For many years I have been a very driven, disciplined, and ambitious person.
I took my career, personal and professional development seriously.
Every couple of years I would move myself further up the food chain to jobs that had more and more responsibility and paid more and more money. Constantly throwing myself in to my work and my studies. This drove me into a burnout where for weeks and months I would feel emotionally and physically exhausted, ill and I would get brain freezes for what seemed to be week or months at a time.
One of the man reasons I was so driven in my career and development was that I didn’t have anyone in life to fall back on for physically, emotionally and for financial support. And because of this I was diagnosed with severe anxiety what was triggered around finances.
I recall being in between jobs many times in my life where the first week out of work was the hardest for me as my anxiety around finances would kick in and paralyse me. I hated that feeling as I had so man negative “WHAT IF” thoughts going through my head about why I was out of work as I had attached my entire identity (who I was) on my career, having a job and an income coming in. I didn’t know who I was without those things.
It doesn’t help that now a days when you go out on a date the first things, they ask you is what do you do for a living and where do you work. It was like they were assessing you for what they can possibly get out of you and not there to see if you are compatible or to get to know you.
I went on a few dates over the years being in between contracts and when they asked me about what I did for a living and where I worked, I would tell them the truth only to find that all of a sudden, they have some emergency that they have to tend to and leave in a mad rush. I knew the truth there was no emergency it was that they knew that they could not get anything out of me and also, they that they had attached the meaning of having a partner with that person having money and a job. I found this disheartening and sad.
Because of this I did a lot of research on anxiety to find out if there was a way to get past it. There were many different techniques but none of them seemed to work for me. So I ended up tracing it back to the very first time I got financial anxiety, put myself into a meditative trance and changed the emotions I had attached to that moment in time. I think brought myself back to the here and now and future paced myself 3 times into the future imagining new positive experiences and the things I could do to lessen the anxiety and put a step-by-step plan together on what I would do when ever I was forced to face my fears of being out of work and to move myself into action so that the anxiety would not be able to paralyse me again.
For many years this was difficult journey I had to go on as I was a career contractor and well contracts have an expiration date and if the employer doesn’t like you, they could fire you on the spot if they wanted to.
The things I put into my action plan were as follows:
- Pay my rent and utilities in advanced before the contract ended
- Update my CV
- Contact all the job agencies I could and send them my CV and what I was looking for in a role and contact them at least twice a week to build up a good relationship with them so that I was at the top of their minds when jobs that suited me did come to them so that they would contact me about them.
- Enrol in some personal and professional development courses to make myself a lot more employable and to differentiate myself from all the other candidates looking for work
- Get on to the job sites like seek.com, indeed.com, LinkedIn jobs, CareerOne etc and apply for as many jobs as possible on a thrice daily basis
- Message some of my social media contacts that I have worked with before and see if they knew of any work in my line of expertise coming my
- Join professional networking groups for my industry to make more contacts and expand m reach for my job search
- Update my LinkedIn, seek and indeed profiles with the latest jobs and certifications I had.
- Exercise daily
- And create a budget so I could see how much money I was spending and I what I was spending it on and where I could save money
It took approximately a year for this to become a habit and about another year for me to gain the belief in myself to know that I could easily and quickly pick up another job within one to two weeks of looking and applying for work. I did not know how I was getting the jobs at the beginning of my career as I hated job interviews and would get very nervous and anxious in them to the point when my heart would race and my hands would go clammy and I seemed to be in my own eyes stumbling my way through the interviews as I had a fear of being judged and I wanted them to like me enough to offer me the job.
I broke out of that through changing the way I thought and felt about interviews by doing the following:
- Before the interview research the company and the interviewers for an hour or so
- Put together my own interview questions to ask them
- Thinking of interview as a 2-way street where they aren’t just interviewing you, but you are also interviewing them to see it is a fit
- On my way to the interview listen to some calming and relaxing music
- Not putting all my eggs in the one basket by lining up as many interviews as possible and using those interviews as a way to practice
Somehow at the end of all that I would end up with an offer or two for work. I used to take the first job offer the same alone but throughout the years I have learned that the first offer isn’t always the best one and that you should not have to take a job just because it is offered to you. The pay has to be right; they have to answer your questions openly and honestly about the job, their culture and the organisation the location of the office and if one of these is lacking then they may not be the right fit for you.
In job interviews you have to know your worth, what you are capable of and how your experience and studies/knowledge will suite and enhance the job they are interviewing you for. You have to have complete clarity and conviction in yourself and the message you are giving the interviewers but not to the point of being arrogant.
At the end of the day an interview is just a conversation with a new contact you have.
The longest time I was in between jobs for was 6 months and that was because I was working in and running my own business at the time, and it was my choice as I still has a lot of agencies ringing and emailing me about jobs, they had that I would be a great fit for during that time. I used to thank them for thinking of me and then wish them luck on finding some for the job.
At one point while being in between jobs I even looked at other ways to get an extra income so that I could support myself better but none of those ever worked out. In fact, I lost lots of money I did not have to MLMs and things like crypto currency Scams which made my anxiety worse.
I never really took a break when I was in between jobs as I considered it more than a fulltime job to get myself back into work again. This worked for many years, but it left me burning the candle at both ends and practically burning out. There is a very thin line there between being driven and driving yourself into an early grave and you really do need to learn to stop and smell the roses and slow down every once and a while to see just how precious life really is and become grateful for that life. Once you do this you will find that life will move more and more in the direction you want it to because you have to look after yourself holistically first.
Through doing this I managed to get some really top-notch contracts and permanent jobs that pay quite well and where the managers above me respected me and supported me with my work.
Remember that they asked you in for the interview so the already know what you can bring to the table for the job. Whether the interview is online through a meeting or video conferencing platform or in person the process for the interview is still the same.
In fact you should feel more comfortable and in your zone if you are being interviewed online through a videoconferencing platform than in person.. ©
Copyright © 2022 Lynette Diehm.
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