While anxiety and momentum may sustain your job search through the holidays, think about rest and recuperation as an alternative
It's natural to want to continue your job search during the holiday season: you've got momentum, you've got leads, you've got a modicum of confidence.
The momentum comes from having created a job application system or "machine". You've set yourself goals for each day of how many resumes to submit. And each day you've established how many hours to search job platforms, or cull the numerous emails that enter your inbox pointing the way to more job openings.
And why not, we read in the news that there are too many job openings and not enough workers to fill them. But that does not necessarily apply to your field of work or discipline. The greatest number of job openings are those in healthcare, homecare and care for seniors, and in food service. It may be that taking a job in any of these and other face-to-face sectors may be a step back in your career.
Admittedly, the job market looks hot right now: labor's market, in which employers must be more generous, open, and adaptable. Nevertheless, during the holiday seasons, the minds and decisions of many companies and their HR departments are idling. They typically restart after the New Year.
So consider taking a pause in your job search. If you want to put a corporate-sounding name to taking a break, call it a "strategic retreat".
Strategic retreats in job searches are times during which we pause during an activity to assess the environment. Pauses also give us time to reconsider the direction we are going in, and our goals.
Rest-assured, however, that during those days- or weeks-long suspension of job search activities, our minds are still working on the best way to move forward to achieve our job search goals.
Meanwhile, we can give our bodies and brains the time they require to relax into the Four R's of effective action:
The stress and monotony of job seeking can wear anyone down. Still, you may feel as though you are able to push your way through the mental anguish and physical pain job searches can inflict on anyone. Nevertheless, the effort requires immense exertion. You will also have to attend to your own self-care, and perhaps the care of others.
All that energy comes out of the same biological barrel — you.
So take time to actively do nothing. By catching up on hobbies, pursuing new activities, and reconnecting with friends and family, you'll find yourself recharging your batteries. You'll be able to easily tell the difference between your drained self and your
Consider if the kind of job you've been applying to is really right for you. Does the prospect of doing the work excite you, replenish you? It doesn't necessarily have to give you purpose in life; however, hopefully, it doesn't suck the life out of you.
The same is true of the industry in which you may have been working for years. Is it still an appropriate industry for the stage of life you're in? The kind of work you did in your twenties may no longer be the right fit for you in your thirties or fifties. People have different requirements for personal growth and nourishment as they get older.
Take the time to become mindful of what you really need out of your work to top-up your life.
Take the few weeks remaining during the holiday season to research resources that will help you clinch that next job. Figure out what areas of your life in which you can learn more about your work concentration; take control of the search by identifying and researching the dream companies you'd like to work for, instead of just reacting to job postings you see.
Take advantage of the plethora of webinars — live and otherwise — on offer on the Internet. There are also online courses you can register for that even provide certification for improving skill sets.
Research networks that support professionals like yourself. Better yet, find online networks that can help support and refresh you emotionally: job searches are physically, mentally, and emotionally draining. Establishing ongoing relationships with people who are also on the same emotional rollercoaster as you will provide perspective. The connections may also help you realize during the holidays that you're not alone in your efforts to remake your life.
William R. Dodson is a contributing editor at EmployDiversityNetwork.com. His latest book is Virtually International: How Remote Teams Can Harness the Energy, Talent, and Insights of Diverse Cultures (Emerald Publishing Group, September 2021). You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.