Entries tagged with “transition”.
Did you find what you wanted?
Wed 31 Mar 2010
By Diva Nikki (interviewing her husband Brian)
(c) March 31, 2010
Isn’t it amazing how men and women view the world differently?
For any of you who read and remember Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, we often seem to be from another planet. So how does all this play out when a couple is in the midst of career transition?
In this two-part series, “He Said, She Said,” you’ll hear from both sides…and finally meet the amazing husband of your favorite Desperate Workingwife as I interview him for this article.
Part 1 – HE SAID: Transition from husband Brian’s perspective
Desperate Workingwife (DWW): What’s been the hardest thing about being in transition?
Brian: The hardest things about being in transition are the feeling of helplessness and the feeling of non-contribution. Even with an active plan to find a new job, there is still only so much that I can control. Since I’m not making a real salary, I feel like I’m letting the family down.
DWW: What’s been the biggest blessing?
B: The biggest blessing is the increase in free time. There is extra time to bond with the cats, and to take care of a few things around the house. Being able to score points with my wife by taking care of laundry and cleaning is nice. I also have the ability to put some effort into pet projects and potential self-employment options.
DWW: What has surprised you the most during this time of transition?
B: I am surprised most by the length of the transition. In good economic times, when a position is posted, HR professionals hope to find someone who meets about 75% of their preferred criteria. During this transition I have been unable to get interviews for positions where I meet about 90% of the preferred criteria. It seems that there are so many people on the market that every position attracts multiple applicants who do meet 100%. Along with the length of the transition, I am surprised by the lack of much tension at home.
DWW: In what ways have you worked to sustain your marriage during this time of change?
B: The way I work most to sustain my marriage is to be helpful at home. No matter how much time I am looking for a new job, there is always some down-time during the day. Some of this time is reserved for household chores that my wife would normally do.
Another way that I work to sustain the marriage is to try to keep my transition frustrations from dominating time spent with my wife. She knows I am frustrated and I know she is frustrated. There is no need to dwell on the frustration and ruin the night. Dates at home and dates at inexpensive restaurants are nice ways of keeping romance alive while on a budget.
DWW: Where have you found information or support?
B: I have found information and support pretty much everywhere. Friends and family have been good sources of both. Networking groups and job-seeker support groups and industry association meetings provide support in different ways. The key is to seek out multiple avenues of support covering different demographics to maximize the breadth of information.
DWW: What changes have you made in your household that you think have most helped you make it through the transition?
B: The revised budget probably provides the most help. By knowing what we can and can’t spend during the week, one large source of stress is removed. Knowing how long we can be okay financially allows me to focus on other areas.
DWW: What’s the first thing you’ll do when the transition period is over?
B: The first thing I will do is take my wife out to a nice sushi dinner and possibly a mini-vacation. Recovering our emergency funds will be a high priority, but showing my appreciation for my wife who has been totally supportive in my search will come first.
Stay tuned for next Wednesday’s edition of Desperate Workingwife, when the tables turn and husband Brian interviews Diva Nikki in “He Said, She Said” – Part II: The “She Said” Edition.
Mon 22 Mar 2010
(c) March 22, 2010
One day last week, I had a small window of time between phone calls, so I thought I better walk over to our neighborhood library to return a few books whose due dates were quickly creeping up.
It was a relatively nice day, and I thought I could kill two birds with one stone by hitching the dog up to the leash and walking him to the library with me.
Our dog likes excitement—and it really doesn’t take much to qualify. He is delirious with happiness every time he hears any of the following, in no particular order:
“Do you want to…go potty?”
“Do you want to…go on a Field Trip?” (That’s our code word for a car ride.)
“Do you want to…have a treat?”
But today something interesting happened. I was about to ask, “Do you want to…go for a walk?” when I got interrupted and didn’t get to finish my sentence. All I said was, “Do you want to…?” (and then I paused to look at my BlackBerry), and yet the dog still nearly jumped out of his skin with enthusiasm.
It occurred to me that perhaps his excitement was in the prospect of something happening, not in the specific activity itself.
Those of us who are in career transition—either starting a new business venture or looking for that next job opportunity—often fall into this trap, too. How often do we find ourselves hinging all our hopes (and happiness) on the specifics of “what’s next” instead of on the “what’s now”? We tell ourselves we’ll be happy once we get that new job, make a certain amount of money, land that new client, achieve work/life balance, save enough to retire…you get the idea.
