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adjusting our attitudes

This week I’ve had more than the average number of people reaching out to me for advice.    I attribute this to a number of things:  warmer weather and people coming out of hibernation, May grads looking to enter the workforce, and the inevitable frustration of job seekers with the job search that leads people to my inbox weekly.

One of the biggest problems when it comes to the job search or the recruitment process, as well as what I’ve addressed this week with those reaching out, is our attitudes.  They can shift dramatically day to day, and often the slightest thing can push us over the edge or cause excitement.

We all need to be a little harder on ourselves by being easier on ourselves.  (Or be easier on ourselves by being harder on ourselves, whichever way you prefer, pending which statement motivates you.)  What I mean by this is that too often we grow frustrated or give up too easily.  We’re too afraid, too exhausted, or too lacking in direction to keep moving forward.

And when it comes to frustration, especially, take a minute to realize that what frustration really is, is anger in another form.  Do you know what it is you’re angry about?  Do you know what’s in your control and out of your control?  Sometimes, we need to take a pause and analyze the situation.  Are you mad because you they didn’t give you the job or because you didn’t feel prepared?  Are you frustrated because you don’t know what you’re doing wrong and you haven’t reached out for help?  Are you just going through the motions of a job search with no real direction or plan?

When it boils down to improving the situation, you have two basic options or way of looking at this: be harder on yourself to push through the frustration, stop acting like a baby, toughen up, change your attitude, believe that you can do this and maintain a positive outlook, and remind yourself that this is a part of the process.  Or, be easier on yourself and by allowing yourself to realize that many people go through this, you are not alone, getting frustrated will only drag you back, and take steps to maintain a positive focus.  Some of us need tough love and some of us need a soft approach—we’re all motivated differently.

The main point is, adjust your attitude!  Yes, the job search can be defeating, but that’s only if you let it.  You can read more on my thoughts on this here: An Open Response to Accepting Defeat in the Job Search.

I do want to applaud the many job seekers  recruiters, and employers who reached out this week, and apologies for not yet getting back to all of you, yet.  You took the first step, which is hard for many people, and that’s asking for help.  Don’t give up if you don’t get the right help you need the first time. Keep asking around, someone has the information or guidance you seek.  Way to reach out and ask instead of believing you have to be all-encompassing and all-knowing.

I liken much of what we go through in a job search or obstacles we face in the work place to experiences growing up.  When there was something that we wanted that we didn’t get, we’d sulk, cry, throw tantrums, scream, and maybe even blame others.  But, if we were smart, after we got over our anger, we’d find a different approach to get what we wanted and we’d work for it.  Sometimes this meant literally working for it or learning the right person to ask or suck up to.

In the end, we usually got over whatever it was that upset us and as we got older, we learned to appreciate the lessons our parents taught us: patience, understanding, the value of a dollar, good manners, and so on.  And, when we were ready and even when we didn’t want it, our mother was there, supporting us with kind words, a smile, sometimes a hug, and often a little tough love.

We’re adults now, and the stakes are higher, there’s more on the line, we can’t burst into tears or a tantrum (at least not if we want to keep our jobs,) but for many of us, we still occasionally let ourselves act like the kid version of us avoiding the real problems and giving up too soon.  We still want support and struggle getting it from the right places.

But guess what?  For many of us, our mom’s are still there (even if only in spirit.)  So if you’re having a rough time in your job search or a bad day recruiting, it’s nice to know we can still pick up the phone and forget our troubles with a few words from Mom (whether it’s words of wisdom or encouragement or inconsequential ramblings about her day that make us overlook our own or even mom’s nagging-that is of course done out of love, but can be worse than any problem we face–and if we can face her, we can face anything.)

And, for those of us whose mothers are no longer with us, we have their inner-strength inside of us to help guide us through the dark patches, reminding us to look for the bright spots to pull us through.

So in the US, Happy Mother’s Day this weekend.  Thank you to all the moms who have taught us many of the lessons that help guide us as adults through the journey of finding and succeeding in our career path.

What lessons did your mom teach you that you’ve applied to the job search or to recruiting? Share in the comments section below!

thank you mom

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