Looking for a new career opportunity can feel really overwhelming and heavy sometimes. If you feel like you’re lugging around this big, ugly, heavy mess called a “career,” you’ll be weighed down and stuck. If you’re lucky enough to find work that speaks to you, you’ll be relieved, but exhausted.
I know how important it is to find a meaningful career or a job that you’re proud of. I know how important that is, and I know how unimportant it is. It’s both. Finding a way to bring our gifts out into the world is one of the most meaningful parts of being human, but we also mistakenly equate our worth with our job title. It’s no wonder that folks in the midst of a job search often feel badly about themselves and try to get out of it as quickly as possible – it’s not a very comfortable place to be for most of us.
Looking for work or a new career doesn’t have to be the worst time in your life, though. It needs to happen, right? Why resist it? When we resist what’s happening in our lives, we get tangled up in the belief that it shouldn’t be happening in the first place. When we’re tangled up in the resistance, we act out of fear or anger or bitterness, which isn’t very helpful. Instead of fighting against the fact that you aren’t where you want to be professionally, start by accepting it. Resist the urge to launch into a story about how you shouldn’t be in this situation or how you’ll never get out of it. Instead, watch your breath, imagine your mind getting quiet, and just get really present with how it feels.
Every time you feel yourself getting tangled up in feelings of failure, frustration, or resistance, get present. Get still. Feel your body from the inside out. Know that your basic needs are met and that you’re safe. When you simply find that “inner spaciousness,” as Eckhart Tolle puts it, I think you’ll remember a few things:
First, that nothing is permanent. As they say, “The only constant is change” or “This, too, shall pass.” I know the job search experience doesn’t always feel good, but try and rest in the assurance that nothing in life is permanent.
Second, that worrying about the future or anguishing over the past steals away your present. If we think of our energy as a resource that needs to be replenished, then I bet many of us are wasting it on being afraid of the future or ruminating on past mistakes. Your energy – the energy you could be using to write a powerful cover letter or nail an interview – is literally being sucked up by all the negative thoughts you’re having.
I know you know this, but it’s so hard to put into practice. If you can, imagine your energy staying with you in the present, and if you notice your thoughts moving into the future or the past, gently direct them back to this present moment. Reserve your energy for what you really need it for: living as your best self in this present moment. Career development can feel hard, and you need to safeguard your precious energy as much as you can in this process.
Third, that no one should look for a job 100% of the time. And yet, you should. I never recommend that someone who is unemployed spend 40 hours per week looking for work. I’d recommend that you spend no more than 20-30 hours per week actively job searching, and leave the rest of your time for renewal. You will send out better materials, feel better about yourself, and come across as more appealing to recruiters when there is a lightness about you, an ease. Cultivate that stillness and ease as much as you can in this process, whether it’s through your own spiritual practice, getting together with supportive friends, hiking, or anything that nourishes you.
That all said, I would suggest that you pay attention to your job search 100% of the time. Job opportunities or new paths open up in unexpected ways all the time, and if you’re not receptive to the world around you, you might miss it. Be open to the idea that something totally unexpected might come up.
In the spirit of keeping things light today, enjoy this little gem below!
Know someone who needs a little lightness today? Consider passing this post along to them!