Are you unemployed?
If so, do you focus on why your next employer would be fortunate to bring you onboard? Or, do you, like many highly qualified people who lose their jobs, spend more time reminding yourself of your shortcomings? Many of us have a nagging inner critic lurking between our ears, stewing over our misfortunes and zapping our courage and optimism.
When you’re not getting any callbacks from the resumes you sent out, she may growl: “It’s your fault.” If you’re feeling hopeless, she snarls: “You’ll never find another job.” And dealing with a tight money situation, she’s apt to threaten: “You’ll be out on the street soon.”
If your inner critic is blaring these pernicious messages inside your head day and night on what I’ll call U-R BAD radio, wouldn’t it be better to tune into the U-ROCK station that sings your praises? Here are five tips to help you change the dial:
1. Deflect those zingers.
Find your inner champion and prepare comebacks to counter your inner critic’s messages. Talk to yourself the way you’d talk to a friend–with respect, compassion and affection.
2. Identify and celebrate your strengths.
Since rejection is part and parcel of most job searches, it’s important to remind yourself daily of all that you do well. And surround yourself with people who root for you rather than deplete you.
3. Use laughter as a springboard.
“Monday mornings are always the toughest time of the week for me,” says Lisa Smith*, a corporate manager who was downsized from her job earlier in the year. To make it easier to start phoning about job leads, Smith first calls a friend to chat.
“If I can laugh with someone about my situation, or commiserate with someone else who is also searching for a job then I get warmed up to make my other calls—and the phone becomes easy to pick up,” she says.
4. Don’t let the odds scare you.
“I’ve been on the hiring side many times,” shares Carolyn Greenburg*, a chief communications officer searching for her next opportunity. “And of the huge pile of résumés you receive, typically only a fraction of them are truly qualified for the position. So sure, you may hear that 300 people applied for the opening, but really you’re only competing with the 50 other applicants who are qualified. And of those, it’s not going to be the right fit for everyone.”
5. Find ways to reduce stress.
“Not working is more stressful than working,” says David Knapp, a former children’s camp director.
Knapp manages his stress by keeping his mind and body engaged and by setting goals. Specifically, he’s training for a marathon to raise money for a children’s cause and retooling his career by working towards a master’s degree in social work.
*These names have been changed to respect these individuals’ requests for confidentiality.