July 1, 2020

Lean on Me

We’ve all heard axioms like:

  • Two heads are better than one.
  • There is strength in numbers.
  • You can achieve more together than you can apart.

Songs have even been written about it. 

Yet we tend to conduct our job searches in front of our computers on our own.  We may work with career counselors/consultants/coaches to hone our resumes, practice our interviewing skills, target our job searches, and iron out our personal brands, but what do we do when our optimism begins to falter? 

The job search process can be demoralizing, demotivating, and dispiriting.  We spend hours hovering over our resumes, researching companies, and completing 2-hr job applications only to receive rejection emails, or worse still, no communication at all.  The job search can slowly chip away at one’s self-confidence and feeling of self-worth.  This leads to a decrease in motivation, which then leads to a reluctance to continue in the job search. What happens in those moments when “you need somebody to lean on?”

My answer is this:  create your own support group for people who are looking for work. You are not alone.  You are not the only one who needs to hear words of encouragement or a corny joke to pull you out of a funk.  Granted COVID19 has taken us from brick and mortar to headsets and webcams, but that’s just window dressing.  Pick a time, send out the emails, and show up. You can meet daily, weekly, monthly, or happy-hourly - whatever works for you. Not only can you energize one another and recreate that feeling of joviality in the workplace, but you can also become a network for each other. Do you work in IT, but know of someone looking for an accountant?  Communicate that to the group.  Do you know someone who is looking for a freelance writer to work on contract?  Throw that out to the group as well.  You can even barter professional services among one another e.g. free professional headshots in exchange for bookkeeping.  Remember, work can take on many forms; and every opportunity is itself an opportunity (take a minute to let that one sink in).

There’s no reason why you have to go through this experience alone.  To quote Helen Keller, “Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light."