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Job Hunting Tips: Taking Care of Yourself
Looking for work is generally a miserable undertaking. No matter how much education and experience you have, you are in a powerless and vulnerable position.
You spend days preparing for an interview, trying to build up your self-confidence, create a relaxed, competent demeanor to disguise the turmoil and anxiety inside, and practice answers to questions you hope the interviewer will ask.
Is there any way to feel really calm as you approach the receptionist, uncomfortably aware that there are other people waiting, perhaps applicants for the same position? Sit down, take a deep breath, and listen to your inner voice.
Welcome the anxiety that is coursing through your veins. It is a free, non-addictive stimulant that is going to keep you on your toes and keep you hyper-alert throughout the interview. Remind yourself that without that anxiety, you would present yourself as lifeless and flat.
Remember the lists you have made: of your personal qualities, your strengths, the weaknesses you have identified which can really be presented as additional strengths. Let your mind slowly scavenge through the mental picture of your resume and pound those bullet-pointed skills into your skull.
Focus on your worth as a human being, your importance to those who know you and love you. You are about to be judged by someone who doesn't know you at all and who will have less than 60 minutes to assess your qualities. Self-preservation requires that you don't buy into that judgment. You may, or you may not, be offered be offered the position. Whatever the result, remind yourself that it is not the entire you being accepted or rejected, just your skills and qualities matched against a company's needs. The job interview is a dynamic process with everyone present involved in the flow. If you feel awkward or very uneasy, it may be that the company or the interviewer(s) are not a good fit for you and not being offered the job may, in the long run, be a blessing in disguise.
By all means, review your interview performance afterwards while it is still fresh in your mind. If you think of better ways you could have answered some questions, write the new answers down so you can review before your next interview. As soon as possible, send a "Thank you" note, restating the personal strengths you want to emphasize. If possible, e-mail or fax that day.
The next two steps are critical to maintaining your enthusiasm and job hunting energy:
a) Relax and let out the stress. Don't cross-examine every question asked and every answer given or your confidence will erode further in an avalanch of second-guessing and self-criticism. You have enough stress on your plate right now just worrying about whether or not you'll receive an offer.
b) Be kind to yourself. If you can afford it, take the family out to dinner to celebrate your having obtained an interview and having survived one of the most pressured experiences you will ever undergo. If finances don't allow that, at least talk to your family about the details, let them show you a little support, and give yourself a whole day off from the job search to relax, relax, relax.
Virginia Bola operated a rehabilitation company for 20 years, developing innovative job search techniques for disabled workers, while serving as a respected Vocational Expert in Administrative, Civil and Workers' Compensation Courts. Author of an interactive and emotionally supportive workbook, The Wolf at the Door: An Unemployment Survival Manual, and a monthly ezine, The Worker's Edge, she can be reached at http://www.virginiabola.com
Job or Career
At this present time I have a job. It pays some of my bills, and again I have a job. I don't think of my job as a career because I don't have a passion for it. I dread going to work at times, so I know this isn't a career for me. I'm working at a clinic at the present time, and it's a stressful job, and not really my cup of tea.
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Want to Work for Yourself? Those Dream Jobs Dont Just Happen, Theyre Created
While traveling in northern California last October, I happened to tune into a local newscast. The newscaster was telling his co-anchor that the speaker at that morning's Rotary Club meeting had to cut his presentation short because he was being flown down to Disneyland to carve elaborate Halloween pumpkins for the park festivities. The newscaster wrapped up the story with the familiar quip, "Nice work if you can get it." He got the first part right. For a creative kid-at-heart, being a professional pumpkin carver is a dream come true. It was his serendipitous "if you can get it" thinking that missed the mark. The fact is, people rarely "get" great work; they create it! Despite all the emphasis on growth in the "job sector" I am continually amazed at just how many fascinating alternatives there are to the whole 9-to-5 schtick. And just as traditional job seekers can't wait around for "Mr. Job" to knock on the door, people who want to do satisfying work ? and call their own shots ? need to be proactive as well. Francis Bacon defined a wise man as one who "makes more opportunities than he finds." Here's a couple of other wise entrepreneurs who made it by going for it. Sports-lover Don Shoenewald was just 18 when he went to the Philadelphia Eagles management wearing a homemade Eagle costume and asking for a mascot job. They weren't interested. Undaunted, Shoenewald kept showing up at Eagles football games. Pretty soon the fans adopted him as the unofficial (meaning, "unpaid") mascot. Thirteen paid team mascot jobs, four mascot character creations (including ones for the New Jersey Devils and the San Jose Sharks), and 18 years later, Shoenewald started Mascot Mania, the only professional training school for mascots in the world. Despite what your high school guidance counselor might have told you, showing up invited in a bird costume isn't the only route to self-employment. For Dan Zawacki it all began when he was working as a sales rep for Honeywell and decided to give away 120 live lobsters as gifts to his customers. Dan was so bowled over by the response that he decided to open a small side business shipping live lobsters complete with pot, crackers, butter and bibs to crustacean-lovers from coast-to-coast. That is until his boss heard him pitching Lobster Gram, Inc. on a local radio station and promptly fired him. In the beginning, Dan worked out of his bedroom, storing his lobsters in a used tank in his father's garage. His first year he netted only $4,000. Ten years later, his company sells about 9,000 lobster packages a year for $99 plus shipping. All and all, not a bad tale. If you dream of making the transition from employee to self-bosser, the first thing you need to do is belief that you can. Then, the next time you see some entrepreneur doing what they love, try thinking: "Nice work ? now, all I have to do is get it!
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