But instead, maybe we are robbing ourselves of the ability to enjoy the mystery and the joy of the here and now. By focusing on the outcomes we think we need, perhaps we are neglecting some powerful gifts that are here right now—including the ability to “live in the moment.”
Try it today. Set aside the doubts and nagging voice that insists that the future will be your savior, and try to enjoy today in all of its beautiful, mysterious unfolding.
Tue 2 Mar 2010
(c) March 2, 2010
Each Christmas, I ask for the Life’s Little Instructions desk calendar for the coming year.
I love all the nuggets of wisdom it offers and I keep it on the counter in the kitchen “staging area” (the place where the mail and bills stack up and the cell phone charges) so I can glance at it often as I am going about my day.
Today’s “little instructions” calendar page really struck a chord with me—and I think it will with you, too. It says, simply:
“Treasure time. No amount of money can retrieve a single second.”
Wow. This one really hit me.
A year and a half ago, I went on a family “girls weekend” to Chicago to celebrate my aunt’s birthday, and I ended up missing some of the fun because I was stuck dealing with a work crisis for half of the weekend. There is nothing like stuffing yourself into a corner of the cosmetics section at Macy’s on Michigan Avenue on a crowded Saturday afternoon and frantically typing missives on your BlackBerry to folks back at the office to make you aware that your work and life are completely out of whack.
No amount of money can retrieve a single second.
A year ago, I went on vacation with some friends to Las Vegas. My friend had specifically asked me if I could leave my BlackBerry at home this time. I said I would do my best, but I still found myself sneaking into the women’s locker room at the spa in my robe, in between the hot stone massage and the pedicure, to quickly address a problem back at the office. At the spa, for pete’s sake!
No amount of money can retrieve a single second.
Six months ago, I asked my husband what we should do for vacation. “I thought you didn’t take vacations anymore,” he said to me.
No amount of money can retrieve a single second.
Over the summer, a close family friend died unexpectedly. Several months later, in the middle of the night, my parents called with the news that my uncle had been killed in an accident—on a highway he traveled daily for a decade. We miss them so much. We were blessed to have spent many wonderful moments with them…but what if we hadn’t made the time?
No amount of money can retrieve a single second.
The fact of the matter is that (1) Life deals us what life deals us, and (2) We are the only ones who have the ultimate authority to be the stewards of our time, in a way that aligns with our values.
One of the reasons I left my job and started my own business is because I reached a point where enough was enough. I wanted to be the captain of my own destiny, and that included having the final say on where and how I spend my time. Obviously it’s not all “fun and games” all the time – There are still responsibilities and deadlines and clients who need attention. But I didn’t want to miss out on another thing I value, personally or professionally.
Individuals in job transition—whether looking for that next job opportunity or starting a new business venture—may not have the benefit of a regular, robust paycheck, but we do have an even more important gift on our hands in the interim: the gift of time.
Take full advantage of this gift. How will you spend it? Here are a few ideas:
Make things right with the people who’ve been craving your time and attention. Maybe, like me, you were working in a pressure cooker, glued to your BlackBerry and dealing with one crisis or issue after another in a high-stress work environment. Or, alternatively, perhaps you were so burned out that you were too tired to participate in activities with your family or friends, even when you were available. If you blew off someone important to you, even if they understand that you were in survival mode at the time, you owe them an apology. Do it today. Make things right again.
Create a time “hierarchy” list in which you assign all key areas of your life a priority. If spending time with your kids is your top priority, rank that “No. 1.” Maybe volunteering at your church or synagogue is your “No. 2” priority. Ranking these key areas of your life will help you make better decisions about where your time goes.
Set aside a few minutes each week to call or e-mail a friend, loved one or colleague. Let them know what they mean to you. Even if you can’t be with them frequently, let them know they are important to you—in your own words.
Identify two or three drains on your time and take steps to remove them.
Perhaps you were cornered into volunteering for a project that doesn’t rank high on your priority list. Or, maybe you find yourself continuing certain habits that no longer fit your current lifestyle.
Write down a “mission statement” for how you will better maintain boundaries to manage your work/life flow.
