While a job search can be a time of great hope about new opportunities, it can also be a time of uncertainty and anxiety, especially in today’s job market. It is a reality that you may experience highs and lows in the span of a single day or week. It can feel like an emotional roller coaster ride that never ends. You might be so excited one moment to learn that you obtained an interview for a job you felt so qualified for, but discouraged and disappointed the next when you find out that the job went to someone else. On the other hand, you might be unhappy one moment because no one is returning your emails or calls, but elated the next when you finally get a response. Here are a few tips to help you deal effectively with the emotional roller coaster.
The knowledge of what lies ahead.
When you know what is coming, you prepare yourself emotionally, and you will be less likely to personalize things, allowing yourself to move forward with a focused strategy. Keep in mind our job search could be as short as several weeks, but most likely in these times, several months. There will be ups and downs. One week you may have networking meetings set and interviews scheduled, people are responding to your emails and you feel encouraged and hopeful — and then other weeks, crickets, nothing… Knowing from the start that you will experience these ebbs and flows can help prepare you to better anticipate and handle them when they do occur.
Talk it through and get the support you need
Having someone to talk to throughout your job search, such as a career coach, an accountability group: others in the same situation you are such past coworkers or friends in the industry, someone beyond your close friends and family, can help you with the emotional roller coaster that you may experience. Just talking things through with someone will help you process the feelings you are having.
Get out and be active!
Your daily routine should include activities that give you energy and leave you feeling fulfilled. Take a walk, go for run, read a book, listening to music or engage in some other activity that re-energizes you. Your mood and overall energy level will show in your interactions with others. This will also increase positive attitude, self-esteem, and motivation. Studies have shown that those who are mentally and physically stronger were more confident and focused going into interviews.
Control the controllables
Finally, it is so easy to fall back on old habits and thoughts of feelings of discouragement when things do not progress in the job search, the way you thought they would. Perhaps the hiring manager has not gotten back to you as promised. Stop for a moment and take a step back to think about priorities. Unfortunately, you may not be high on their list. Seeing this perspective can help you to not take the situation personally. It is so important to remember that you can only control the controllables. You dictate your next move in your job search strategy, but you cannot control the other person’s next move. I have often heard people say, keep rowing, or keep moving forward, put things into perspective and control only what you can control!
Shelley Miller, Career Services Director at JF&CS
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