In the new scorching labor market, a record number of US workers are quitting their jobs to put themselves first.
In April alone, according to the Ministry of Labor, almost 4 million people voluntarily quit their jobs. And the numbers were almost the same in both May and June. Additionally, according to Bankrate’s Job Seeker Survey of August 2021, more than half (55 percent) of Americans expect to be looking for a new job in the next 12 months. Today, just google “The Great Resignation” and you will get hundreds of results.
Accordingly, tens of millions of people are or will soon be looking for a job. And if you are one of them, your first step – before brushing up on your resume – should be to prepare yourself emotionally for what lies ahead.
An emotional roller coaster ride
The average job search can take several weeks to probably several months. And to be successful and still stay energetic and focused, we recommend reserving 10 to 15 hours a week.
During this time you can expect an emotional roller coaster ride with many ups and downs, twists and turns – sometimes within the same hour.
All of this makes it essential to recognize the emerging emotions and deal with them. Otherwise, you will lack the self-confidence and the ability to act that you need to stay on the right track.
Five key actions
So if job hunting is an emotional roller coaster ride, then how can you best prepare for the ride?
To start, we recommend five key actions influenced by Positive Psychology, Buddhist Principles, and Nonviolent Communication (GfK), a process developed by American psychologist, mediator, and teacher Marshall Rosenberg.
1. Get into a present mindset.
When you are present, you can better access your feelings and concentrate on what “is” – not what was or could be. As a result, you can process what’s right in front of you and make more informed decisions.
Perhaps the easiest way to get into a present-day mindset is to just pause and look for something right in your midst. What do you see or hear For example, you could write, “The birds are chirping” or “There’s an airplane above us.” Then just be there for the moment.
2. Discover what motivates you.
Knowing why you are looking for a new job can take the ups and downs with ease.
The most common motivational factors for a job search include: tiredness or burnout; higher pay; more flexible working hours; a better boss or a better work culture; a change in roles or sectors; greater importance and purpose; or a big life change.
So take some quiet, reflective time – away from distractions or devices – to find out what is currently motivating your own search. Your journaling or mindful meditation practice can be helpful here, as can talking to a trustworthy, objective partner, such as a therapist or career coach.
It’s also not uncommon for there to be multiple motivating factors that make it all the more important to understand and prioritize them.
3. Know your feelings.
The reality is that even if you wanted to, you cannot turn off your feelings. So, you might as well be looking for ways to spot and differentiate them and how they will affect your job search. To keep it simple, start by dividing your feelings into two categories: difficult emotions and feel-good emotions.
Difficult emotions when looking for a job include sadness, anger, frustration, discouragement, fear, boredom, confusion, overwhelming or insecurity. Conversely, feel-good emotions include feeling happy, hopeful, curious, confident, determined, excited, inspired, calm, or proud.
For example, if you are afraid of not listening to an application, you can forcibly apply for more and more, even if they don’t suit you. But when you are confident and excited about what to expect, your positive attitude will help bolster your attitude and put the temporary radio silence in perspective.
4. Identify your needs.
During your job search, think of your feelings as road signs that indicate whether or not your needs are being met. One caveat about needs, however, is that we may tend to put the needs of others (e.g., those of a parent or partner) or societal expectations above our own needs. For example, you can overemphasize money or a certain type of work even if you don’t want to.
So ask yourself what your real needs are for your next job. It could be to earn a certain amount of dollars. Or having autonomy in the way and where you do your job. Or maybe to stay physically and emotionally healthy, or to do something that is more in line with your values and has a social impact.
5. Understand your beliefs.
Your beliefs will be shaped and internalized throughout your life, with influences from your upbringing, certain life events, social systems and more. They are important because they play an important role in how you see yourself and how you experience the world.
In general, beliefs are either limiting (closed and rigid) or empowering (open and hopeful). Limiting beliefs can make it difficult to accept nuances and possibilities, while strengthening beliefs increase positive emotions and self-confidence.
For example, having a limiting belief can lead you to think that you are not worth a particular job and thereby downplay your interview skills and performance. In contrast, empowering belief can enable you to realize that you are in control of your life and future, connect with people, and really shine, even at virtual events like zoom interviews and online job fairs.
In conclusion, remember that a job search has the potential to become one of the most transformative learning experiences of your life. And preparing yourself emotionally is a huge first step in staying on the right track.
This guest post was written by Cathy Wasserman and Lauren Weinstein
Cathy and Lauren are co-authors of The Empowered Job Search: Build a New Mindset and Get a Great Job in an Unpredictable World (Admo Press, June 2021). Their shared approach is based on more than thirty years as career and leadership coaches, working with thousands of different clients at all stages of their professional journey. Learn more at theempoweredjobsearch.com,