If you’re looking for a job, and you were to read every article and listen to every story out there on finding a job, you could easily become overwhelmed by information overload. It is, almost without exception, the top story for every newspaper and newscast. And it’s taking its toll on people across the U.S. and around the world emotionally. Fear is setting in. That is the bad news.
The good news is that even if you are job hunting, or you are struggling to make ends meet, there is something you can do today to both invigorate your job search and to eliminate the fear and anxiety you might be feeling.
There’s something you can do right now to get rid of the fear.
Take three blank pieces of paper and line then up beside each other. Title the first one, “Things I can do today.” Title the second one, “Vague advice I’m not sure what to do with.” Title the third one, “The worst that can happen.” At the bottom of the third page, write: “So I lose the stuff. I will be just fine.”
Every time you hear of a job Web site to check out or a recommended book, add it to the first list, “Things I can do today.” Read excerpts from recommended books online at Amazon.com or via other links that offer free excerpts, and then determine if the books that meet your needs are in your price range or if you need to check them out at the library. If you see a wanted signed or you hear of an open position, add that to the list of things you will follow up on today or tomorrow.
Every time you hear generalized, big picture advice that you are not sure exactly what to do with, such as “do more networking”, “read industry publications”, “improve your look”, or “attend trade shows” (which are usually expensive and may not even be located in a nearby city), add it to the second list. It may be good advice, just not immediately achievable for where you are right now.
The value of networking comes from creating authentic relationships. Networking for the sole purpose of what someone can do for you will seldom provides more than superficial returns. Add to your first list, “Sign up for Plaxo, and LinkedIn,” to connect with colleagues you already know. Other sites like Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and FriendFeed can be valuable but time consuming. Add those to the second list.
And finally, on the third paper, write down the worst that can happen. Maybe you have to give up the luxury car with the $500/month payment; maybe you’ll need to take your kids out of private school or even have them take a break from soccer, karate and other great but expensive after-school programs. Maybe you’ll need to put your belongings in storage and move in with a family member or friend. These are all very difficult decisions, but they are not life-threatening. So you lose the stuff. Stuff can be replaced. You will be just fine.
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