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Job Search Blues

Word Count = 1,023

When I was a youngster back in the 1950s, I remember that people hoped for some lucky break or miracle to lift them out of their poor circumstances and magically transport them to a life of affluence and ease. The movies and novels of the times often used this concept.

The capriciousness of destiny was a favorite subject with the authors of this time. In their world, people’s lives were at the mercy of trifling accidents from day-to-day. A person’s life was spoiled because one letter was stolen or went astray. The hero rose from obscurity to wealth and fame through meeting a casual stranger in an airport or through saving someone from drowning at the seashore. One false step ruined an otherwise promising career. One turn of Fortune’s wheel solved all problems for someone else.

Of course, all of this is nonsense. In the end, you demonstrate your character, and you can’t ultimately miss the mark for which you’re fitted because of any outer accident. A particular incident may give you a temporary advantage or cause you passing grief or inconvenience, but it doesn’t change your life’s story.

Energetic and enterprising people who attend to their careers will make a success of their lives whether or not they meet a helpful stranger in an airport, and whether or not a particular letter concerning them is lost. The miscarriage of a letter may deprive them of a particular position; meeting with a helpful and influential stranger may bring their success a little sooner, but if they have the qualities demanded for success, they will succeed in any case. This concept may seem obvious – even trite – but it has hidden behind it an enormous power for good and accomplishment.

Here are a few thoughts that could cause something positive to happen and go a long way in battling the job search blues:

1. Hold your head up. It’s impossible to go through a job search without running over a few potholes along the way – failing to secure a quick job offer, for example. The setback may seem disastrous for a time but it doesn’t necessarily mean the end of all hope for future success – unless you let it. How well you overcome the discouragement of a job loss largely is determined by one thing: ATTITUDE.

While you frequently can’t control a chain of events that results in a significant disappointment, you can control how you approach your situation. Maintaining a positive attitude in the face of adversity is a time-tested method for overcoming setbacks. Look through the newspaper regularly or listen to the news on TV and you’ll find examples of individuals triumphing over obstacles - of mind over matter. It’s the stuff heroes and legends are made of.

2. Maintain a healthy self-image. A healthy self-image helps you reach your goals; a secure sense of self helps you overcome disappointment. Let’s say, for instance, that one of your biggest goals is to be appointed to a senior level management position by a certain age. You work hard and sacrifice for it. What would failure to achieve that top-echelon appointment mean?

It doesn’t necessarily mean you aren’t qualified or good enough for the job. Perhaps your company is unable to fully utilize your energy and drive. Maybe this is a signal that it’s time for you to explore new job opportunities with the potential to match your skills and ambitions. But one thing is certain: The more positively and hopefully you approach this difficult and discouraging situation, and the more self-confidence you have, the quicker your recovery will be from the disappointment.

3. Manage your discouragement. All of us have experienced discouragement. During our youth, it might have resulted from missing the first-place prize in an athletic competition or perhaps it came from not capturing a coveted academic honor. For many of us, these initial brushes with disappointment have faded into the background of time and gradually have been replaced with the happier memories of achievements and successes. Even though most of us have tasted victory at some point in our life, a job loss can bring us great disappointment. The challenge before you is learning to manage and, ultimately, master the discouragement.

Keep a positive attitude, remember your goals, and prepare yourself for the likelihood of a few of life’s curveballs. When you give something a try and it doesn’t work out, square your shoulders, grit your teeth, get busy, and meet discouragement head-on. And, more importantly, don’t give up.

4. Set a direction. Happiness is a by-product of the direction in which a person is moving. People who make up their minds about the goals they intend to reach will, in all likelihood, reach them. They must, however, keep reminding themselves of the direction they have chosen and the destination they have decided to reach.

5. Be adaptable. Look at your work and at your life in general today and ask yourself: What kind of people do I admire and most want to be like? Who do I know, or know about, who is doing the kind of work that I want to do and living the kind of life I want to live? What changes would I have to make in my life to be like that person?

Remember: Whatever anyone has done, someone else can do as well. You’ll never be exactly the same as another person, but you don’t need to be. You can use the successes and achievements of other people as examples and guidelines to help you decide where you want to be at the conclusion of your special journey. You can be unique and successful in your own way.

Finally, don’t waste your time hoping for some lucky break or miracle to suddenly grant your dreams. As the saying goes, “Luck is what happens when preparedness meets opportunity.” Simply prepare yourself; opportunity is always present. Just stay on track with a job search, and try each day to do a little better and a little more than you did the day before. One day you will wake up to find that you’ve landed a great job.


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