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The Job Seekers Guide to Surviving Valentine’s Day

By: Tierra Ortiz-Rodriguez, M.Ed., LPC Intern

Love it or hate it, V-Day holds a special place in our collective conscience, as this is a holiday that compels us to take stock of how much love is in our lives or missing from it. Valentine’s Day can bring joy for the happy couple or distress for the single person longing for relationship. For the job seeker, Valentine’s Day can evoke dissatisfaction about being jobless when there is real need and longing for employment.

Whether you’re a lonely single looking for love or a concerned job seeker looking for the next big opportunity, here are 8 simple “Love Principles” to encourage you on your journey.

  • First of all, you are not alone in this nor are you the only person going through this! Also, your feelings are OK and normal. The thing that many people identify as most helpful when they go to the Job Search Support Group at the Montrose Center is the realization that others face common struggles. In the process of meeting fellow job seekers, you get exposed to new ideas, learn new or more effective job search strategies, and even exchange job leads and resources with others. Social connection is as vital for the single person as it is for the job seeker.
  • Searching for work is really about finding a good match between your skills, interests, and abilities and the position, company, and industry. As a job seeker, your relationship status is “dating” and your task is to develop your selection criteria for evaluating different partners based on assessment of your needs, preferences, and values. When you know what you want, you are able to channel your energy into pursuing those goals. Job seekers are understandably nervous when they go on “dates,” or interviews. To help calm the nerves, remember it’s a two-way street. Just as employers are evaluating you, you are also evaluating the employer to determine if they are compatible for you. People often feel they have to be 100% compatible with their jobs, but in reality you’re in fairly good shape if your job can meet 70% of your needs.
  • It is a match made in heaven when people are able to find and do meaningful work. Passion about your work makes it possible to tolerate that 30% that does not match your ideal. When you are motivated by work you love, it helps you be more willing to take risks, sacrifice, and endure hardship. Often people come to the Job Search Support Group discouraged after a prolonged job search that has not yielded a job offer, and we like to remind them to think about the reasons why they are doing this in the first place. In the words of a famous existentialist, a person “who has a why to live can bear with almost any how.”
  • The world of work is in constant flux, but one thing that stays the same is the fact we most often land a job through our social network. One of the most effective and most underutilized of job search strategies is networking. Not surprisingly this is also the most intimidating! Building relationships is a skill-set that takes practice and patience, and don’t forget courage. We invite you to come practice networking in the safe and affirming space of the Job Search Support Group.
  • Many people are heart-broken about being out of the workforce for extended periods of time, losing a job, getting fired, or feeling stuck in a job with little opportunity for growth and advancement. Many people struggle with unique challenges, such as disability, prior incarceration, age discrimination, etc. Not to mention, job seekers are especially sensitive to feeling rejected. We know it’s not easy and we understand it feels uncertain and vulnerable. The Job Search Support Group is here to support you along the journey and provides a meeting place where you can develop tools to improve your job search and build courage to do the necessary tasks.
  • There is this idea that before you can fully love another, you must love yourself. We completely agree. Self-care is very important during the job search. People are told to treat their job search like a full-time job, often forgetting that when they were working full-time life was out of balance! Not enough time to exercise, prepare healthy meals, or spend time with loved ones. However, the job search is more like a marathon than a sprint, and taking good care of yourself will serve you well in the long-run. Rather than approach the job search as a full-time job, try devoting 20-25 hours of quality time to the job search and spend the rest of your available time to quality self-care. Here are some ideas for self-care: keep a regular routine, learn how to manage time, exercise, meditate or pray, develop good sleep habits, use relaxation techniques, try deep breathing, drink plenty of H2O, practice positive affirmations, engage in your hobbies, spend quality time with others. Why? Because you’re worth it, and because a healthy job seeker is a more effective job seeker.
  • Valentine’s Day can be less stressful for those individuals who embrace the benefits of being single. Similarly, the job search can be less stressful for the job seeker who embraces the opportunities that being in career transition affords. Often this is a time that people pursue continuing education, seek volunteer opportunities, take a class to update their knowledge base, take care of family or health, explore entrepreneurship and contract work, etc. The idea is to make the most of the present moment, and our creative efforts to use time wisely while out of work can be advantageous in many ways. Often we make valuable job connections through our chance encounters with new people, places, and things. And often these creative efforts provide compelling stories to share with interviewers to demonstrate some of our best transferable skills, such as tenacity, adaptability, and commitment to professional development.
  • Finally, Valentine’s Day is not only for couples in an exclusive relationship. At the Montrose Center we recognize all the beautiful, diverse ways in which love and affection can be expressed. Some people enjoy monogamy, others polyamory. For the job seeker, we welcome the perspective that there are many jobs which can feed your needs and passions. You might be engaged in a survival job and exploring contract work on the side. You might be learning how to turn a hobby into an income stream while keeping your nine to five. Many people juggle multiple part-time jobs to make ends meet or to keep things interesting. Whatever works!

Many people are discovering what works for them at the Job Search Support Group, and we invite you to join us this Valentine’s Day or any Friday of the month.

The Job Search Support Group is open to members of the community who are in career transition, including unemployed, underemployed, and recent college graduates. Objectives of this group include learning job search skills, networking, sharing job leads, providing accountability, practicing self-care and stress management, and addressing LGBTQ issues related to the job search. This group provides much needed social support to get you through the job search and closer to your goals! The group meets on Fridays in Room 114 of the Montrose Center, 1-2:30pm. Please contact Tierra Ortiz-Rodriguez for more information: 713.800.0822.

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