Persevering Job Seekers (from the archive)
**This post was first published 31/10/2011**
This month as well as becoming very familiar with the inner workings of a high street bank and J22-28 of the M25 (all in the name of client delight) I started to get to know a remarkable young woman called Victoria who has been searching for a job for 18 months. We met on BBC radio where we dissected the struggle for work many young people are enduring at the moment and the requisite tactics to triumph. With Victoria as my inspiration in this month’s Flourishing Female column I’m offering you three thoughts on how to persevere in the face of adversity. Tip: it probably isn’t sitting around looking doleful like the brunette in this picture, although good company can be a help.
Keep Your Eye on the Prizes
The number one perseverance tactic for job hunters is to keep your head up and your eyes open scanning for prizes. I know from experience that literally keeping your head up, as opposed to gazing at the ground, gives a better performance on the running track and psychology Professor Richard Wiseman has shown that what separates ‘lucky’ from ‘unlucky’ people is the ability to notice things or spot opportunities (he demonstrated this in a study showing how people who view themselves as lucky or unlucky differentially spotted and responded to adverts placed in a newspaper when they were asked to complete an unrelated task using said newspaper. Fascinating stuff!) It helps to believe there are several roles out there for you which means never fixating on one thing but staying open to possibilities beyond what you’ve done in the past or think may be right for you in the future. Keep looking and asking “how could that role work for me?”
Get Your Drummers Drumming
Whether you want to slim from a 16 down to a skinny jean size 10; become your firm’s first female finance director or save 30% of your earnings for the next three years you need to shape up your ‘psychological environment’. The people around us can have a staggering impact on our proclivity to keep going with something. Life is better in the company of radiators and in times of struggle they are essential. We need people who’ll bolster us, remind us it’s possible and that the effort will be worthwhile. When it comes to people power, one or two solid, unswerving pals beating their drums every single day until you’ve reached your goal far exceeds the benefit of having fifty friends on Facebook who might pop up now and again to say ‘thinking of you, keep going xxx’ – ultimately we need people actively conspiring with us and if you’d like some ideas on how to change the balance of radiators and drains in your life do leave a comment on this post and I’ll come back to you.
Do What You Can, Forget the Rest
People who believe the outcome of a difficult situation is at least partly in their control will persevere for longer. Sort out which bits of the situation you can direct and which bits you can’t then put your oomph behind the former and let the latter fade into the background. For instance if you’re persevering with setting up a business enterprise whilst still in employment you can control how you express your endeavours to others (present what you’re doing in a slick, secure way and you might attract support – financial or otherwise – from people around you); how fast or slow you drive your business and how much time you spend on it outside ‘work’ hours . At the other end of the control spectrum there’s little you can do about the competition or their products. There are other things, such as whether a business angel decides to back you, that fall somewhere in the middle. Prioritise what you can control and keep going in the knowledge that YOU are shaping your world. How powerful a motivator is that?
Naturally there’s more to say about how to persevere and I’m here for you, your colleagues and other women folk in your life when tailored 1:1 time is what any of you need. Sometimes a single coaching experience with me makes all the difference. Do drop me a line or give me a call on 01727 856169 and we can find a time to talk, plan and mastermind your way to the prize.
So what of Victoria? We’re meeting this week for our first coaching call and we’ll be back on BBC 3 Counties to talk about her journey back to work very soon.
This month’s Flourishing Female column was inspired by both Victoria from a town in Hertfordshire and The Luck Factor by Richard Wiseman.