I have an admission to make; in the past, I have acted like a loser. Let me explain.
A few months ago, I was in a slump. Though I have been successful in my career, and I have been blessed to work with wonderful co-workers and clients, a slump seems to come around every 2-3 years whether I like it or not. And this slump was a bad one.
As I witnessed one fantastically unusual situation after another present itself, I felt utterly helpless watching sale after sale veer into disaster. Clients changing their minds at the last minute? Check. Candidates changing their minds at the last minute? Check. Health scare? Family situation that must be attended to immediately half way across the world? People suddenly missing in action? Check, check, check, and check.
Now, for anyone that knows me, I am generally a very upbeat and positive person. Like most people, I have read my share of motivational, self-help and sales books, and I know on a cerebral level how to combat bad news and turn negative situations into positives. In spite of knowing better, I chose to act like a loser.
So, how does this relate to you and your job search? Here is how I (incorrectly) handled my slump:
- I acted like the whole world was conspiring against me.
- I withdrew from others and insisted that “if I close my door and concentrate on getting back to basics, the situation will turn around”.
- I continued doing the same things and expected to produce different results (some refer to this as “the definition of insanity”).
- I declined help and constructive opinions from others on more than one occasion.
- I took my frustration out on the people closest to me, likely making my family uncomfortable in the process (sorry!).
Does any of this sound familiar? If you’ve been job searching for several months or more, chances are you can relate to at least one of the above. Job searching can be an incredible test of determination and tenacity, and maintaining a positive attitude can be near impossible.
For those of you who are in a slump, in your job search or another aspect of your life, here are some lessons that I (re)discovered:
1. It Is Temporary
Accept that everything will not always go your way and that slumps are temporary, provided that you are still working to the best of your abilities. What Edison said about genius can also be applied to success, “…1% inspiration and 99% perspiration”. Don’t give up.
2. You Are in Control
Understand that, although there are many external factors beyond your control, you are in control of how you present yourself and how you deal with everyday decisions. When you are in a funk, there is a tendency to REACT to situations, often times appearing frustrated or even desperate. Be proactive, you are in control.
3. Ask for Help
Talk about how you are feeling (within reason). Hearing someone else’s perspective or opinion can be a complete game-changer. Many people think that asking for help makes them appear weak, but in fact the opposite is true… humility is not weakness, it is strength.
4. Mix it up
Examine the way that you are working or job searching; what could you do to mix up your routine? Is there a book that you could read or a seminar that you could attend that would provide a fresh perspective? Instead of looking at job postings and shooting off resumes, attend a networking event or grab dinner with an old friend in the industry.
5. Take Care of Yourself
Take a break. Even if it simply means walking away for a few hours to catch an afternoon movie. To take it one step further, it may sound crazy to take a vacation during a slump, but that time away may just provide the perspective required for you to come back reenergized and ready to get back on track.
Do not forget to take care of yourself. Get your sleep. Exercise. Eat well. Repeat. It is much easier to overcome a hurdle with a healthy body and mind than one that is bruised and battered.
6. Get Inspired
Do something that will inspire you, especially if it has nothing to do with your issue. I want to share with you a list of suggestions that a very trusted friend (thanks!) passed on to me years ago that helped him to overcome a slump. Some of these may seem silly, but I guarantee that they will make you smile and they absolutely do help:
- Go for a massage
- Get a haircut
- Find some sun
- Get a series of squeeze hugs from a loved one until you can barely breathe
- Play with the dog / kids – tell them that you’re sad – sometimes they have the best insights
- Talk to a street person and hear their story
So, is there one simple solution to overcoming slumps, job search ruts, bad months, and so on? Not that I have seen, BUT next time you’re in a slump, use these six tips to take control of your situation and set yourself back on the right path.
In a slump? Stop acting like a loser and do something about it!
For more interview tips and suggestions for job seekers, check out our Tips from a Headhunter for Job Seekers blog category. Learn more about Toronto Technology Recruiter Gary Hinde and connect with him on LinkedIn.
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