For example, will you promise to only check your BlackBerry once a day while you’re on vacation? Or, better yet, will you arrange for a trusted friend or colleague to be a first point of contact for your business dealings while you are away? If you are invited to two events at the same time, will you always give priority to the family activity or the activity involving your closest friends?
Identify areas of your life where you are suffering from “diminishing returns.”
I know some people who will drive 30 miles to save $1.00 at a grocery store. And while it’s certainly true that many of us are being more fiscally careful during this down economy, are you wasting your time for such a small return? There are likely several areas of your life where you are saving money but wasting an awful lot of time. See if you can’t bring these a little closer into alignment.
Do the thing you’ve always been wanting to do but never had the time.
Maybe it’s taking a class at the gym that was always out of reach because it’s in the middle of the work day. Perhaps it’s working from a funky little coffee shop, which your old boss never would’ve given you permission to do. Or, maybe you simply relish the ability to take a book and sit in the park for a few minutes each afternoon.
We are blessed with the gift of time. And, at the end of our lives, that’s what we will remember and treasure most of all. Why not use this time of transition to really focus on what matters most?
Wed 10 Feb 2010
By Diva Nikki
(c) February 10, 2010
First, I’d like to thank those of you who sent notes of support and concern after my recent Prioritizing Priorities article.
I’d also like to reassure you that in our household, nothing excremental or otherwise has yet hit the fan. We’re just taking further steps to prepare ourselves as best we can.
Not to say it’s all puppies and rainbows in our lives these days, either. But one thing I’ve noted about times of trial in our lives is that it puts in sharp, unmistakable relief the good things in our lives as well. It makes me think of one of my favorite quotes:
“Don’t block the blessings.” – Patti LaBelle
As a Desperate Workingwife, here are some of my suggestions for recognizing the blessings in your life…even when your spouse’s career transition may be far, far less than a blessing.
Appreciate your own career and development.
I recently underwent a bit of career transition myself and began reporting to a new manager in a new area of the company at the beginning of this year. I might have been tempted, at first, to think, “Gee…just what I need. More change.” And that would’ve blocked some serious blessings. Because as it turns out, my new manager is one of the best surprises I’ve had in a long time. She believes in me wholeheartedly, pushes me to be better and encourages me to think bigger. She’s completely reenergized my passion for what I do. There’s a blessing I want to count, not block.
Stop and revel in your own accomplishments.
I’m not saying you should rub your own accomplishments in your spouse’s face. Be tactful. But do celebrate your wins in a personal way. Just finished a big project at work? Treat yourself to a pair of shoes on clearance. Lost a pound this week? Do a happy dance in the kitchen. (I highly recommend socks on hardwood floors for the best spinning capabilities.)
Celebrate the accomplishments of others.
You’ve probably heard that even if you’re feeling down, if you physically make yourself smile that act will eventually elicit the corresponding emotion of happiness. (Try it.) Celebrating the blessings of others can bring you blessings of your own. So attend your friend’s baby shower, go to happy hour to celebrate your co-worker’s promotion and hoot and holler when your spouse gets called for an interview.
Notice and accept support with gratitude.
Chance are, you’ve got a great support network in your life. (My best girls – you know who you are and I love you.) Have you noticed that more often lately, as you’ve been living through your spouse’s career transition time, that lunch or coffee tabs are picked up by friends? Rather than argue with them. let them and thank them. Most of us have it in our nature to want to help the people we care about. This is their time to help you – don’t block their blessings by taking that opportunity away from them.
Thank God for the blessings which come out of thin air.
Maybe you got an unexpected refund check in the mail. Or your heating bill was less than you thought it would be this month. In my case, out of nowhere, a new friend came into my life through one of my music groups. Without any rhyme or reason I could think of, this beautiful woman became somewhat of a personal cheerleader for me and gave me confidence at exactly the time when I needed it. When these things seem to come out of nowhere, simply stop and offer praise for the Holy Spirit’s influence in your life.
Patti Labelle, Don’t Block the Blessings – available on Amazon.com
Yvonne Bynoe, Is Your Attitude Blocking Your Blessings?,
Tue 9 Feb 2010
(c) February 9, 2010
Here in the nation’s capital, we have been buried under piles of snow since last Friday afternoon, with another foot or more expected to fall tonight and tomorrow.
While it’s fun to be essentially marooned in the house (thankfully, we have power but thousands of others are not so lucky), even the dog is getting a little sick of staring at the same four walls for days on end. We haven’t figured out how to break it to him that the cabin fever is likely to persist for several more days.
