I coach job seekers who feel they cannot take any time off from the search or they will miss an opportunity. They are aided in this thinking by those who say “you must make job seeking a full-time job!”
The implication is that if you don’t push yourself hard, you won’t find a job. Add to this any workaholic tendencies…and you have a recipe for exhaustion.
Gradually job seekers get so stressed and discouraged that they break down. You see, job search is not like a full-time job. The main difference: when searching for work, you get far more rejection than encouragement, far more disappointment than satisfaction, far more challenges than rewards. It’s the nature of the beast: you’re looking for your “right fit” job, and it takes “kissing a lot of frogs” to find that.
However, a human being can take only so much rejection, disappointment and challenge before they lose heart and get depressed.
One of my roles as coach is to be a personal cheerleader in the best sense of the term. I:
- Remind clients that they are getting closer to what they want.
- Point out how this interview went better than the last because they are getting more comfortable with talking about their core value proposition and experience.
- Help them see that this job is so much more aligned with their “must have list” than previous ones.
- Relate (anonymous) experiences from other clients to assure them that they are in the flow and the end result is definite: they will get work they really love.
This last one combats the underlying motivation for being a maniacally more-than-full-time job seeker: fear. Fear that they won’t find a job. Fear that they are really imposters and in fact have no skills. Fear that they’ll miss something really important and lose out forever.
AND…I also suggest that they take the weekend off, go see a movie, get out of town, read a book, take a nap (!) – anything but stay in the grind of looking for work!
Usually, my clients take this advice to rest, relax, play. Amazingly, miracles happen. They:
- Are refreshed
- Have a new perspective and are more optimistic
- Get some great ideas about who they could contact
- Feel closer to their family and friends
- Generally find the world to be a friendlier, happier place
I remember my coach telling me this same thing when I was working full-time. When I acted on her suggestion, I always realized that my “down time” was equally important to my success as my “work time.”
Significant others and friends can offer the same kind of suggestion, that the job seeker take a break once in a while. It’s difficult for someone emotionally involved with the job seeker to get past their own fear that the person won’t find a job.
Yet it is essential that a job seeker have at least one person in their camp who believes deep down that s/he WILL get a job, the right job. Who tells them it’s OK to take a break. Who reminds them that discouragement won’t last forever. Who understands that all work and no play make Jack and Jill very dull, depressed kids indeed.
For more wonderful words on taking a break, read this post from LeadershipFreak blog:
Fatigue and self-acceptance
By Dan Rockwell
Persistent fatigue is your opportunity to say something stupid, do something wrong, loose your temper, forget details, and destroy your health. (Adapted from Harvard Health)
Driving to success may drive you past tired to persistent fatigue. If it does, success is at risk.
Your desire to please others may drive you to exhaustion. However, exhausted people-pleasers don’t please any one.
Worst of all, in a world preaching self-acceptance, those living in persistent fatigue clearly reject themselves. They reject the limits of humanity.
I suggest persistent fatigue reflects short-sighted, fear-based, self-rejection.
Doing something new may defeat fatigue. For example, if you’re social, leave work and spend time with friends.
Give yourself permission to take a 10 minute mid-morning and mid-afternoon walk. Slow your pace, breathe deeply, and take in the sights.
Visit your doctor. Chronic fatigue may indicate sleep or other health issues.
If you let your hobby slip, find it again. If you don’t have one, finding one may help.
Most importantly, accept who you are. Freely embrace the limitations of your humanity. “No Limits,” at best, is a good marketing slogan. Don’t believe it.