I was only a bit underquoted in the Wall Street Journal about looking for work. Not really misquoted – mostly quoted out of context.
Here is the first email I wrote — it may be of use to you in your own job search:
Good Morning Veronica — thank you so much for contacting me! My thoughts are coming from my experience as a life coach. I also consult to non-profits in communications and development so the non-profit world informs my coaching. Some of the self-care things I will share are transferable across types of employment but I do not really “know” the corporate world.
Right now I am coaching 2 women, 1 is a casualty of the publishing industry and 1 is a woman going back to work after kids. I have coached people re-inventing themselves, switching jobs, and in ways to make their existing jobs “work” for them without leaving — a whole ‘nother story!
Here are my thoughts:
Quiet the noise: Often the job seekers I coach begin their work with me listing all the jobs they might want, all the jobs that other people want them to pursue, all the job posting sites they visit daily, all the jobs they have applied for and more. They feel dejected, depressed and mostly they feel that they are doing everything they can to get a job. I jump in and actually want them to do less! Over the course of 1-2 sessions, we eliminate other people’s “advice” and toss things that are irrelevant or really not of interest. We discuss the merits of each job feed they scour and I invite them to choose the 1-2 that are relevant to their search. As we do this we are fine-tuning the resume and pulling serious focus.
The worst question ever: I cannot emphasize enough how job seekers feel their worth or non-worth based on interactions with others. The question: “What do you do?” can send a job seeker straight to bed – or actually keep them from going places. We talk a lot about how to react to people who may be well-intentioned but the content of the conversation and advice given stimulates stress and sadness. We role-play the possible answers that actually may be productive in the job search. A lot. In doing this the coachee becomes empowered to decide who they will tell their job search story to and who doesn’t merit the conversation. Sometimes these folks feel so vulnerable that they feel naked in a room full of successful people and so they feel obligated to bear their souls as well. Nah, we nip that one – they get to control their story and ultimately feel empowered on their search. By doing so, they actually begin making connections through conversations instead of retreating from them.
Reality: This is always hard, right? My publishing industry casualty had a few freelance jobs where the pay ranged from good to really awful and she kept trying for full-time work. She lives in CT where the competition is tough. She is in her mid-50’s and has much to offer, lots of experience and is eager to work fulltime. But guess what? At this point she is competing with other casualties in their 40’s who may be considered as experienced. People in their 30’s may take the job for less pay AND may bring new skills relevant to 2013 that are not second nature to a 50 year old. So what did we do together? We took her frustration and feeling of helplessness (in this case whining) and increased her freelance work, got gigs at better pay, helped her structure her day, decreased the number of job feeds she was receiving, decreased her waiting behavior for someone to call her back for a simple informational interview and decreased her helplessness. Last week she told me that she experienced an internal shift because I asked if she would consider listing three things she was grateful for each night. It cut through the helplessness/self pity, self flagellation for the reality she was encountering.
How do we do this work together? Mostly through questions from me, long pauses, answers from them, homework, accountability. I also look and edit resumes if desired and look at a few job feeds myself and send leads. We list contacts they know and strategize how to work them as well.
That’s it for now – I could go on and on! Please contact me if you would like more info! I know it may be difficult, but could you let me know if you use any of this?
Thank you so much.
Enjoy your day — Gari