It is easy to construct a whole wall out of reasons not to job-hunt. Once we start looking for negatives, we become masters in the craft of obscuring the future. We can find reason after reason, laying each one like a brick on top the first, as though we have never heard of windows or doors.
That is not to say that obstacles to job-hunting are not real. They are, and each one should be acknowledged, but dealt with creatively. These are some ‘bricks’ I have collected in my own private builder’s yard and also found in those of other people:
- I am not well right now,
- I must get this extra qualification first,
- I must finish a project first,
- I am afraid of travelling,
- I have minor disabilities which an employer will not accommodate,
- I am too old,
- I am over-qualified,
- I must find my ‘brave’ gene,
- My son/daughter must write his exam/have her baby/move into new house, first,
- I must update my CV,
- I must get digitally up-to-date,
- Feel free to add your own…
Although the obstacles are real, the real problem is that I stop there.
- First off, I give each reason far too much power. Once acknowledged, it seems to gather weight and becomes omnipotent. Take being too old: if you read the examples under the Inspire menu, being ‘too old’ is no longer a valid reason. Do not let an obstacle cancel positive reasons to go out and try.
- Secondly I do not challenge the reasons or I forget to remind myself myself that I can move around, over or through them. I construct the wall, but I forget to create windows or doors or pull up a ladder! And I forget to identify what I can do.
For reasons too complex to lay before you now, I don’t drive. When I was sixty, this was undoubtedly an obstacle in looking for a job. That constraint meant I had to focus on what, within that limitation, I could do. I had a good internet connection and digital layout and writing skills and so I reckoned I could use my resources and practice my skills, no matter where I was or where the client was located. So I started asking around and within three weeks I found a job laying out and proofreading a soccer magazine which was published in Nigeria. It was discontinued after a year (and using the same mindset) I soon found another job laying out and then finally editing several magazines published internationally. And when that ended I found another ‘tele-commuting’ job.
I think beneath it all is fear. Fear of what may lie beyond the wall: rejection, failure, confirmation of our deepest darkest beliefs. Easier to confidently state the reasons why we cannot! But if we get stuck at the obstacle, we do not know what lies on the other side.
The trick is this: for every negative reason not to act, use double the energy to act!
When we take the first step beyond the obstacles, ‘all sorts of things occur to help one’.
Over the years the truth of this has astonished me again and again. I have to remind myself that when I got close enough to the wall, I always find a window or a door, or even a ladder. Sometimes I just have to bash my way through.