These “snow days” got me thinking about how routines—or lack thereof—can both foster and impede progress. A snow day is a transition in miniature, and there are some lessons that can be applied to transitions of any kind.
- Break up the routine.
I wish I had a dollar for all the Facebook postings by friends gleefully exclaiming that work had been shut down on Monday (and then again on Tuesday) due to the snow. There’s a little kid inside all of us who is gleeful anytime the routine gets broken. A free day! No suit and tie! No demands! No obligations! An excuse to park the BlackBerry in the drawer!
When you’re in career transition, your normal routine is probably different now than it once was, but it’s still easy to get stuck in a rut (even if it’s a rut of “waiting” or of doing “nothing”). Don’t wait for the snow to give you an excuse to break up your routine – Do one thing different today to keep your perspective fresh and your energy high. It can be simple, like going to Starbucks for a Cinnamon Dolce Latte instead of your usual brewed-at-home boring coffee. Or wearing something that’s been in the back of the closet for awhile. Or going to a quirky coffeehouse to do some work, for a change of venue. Or meeting a friend for lunch or visiting a museum in the middle of the day.
Even in career transition, it’s possible to reclaim that same “giddy,” joyful feeling that a snow day can evoke.
- But keep some semblance of routine, anyway.
Despite the thrill of the snow day, by the time you’ve been stuck in the house for four days, the joy and charm of it all starts to wane a bit. The groceries run low. Your pale white skin starts to look green from lack of sunlight. So, while I advocate mixing up the routine a bit, it pays to keep some semblance of a routine in place so you can keep your wits about you.
The same is true for those of us in career transition. What begins as a liberating moment can one day make you feel stuck. A friend of mine who’s been self-employed off and on over the years gave me this piece of advice when I left my job to start my own business: “Get up and get dressed every day as if you were still going in to the office.”
While we sure wouldn’t fault you for the occasional day spent in sweat pants, try to “show up” for yourself every day by putting a little effort into your routine.
- Do the thing that’s been hanging over your head.
There were dozens of things I really could have—or should have—tended to while being stranded in the house over the weekend. Gathering paperwork for tax time, ironing my husband’s dress shirts (I offer to do this for him, by the way) and working on a project for a client were on the list. Instead, I organized my sock drawer.
Why the sock drawer, you may ask? Well, it had become a jumbled mess, and every time I opened the drawer to pull out a pair, I was reminded of how much it was annoying me. I longed for the basic order of a well-tidied sock drawer: one row for athletic socks, one row for dress socks, one row for casual and wool socks (and the fabulous socks my friend Nikki knits for me, which are simply the best!).
When you are in job transition, there are likely a few tasks—some small, some large— that are hanging over your head: unfinished business in your personal or professional life that you keep bumping into. Give yourself permission, for just one hour or just one day, to focus your efforts on dealing with them for once and for all. You can always get back to “business as usual” tomorrow.
- Seek out community.
As the snow began to fall already last Friday, a neighbor knocked on our door to let us know about an impromptu happy hour in the community room of our condo building. Then, on Saturday, another knock on the door – the same neighbor, with another invitation to another impromptu party. We don’t usually socialize with our neighbors (in fact, until we got our dog, we barely knew anyone here) but we decided it would be a fun change of pace, so we went. We stayed for hours. We met a woman originally from Minnesota, a military officer who works at the Pentagon, a former interior designer who is writing a cookbook, a fellow writer who moonlights as a dog-walker, a newcomer from Connecticut who just moved here in December. We left feeling a lot of goodwill and affection toward our neighbors. Now when we leave our building and run into someone, instead of simply asking, “How’s the dog?”, they now also ask, “How’s business? How’s your family? Heading back to Wisconsin soon?”
When you’re in transition, it’s easy to wall yourself off from people – maybe because you are so focused on your “next thing” or perhaps because you feel like less of yourself right now. But now is not the time to hunker down alone. Even if you don’t feel like you can (or want to) actively seek out community right now, at least allow yourself to be invited into one. You will leave a more fulfilled and supported person, I promise you.
And, even if nothing else, perhaps you will leave with the name of a good dog walker!
Wed 27 Jan 2010
By Diva Nikki
(c) January 27, 2010
In one of my recent posts, I talked a bit about how the journey with a spouse in career transition can be a long one.
