When you are in between jobs and conducting a job search, the last group you think you will have trouble with is family and friends. But that is not always the case. When you are preparing your resume and cover letter in search of that elusive interview, not everyone understands the level of engagement and effort needed. Be on the lookout for these subtle (and not so subtle) ways that family and friends, while unintentional, can hamper your job search progress.
Everyone Assumes You Are Available to Run Errands
“Hey, you are not working right now, so why you go and pick up your little cousin and bring them to camp?” At least that is what a family member is thinking. What they do not realize is that when you are out of work and engaged in a job search, looking for a job becomes your job. Of course, when you are not punching a clock, there is flexibility there that allows you to do more for others than you normally would. But make no mistake, if you do not take care to protect your time, you can end up losing hours every day going to the grocery store, give someone a ride, or even waiting for the cable man at a neighbor’s house.
Make certain that those in your life know that the job search itself has become your job until something breaks. Do your best to manage favors and errands to ensure they do not dominate your day. And again, there is time to assist those you love, but you must maintain some semblance of control to ensure your job search is fruitful sooner rather than later.
They Want You to Hang Out During the Day
Being out of work may bother you (at least it should). But it may not bother your cousin, or your sibling you may also be under employed at the moment. Occasionally, people will see a stint of unemployment as an opportunity to have a good time during the middle of the day. So while they should be tightening up their resumes or doing mock interview, they are hanging out at a bar or playing video games. Trust me, they want company, and they are coming to you for it.
Resist the urge to step away from your computer to “have a snort” with them. One hour can turn into four very quickly. And one day can turn into one week the same way. The next thing you know, a job search that could have lasted weeks is now into its sixth month. There will always be somewhere to go and something to do, and always a fun crew to do it with.
But if you are serious about continuing your search, will find that next position as soon as possible. Remember, the longer one is unemployed, the more the seem unemployable to hiring managers. Six months down the road, you will find the phone is not ringing because, well, you have been unemployed for six months. Of course, the situation may have been alleviated had you spent 8 hours per day in your job search as you should have.
Let your friends, cousins, brothers or sisters know that you will gladly hang out with them after 5 p.m. when your “work day” has officially ended. After all the resumes have gone out, all the follow up calls have been made, and all the job boards had been scrubbed, you will be glad to have a good time. After that, you may need it. But you will enjoy it more because you would have earned it.
No Respect for your Space
Now this may be a tricky one depending upon the logistics of your home. But if you remember from a previous blog post, you need a job search home base. This is a place where nothing occurs but the search. If you have a separate room for this activity, that is great. But even if it is a desk in the corner of the room with headphones to shut out the noise, you need a separate space for this process.
If the setup of your domicile is not such where you can have a door between you and the madness, it can be very easy for those you live with to infringe upon your space. Things will find its way onto your desk. And even worse, some of your things may find its way someplace else. Drinks can get spilled on your documents. It’s madness!!!
Take the time to sit everyone in the home down and let them know that your workspace is off limits until you find employment. Your resumes, cover letters, job vacancy printouts, and other documents need to be as you left them at all times. Your family is very likely to understand. But this needs to be stated clearly, as if you do not do so, they may not fully understand its importance.
This issue may not be as cut and dry to deal with. Not everyone lives in a positive situation or in an understanding household. If you find that those you reside with are not necessarily positive people, then you need to take action to change circumstances. Outside of moving out, you need to minimize exposure to any negativity. A job search is difficult enough without someone constantly “harshing your mellow”, right?
If you currently live with someone who is negative, yet reasonable, having a chat with them to let them know that you need positive reinforcement or nothing at all just might be what the doctor ordered. Their being negative does not necessarily mean they did you not wish the best for you. Some people are just negative and don’t necessarily know when they are being so.
Your biggest issue comes with those negative people who may simply not want success for anyone. A conversation is not likely to help in this case. In fact, it may make things worse. You need to have mechanisms in place to minimize exposure to these individuals. You may want to conduct your search during the day at someone else’s home, the library, or your local coffee house. When you are at home, keep headphones on and pour positive messages into your head regularly. Minimize your exposure whenever and wherever you can.
Yes, we love our friends and our family members. They can be a great support structure for you when the correct guidelines are laid down. Take charge of your search and the surroundings in which is conducted. Let those in your life know the parameters in which you are to be dealt with during this time and you should be fine.
Now go get that job!