Job Search Paralysis

At times job search can feel like you’re floating endlessly in the middle of the ocean just waiting for any piece of dry land (a.k.a., employer) to show up and rescue you. It can be a very frustrating time that leaves you feeling overwhelmed, disappointed and pessimistic. Negative feelings you don’t need to have hanging around you when you’re in job search mode – or anytime for that matter.

During this floating state you may keep looking out at the horizon and sifting through questions like: Where will I go next? Will I find a good employer? Will it be a good fit? Why isn’t anyone contacting me? Is my resume dreadful? What do I really want to do anyway? You may even begin to wish you could start over and get into a completely new career altogether. This can bring up a plethora of new, sometimes more, overwhelming questions and can be a time that you think you’re going to sink into job search oblivion. Swimming around in job search circles, going nowhere, can be an exhausting feat – and you may even decide to float aimlessly (swamping the world with resumes). Stop NOW! If any of these sound like you – or any part of your job search, you must stop now and tackle this aimless process.

Part of the reason that this aimless process takes place is that you may realize that you are not sure if ‘what you do for a living’ is truly satisfying to you, or you may wonder if your chosen career is your true calling. What you may need, in this case, is to better define or perhaps even redesign your purpose. The answer is not that you’re a failure at job search nor are you going to be stuck in ‘dead man’s chest’ – lost at sea forever. Sometimes you must take a step backward to regain your positioning and purpose around your career.

So how do you begin to navigate this quest? Creating a vision for yourself that keeps your spirits alive during your search and helps you tap into your inner motivation can be a good place to begin. Remember, if top athletes of the world can use ‘visioning’ techniques to better their game – so can you! Here is an example of a visioning exercise that you can create for yourself:

Begin by envisioning being stuck in a dusty, sour-aired building. You reach over to a window, pull the blind away and slide the window open full and wide. Sunlight rushes in and touches your face and at the same time a fresh, crisp breeze engulfs you. You are no longer stuck, but are infused with new ways of thinking and feeling about your life and your career. The feeling that rivets through you in this moment is a fresh, new, wide-open way of looking at your choices in life. Keep this vision close by during your job search and tap into its freshness and feeling of ingenuity whenever you are lost and overwhelmed with the process.

Next, begin to do a bit of self-coaching. In other words, start asking yourself some pointed questions and journal on those questions to get a better picture of who you are on the inside. Because if you’re going after a career that is impressive on the outside, but does not tickle your fancy and take your breath away on the inside, then the lack of congruence can leave you feeling disconnected and disappointed.

Here are some questions to journal on to get you started:

·What is it to have a full, rich life?
·What is it I am tolerating?
·What keeps me going?
·What is present when I’m at my best?
·What is it to be prosperous?
·What am I resisting?

Answering questions like these, along with tapping in to a vision that keeps you inspired and motivated, as well as some good coaching to discover what brings you fulfillment, are all ways to begin to navigate job search paralysis and set sail for your true north.