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December 23, 2011

How to Beat Job Search Holiday Blues

What are you doing to ensure a positive attitude and productive job search activity as we enter the holiday season? To me the holidays can make or break your attitude. Depending on your personal situation, investing time with family and familiar surroundings can be heartening or disappointing. It’s usually a bit of both, right? Well meaning friends and associates can be helpful or hurtful because they know you well enough to prod you, get personal and get to you in many ways. What can you do to ensure productivity during “the holidays” and ensure your attitude and productivity stay solid?

Many scenarios could exist but here are a few:

  1. The Confidential Searcher. You are looking for a job and doing it confidentially. If you are around family this can be a time to connect and quietly share some of your goals for some good, confidential insight.
  2. The Current & Earnest Searcher. You are looking for a new career opportunity and you have been laid off rather recently or abruptly. You didn’t see it coming and you don’t feel like you are prepared to face family and friends.
  3. The Confident Seeker. You are ready, trained and focused on new opportunities. You have a game plan and you may even be interviewing.

In all of these job seeker scenarios it can be tough to handle the questions you might get and the usually abundant advice that will be coming your way. The most vulnerable people in career transition fall mainly into category two. If you are the Current and Earnest Searcher may not be prepared for the well-meaning but confusing attitudes and ideas coming your way.

Here are ways you can remain focused and positive during the holiday season and a few ideas meant to help you overcome the job search holiday blues during this time. Don’t forget. It does not matter what level you are in your career; career transition happens to us all. In fact even if you aren’t in an earnest search your career is moving.

In coaching executives in career transition in all stages of their career I recommend keeping a job search journal of some kind. Track your thoughts, ideas and look at your current career transition as a new journey that needs to be anchored in ideas, self-evaluation and creativity. It’s not productive to panic or react emotionally; it’s a time where you can actually become focused and improve yourself.

A colleague and career consultant Richard Kirby suggests attitude supporting activities that will keep your spirits high like a physical exercise plan, selective information consumption and to focus on selective networking opportunities with professionals who might be more available around holidays than they normally are at work. Ed Han, a Linked In connection answered this question by suggesting that we should look for the positive and to celebrate other job seekers good news. In other words look for finding ways to help others during your search and encourage them.

Here are two other ideas to employ during the holidays:

  1. Welcome Advice Like a Journalist. Do welcome advice but do not allow someone to drag your attitude down. Take notes, nod, listen and don’t react if someone comes up with a goofy idea or a woe is me type prediction for you in your career. Take notes and ideas down but you don’t have to use them. Remember your career life is your story and you are the author.
  2. Practice Interview Skills. Friends and family can be great because they test your attitude and mindset. They usually ask unfair or unusual questions. So let Uncle Harry ask! Wow Jim, what if you lose your house? Well instead of decking good ‘ol Uncle Harry practice some creative answers to that question that demonstrate your positive attitude and creativity. I remind my clients that they will get many unusual or even inappropriate questions. Welcome them but don’t let them get to you or hurt you.

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