Sarah is changing jobs.
At first there was a flurry of activity as she pulled together all the job search materials, her resume, updated her LinkedIn profile, added contacts and connected with old colleagues. She is far along with one company, hoping for an offer.
But still there is that hole in the pit of her stomach. Sarah is the main provider for her family. She keeps counting her pennies. The family cut back on all expenses. The teenagers even offered to pay for their own cell phones out of their after school earnings.
Sarah sees doom around every corner. She imagines losing the house and not being able to send the kids to college when the time comes. She hates to disappoint her family. She dreads feeling like a failure.
I understand. Really. I’ve been there myself. I was getting a divorce with a three year old daughter when I got pneumonia and lost my job. I remember that feeling in the pit of my stomach.
As a former client pointed out, job search is a project plan without an end date. You just keep churning through the steps until something hits. You can’t control the outcome. You can only control your portion of the process.
Work the plan. Set daily and weekly goals for number of contacts made, LinkedIn connections added, coffees you want to have in a week then work the plan. For example, how many calls do you have to make and connections do you have to add to arrange 3 coffees a week? A lot. Probably 30 calls per week and at least the same number of connections added to LinkedIn with the email conversations that go along with it.
You can do that.
Then when you finish, you celebrate. You have accomplished something. You can’t be sure exactly how that action will contribute to your job search success but trust me it will.
While you are taking that action you do not have time to dread. Or at least you can confine the dread to late night fear sessions.
Keep perspective. When this is all over and you have your new position (and you will) you will look back on this time between jobs with a smile. I know I do. You have to keep perspective. This is not the end of the world, no matter what happens. You still have your family. You can still hold your head up high because you are working your plan.
After you work the plan do something else completely separate from your search. Plant a garden. Get some exercise. Find an inexpensive or no cost activity for the whole family that gets you all out of the house.
Go for a walk. A recent Facebook post talks about how the Japanese are finding peace from walking in the woods. There are parks and walking trails all over North America. Go find one and take a walk. You will find that perspective to balance the panic.