  4. Exercise: We all know exercising releases hormones that keep us happy. It is natural to think that one should only do activities that are job-search related after losing a job, and not ‘waste’ time doing anything else. In the process, I’ve seen several job seekers give up on their health. Exercising seriously does relieve stress (even if it’s a half hour walk every other day), takes your mind off things, and most importantly, is fantastic for your sanity! Combine pt 1 and 4 and you can take up that free introductory Pilates class you’ve always wanted to.

So what works for you? What do you do keep yourself upbeat while seeking a job? I’d love to hear from you!