So what do you do when the magical end date for unemployment insurance is getting closer and closer at hand? How, you may ask, do you cut things back even further when you’ve already been cutting back?
I’m going to preface the following with a disclaimer. (Thank you, 11 years of working with lawyers in a highly regulated industry.) I am not a financial advisor, nor do I suggest any of the following as official financial advice. You really need to consult your own professional financial about what makes sense for your situation and what your options are. What I do want to offer, however, is food for thought from my own life.
Here are some things to consider as the journey gets longer.
Look at your budget…again.
There are “nice to haves” and “need to haves.” For example, saving for retirement is a really important strategy. And…it also won’t kill our entire future if we stop investing for a few months.
Here’s an example. Our cable bill just went up. And we started thinking hard about whether cable is a necessity or just a nicety. Especially in the days of Hulu.com – is it worth over $100 a month for the convenience of flipping through a bunch channels just because we’re bored? Or could we get by with Internet and more time to read books?
Protect the income you do have.
As the sole breadwinner, I decided to take out a disability insurance policy for myself, above what my employer already covered. It’s an added expense (at a time we don’t need additions), but for me it was worth knowing that if something happened to me while my husband’s still looking for work, the income we do have would be safer.
Encourage your spouse to start broadening the job search.
Undesirable as this prospect may be, if the realities of this economy and job market are such that he’s just not finding a job that fulfills his worth and experience, it might be time to broaden the options. Discuss the possibility of looking for less senior positions or positions in former fields of expertise. Or, if your family situation would allow, discuss the possibility of broadening the geographic part of the search. There may be more opportunity in other areas.
If dire straits are truly near, consider part-time work.
Not that any career professional (let alone an MBA) would relish the thought, but asking if “you want fries with that” would at least help make ends meet if you need to make up for unemployment insurance when it ends. And a part-time schedule would allow for networking and job searching time. If you want to be really supportive, you could consider part-time work, too. Perhaps working weekends at a shop you love.
Consider the value of your clutter.
Do you have things around the house you don’t use but may have value? For instance, since my husband and I got iPods, we realized we never used our CDs anymore. So we sold them to a used book store and made several hundred dollars. Look around to see if there might be things you could trade in for cash.
Hang in there and keep supporting each other.
You will get through this. Together. There will be a better future.
Tue 26 Jan 2010
Posted by Linda Lande
(c) January 26, 2010
Today’s economy has plenty of people searching for new employment. But could you inadvertantly be getting in the way of your own job search success?
If you’re falling flat with job applications or interviews, it might be because you’re falling into these common trip-ups.
In today’s segment (Part I), we show you some of the most frequent pitfalls that happen before an interview that will clearly work against you.
Part 1. Before the Interview
Are you making any of these trip-ups?
Sending the exact same cover letter and resume to each potential employer.
If XYZ Corporation receives materials saying that you’re looking forward to becoming an employee of ABC Corporation, it’s guaranteed that your resume will be deposited quickly in the trash.
“Your materials should be customized for each job application,” says Stacey Stratton, president and executive recruiter for True Talent Group. That means addressing your cover letter to a specific person (when possible), mentioning the company’s name a couple times in the main text, telling them how your skills and personality will benefit their organization, and briefly explaining why you’re interested in the position.
Keeping your humorous phone message.
You want them to know that you’re light-hearted and fun, right?
“Make sure that the phone you direct potential employers to has a clear, professional message,” says Stratton. “It’s the first time they’ll hear your voice—make it count.”
Including spelling errors in your materials.
And if you really want to sink your ship, misspell people’s names—maybe even your own!
There really is no excuse for spelling errors—but don’t trust spell check alone! Read through your materials carefully to ensure that you are using the correct spelling and the right words.
Forgetting a couple items.
Employers like to know that employees can follow directions. So to ensure you don’t get the job, exclude a few of the items requested, such as work samples, forms, a list of references, or your salary history.
The job market is tough. Any means of weeding candidates will be used. Give potential employers what they ask for—in the way they ask for it.
Leaving inappropriate pictures and messages on Facebook and other online venues.
What’s the big deal? Work life and personal life are totally separate, right?
“All employers Google potential candidates,” says Stratton. “You’ve got to be on your ‘A’ game. Clean up your online information.”
