As I looked out the window and hear the morning rush hour, it finally struck me. That was my life for six years: waking up earlier than I wanted to, rushing to get out the door, and fighting traffic to get to work.
I never thought I would say this, but I miss that life. I’ve been job searching for the last month or so. While I’ve kept myself busy with working on my blog, Cubicle Chic, taking care of some important personal business (changing my last name after getting married has NOT been fun), reading profusely, and taking a lot of online courses, there are times when I catch myself feeling frustrated with how long it’s taken me to get back into Corporate America.
I talk to friends and family about it, and they reassure me that with my credentials and experience, it’s only a matter of time, and I should be more patient.
But when it’s 10:30 AM, and I’m staring at LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and even Craigslist, and all the job applications I’ve sent out, it’s hard not to wonder Now what? What else do I do? Inevitably, frustration sets in, because I feel like I have done everything I could, and I’m still not where I need to be.
To distract myself from this type of negative thinking and the world of despair it often spirals into, I started to engage myself in activities that take my mind off things, but still allow me to feel productive.
1. Create a career mind map.
Are you on the right track with your career? A break from employment might just be the perfect time to figure out whether you are maximizing your potential, or if you have all the skills required to find your dream job. It’s an exercise that helps you look in the mirror at your professional self, find clarity, and identify areas for growth.
2. Connect with more like-minded professionals/individuals.
For a person who draws energy from her groups and community, spending a lot of time alone never benefits me in the long run. I make a conscious effort to find local events where I can meet with other creative and marketing professionals.
Hop on Career Contessa, where career advice, mentorship opportunities, and industry professionals that will help make you more hire-able in your job search. Find online groups like Professional Networking & Career Advice Group. If you’re a creative, check out events in your city like Creative Mornings.
Any reading, if it relaxes you and helps take your mind off the job search process, is highly encouraged. I like to read books where I find inspiration and learn something. Here are three books that I’ve read recently that have helped keep my spirits up:
- Rachel Cruze’s Love Your Life, Not Theirs (see a great review here): This is a book about how to clean up your financial life. Rachel is personal finance Guru Dave Ramsey’s daughter. In this book, she teaches you seven money habits to win with money.
- Kelly Hoey’s Build Your Dream Network: One of the best career-related books I’ve read recently. No humble-bragging, and with Hoey’s credentials and accomplishments, it’s amazing how modest of a voice she writes with. She transformed what I understand “networking” to be, to mean, and how to go about it. It’s a must-read for those of us who know we need to get better at networking, but dread the idea of having to do it!
- Marina Keegan’s The Opposite of Loneliness (see a great review here): As a writer (I mean, I cringe as I call myself a writer after reading this book), I was deeply inspired by these essays. Like a shooting star, this Yale graduate’s death was untimely and premature, but she left behind her splendid work that the rest of us will continue to admire.
4. Take an online course.
Develop or hone a skill that you always wanted to work on, but never had the time to before. Take an online class, for example; I’m working my way through Udemy’s Writing with Impact: Writing that Persuades. I’m halfway through this course now, I must say, it’s transforming the way I write already.
A few other ones that I am intrigued by: The Strategy of Content Marketing, U.S. History (I know, random, but I love learning things I think I know a lot about, but most likely don’t), and Hamlet’s Ghost (offered by Harvard University), to name a few!
5. Locate your local library and sign up — today!
If you’ve paid taxes to the city you’ve lived in (let’s hope so), you have probably contributed to the maintenance of a library. Take advantage of it! Not to mention that books, magazines, a lot of DVDs/movies, Wi-Fi, and AC are all FREE. I now routinely check out books I want to read from the library first, read them, and if I love them as much as I thought I would, then — and only then — will I buy them from Amazon.
Jessica is the writer behind personal style blog Cubicle Chic. In her early twenties, she has contemplated many career paths, such as a novelist, a physician assistant, a research scientist, a court translator (English to Mandarin Chinese), and a clinical research specialist. Eventually, she found her passion in marketing communications for life science companies. She continues to cultivate her interest and skills in many other fields, such as writing, career development, and self-improvement, and hopes to help others do the same.
Image via Unsplash