Managing Emotions During a Job Campaign - Part 1

There was a time in the business culture when you were expected to keep your emotional reactions to yourself. Even acknowledging emotion was a sign of weakness. I believe we have finally moved away from that stifling era and are now recognizing that emotions play an important role in our ability to work, be effective and lead a balanced life.

This seems to be especially true during a job search. Most job seekers experience either strong negative and/or strong positive emotions throughout their search and often describe their time of unemployment as an “emotional roller coaster.” 

Denying your emotions can impede or undercut a job campaign. Recognizing and managing those emotions are critical skills for a successful job campaign; allowing you to see that the many expressions of self-doubt and perhaps lower self-esteem are normal and can be replaced with the self-confidence that will propel you into your next position.

In spite of this roller coaster of conflicting emotions, we have found that almost all of our clients are able to manage these feelings, develop a positive outlook and move forward in their job campaigns. A value of outplacement consulting is that it allows individuals to step back and critically examine the future direction that they would like their careers to take.

First, realize that there are ways of defining yourself other than in terms of a job. For example, you may be an excellent parent and family member, have contributed much to your community and be a kind and good person.

Second, consider that nothing is positive or negative when it happens. It depends upon how you interpret the event. Often, what is perceived as negative at first may turn out to be the first step forward in a very positive direction.  For example, we often see clients go on to positions more rewarding than the jobs from which they were let go. 

Third, deal with your emotions by recognizing them and talking them out with someone who is an excellent listener, who will maintain confidentiality and be supportive of you. This could be your outplacement consultant, a counselor, a close friend or a family member.

This is a very critical and important time in your career development. The courage to face your fears, doubts, negative self-expressions and, perhaps, overly critical inner judgments will help you to examine and understand them, reshape your perceptions, face some real facts that will help you to focus on your own motivations and know exactly the type of work you want. Furthermore, this focus, will help you develop a resume that will best describes your success and potential.

Some questions to ask yourself at this initial phase:

  1. Is there something you would like to do that you have been putting off? This is an important time to discuss this option with your supportive group, your consultant, etc.
  2. The next time you experience fear about an unknown future, ask yourself “What am I really afraid of?  What could happen?”  Listen to your fears,learn from them and make wiser choices.
  3. Think of the “Flow” activity. What feelings did you have when you experienced something that you were totally immersed in the process, and you did not realize time was passing by? You really enjoyed that moment. What were you doing? What was the situation? Were you alone or part of a group?  Was it work related or leisure?
  4. What should be my priorities in the next week, month, etc.?
  5. How am I going to spend my time in the job search process? Activities and being active will increase your success. Follow a process. Develop your communication pieces, network, research companies, attend networking meetings, etc.
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