In fact, there are experts and services, such as Social Media 1-2-3 for Job Seekers, to help you audit, evaluate and shape your online presence for maximum job search success.
Failing to spend time preparing.
You know all about yourself—what’s there to prepare for?
“While much of the interview is about you,” says Marni Hockenberg, principal and executive recruiter for Hockenberg Search, “potential employers also want to know that you’re sincerely interested in them. The ‘I’ in ‘interview,’ is not about you.”
Do your research. Visit the company’s Web site to learn about who they are, what they do, how they behave as a member of the business community. “Even more important,” says Hockenberg, “review the company’s mission, vision and goals—and then determine ways that you will help them meet those goals.” Know why you’re a good fit for the job.
“Come prepared to explain how you have helped other employers meet their business challenges—and explain how you’ll do the same for them,” Hockenberg says. “Know how you’ve benefited your previous employers.”
She also recommends taking at least three sets of printed resumes and references with you.
Stay tuned for Part II: During the Interview in Thursday’s installment of Tripping on the Ladder.
Thu 14 Jan 2010
(c) January 14, 2010
Starting a new business is an exciting, thrilling opportunity—but, if you’re not careful, your new venture can easily drain your finances before you even earn a penny in profit.
In Tuesday’s issue of “The Daily Rung,” I shared with you a few tips for knowing what to spend your money on when forming a new small business. And now it’s time to consider a few places where you can save money.
Part II: Where You Should Save
Unless you are expecting clients to visit your office, you really don’t need much in the way of office furniture—at least, not right away. If you’re working from home, you’ll probably need a desk with ample work space, a good ergonomically sound chair (since you’ll presumably be sitting in it much of the day) and a file cabinet, preferably one that locks and is fire proof.
Be sure to set up some space that is dedicated solely to your work. In other words, your work desk shouldn’t double as the gift-wrapping table and the poker night table, and the keep the kids and the dog away from it, too. In a home office, it’s critical to keep your work space separate from your living space. Not only will this help keep you organized, but it’s also a requirement by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) if you are planning to claim home office deductions on your annual income tax return.
If you need to equip a new office, Craigslist, office furniture resale stores and Target and other discount retailers offer low-budget solutions. And even if what you come up with is hardly a matched set, if aesthetic is important to you, never underestimate the power of a good can of spray paint to give all the pieces a cohesive look.
Depending on your line of work, you may or may not need to have a dedicated telephone and/or telephone number. So much business these days is transacted via e-mail that, if you have to make a choice, it might make sense to invest in a high-speed Internet service first, rather than a phone line. If you plan to use a cell phone for business purposes, ask your wireless service provider to give you a special rate by bundling it with your current calling plan. If you use a land line, consider purchasing prepaid telephone cards to make long-distance phone calls rather than paying for costly long-distance service.
And, there are many great services available—Skype being one of them—that offer free web conference services so you can hold virtual meetings with colleagues and clients without spending a cent, and all from the comforts of “home.”
As soon as you announce that you are open for business, you will likely be on the receiving end of endless solicitations to advertise your new business. Whether it’s a representative from the Yellow Pages, the community “shopper” newspaper, or the latest fad in online advertising, the solicitations will come. These sales people have a job to do—and goodness knows it requires persistence on their part—but that doesn’t mean you should just hand over your wallet, either.
Before you consider any kind of advertising for your business, revisit your business plan. Who are the customers you are hoping will hire you? And where are they? If you are trying to appeal to a niche market, chances are good that your prospective customers won’t be looking for you in the Yellow Pages. Likewise, if your target customers aren’t Web users, then online advertising may not help you reach the right folks.
Advertising, when done carefully and selectively, can really help your business development efforts. Advertising, when done foolishly or without a plan, is like watching your money run straight out the door. Be selective—and, if you’re really unsure, there’s no harm in trying some other business generating activities first (phone calls, face-to-face meetings) before considering alternate forms of getting the word out.
Wed 13 Jan 2010
By Diva Nikki
(c) January 13, 2010
I have a phrase I’ve shared with many people: “Patience is a virtue. It’s just not one of mine.”
Tolerance, I’ve got plenty.
Love, in abundance.
Understanding, in spades.
Patience…not so much.
So when I tell you that if you have a spouse in career transition that you should be prepared for this journey to be long one, I want you to appreciate exactly how hard that journey is for me.
I’m a doer. I’m an action girl. I love to help. I adore making things happen. How does that work into helping my husband find work? It really, really doesn’t.
The reality is, in today’s environment it can take a long time to find a new job. There are lots of really talented, highly experienced people out there and available for hire. I remember a time when job descriptions might have said they wanted 10 years of XYZ experience, but didn’t necessarily require that of a potential employee. I remember a time when they might have taken a chance on someone with different industry experience but who had the right skills. Now, companies can be entirely prescriptive of exactly the length and type of experience they want – and have 46 people apply with those exact specifications.
I’m not going to lie: the waiting is hard. And it’s especially hard as the spouse of the one doing the looking. Because really – there’s nothing you can actively “do” to help. And as the wait gets longer, the more stressful things can get.
So how do you get through the seeming eternity that is your spouse’s transition? How do you keep your household – and marriage – going?
Occasionally, revisit your plan.
You put together a budget, agreed on compromises and schedules within the first few weeks of transition. But it’s a good idea to revisit those if the journey is taking a few months. Make sure the plans you set will still work if things go longer than you thought.
If need be, create a “worst case scenario” plan.
What happens if unemployment insurance runs out and your spouse still hasn’t found a new career? Take another look at finances, support networks and possibilities. Create the “holy crud” plan now, while things are still okay. That way, if it needs to be put in place, you won’t have to create it in a panic.
Find ways to re-energize.
If you’ve ever followed a diet plan, you know that even when you begin a plan with utmost dedication, after awhile, you can lose energy. Find ways in the midst of this transition to re-energize – individually and as a couple. Talk to each other. Encourage one another. Pursue (affordable) hobbies or activities that make you feel good. Build romance into each day.
If you think you’re feeling dragged down as the career transition timeline continually drags on, how do you think your spouse feels? No matter how hard it is, keep offering support. Let him know every day you love him and believe in him.
Fri 8 Jan 2010
Guest Column By Marni Hockenberg
(c) January 8, 2010
A job search can easily be put on the back burner during the holidays, especially if the search has lasted six months or longer.
It’s good to recharge yourself during the holidays to avoid job search burnout. But, like allowing yourself just one more holiday cookie, the temptation to play now and pay later can be dangerous. Moderation is the key.
Hopefully during this holiday season, you enjoyed your down time while also taking some simple and practical steps to jump-start your 2010 job search. But even if you didn’t, it’s not too late to boost your efforts now that the first days of the new year are upon us.
Reflect on your 2009 job search.
Write down five activities you did that successfully moved your job search in the right direction. Keep doing them in 2010. Then write down five activities that didn’t provide traction and discontinue them in 2010.
In other words, make a resolution to be intentional and use your time wisely.
Find an “Accountability Buddy.”
Job searching can be lonely—but with a buddy, you don’t need to be the Lone Ranger anymore. Write down and review your daily, weekly and monthly job search goals with your buddy. Ask him or her to hold you accountable. When you achieve your goals, your buddy can celebrate with you!
Flashcards will give your interview “flash”
Remember flashcards? I used them in school to learn math (where are they? I still need them!). Buy a pack and write down the tough interview questions that stump you.
Formulate your answers and ask your Accountability Buddy to participate in a mock interview with you. Rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat.
Preparation is key in a job interview!
Attend job search educational workshops, forums and meetings.
Even if you learn one tip that will propel you toward achieving your goal, it will be worth your time.
For example, I’m offering an interactive Interview Workshop on January 12, 2010, titled “How The Hiring Game Is Really Played: Experienced Recruiter Reveals 9 Interview Secrets!” from 8:15-10:30 a.m. at the Ridgedale Library in Minnetonka, Minn. For those of you in the Twin Cities area who’d like to register, visit my Web site at www.hockenbergsearch.com/calendar. For those of you in other parts of the country, seek out workshops that will help you build your skills to become a more confident and prepared job-seeker.
No matter what you do, the simple steps you take now can pay dividends as the new year unfolds!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Guest columnist Marni Hockenberg is principal of Hockenberg Search, a professional and managerial recruiting firm based in Minnetonka, Minn. With more than two decades of recruiting and business consulting experience, Marni Hockenberg has a proven track record of providing focused, personalized search services to small- and medium-sized businesses to help them find, recruit and retain top-tier talent.