Tag: realistic expectations


How to Be Patient When You’re In Between Jobs

Patience. They say it’s a virtue. Probably because it’s something rare. In today’s world, we don’t have to be as patient because we’ve grown accustomed to technology that provides instant results.

But patience is something I’ve been trying to learn for a very long time. I’m definitely seeing improvement, but I still have a long, long way to go.

Others have noticed and often commented on how patient I am in certain situations. What they don’t know is sometimes I’m just good at hiding my impatience (except when I’m on hold with the cable company). While my demeanor is calm, I’m still thinking in my head, “Hurry up! Hurry up! Hurry up!”

In other situations, I’ve just learned over time (often times the hard way) to exhibit true patience. This means staying peaceful when things don’t happen in my own time or I start to feel restless or worried.

5 ways to learn how to be patient during the job search

My clients often experience worry and restlessness when they’re between jobs and they’re not getting the results they’d like from their job search as soon as they’d like.

It’s easy to panic during this time when there’s no money coming in and the savings account is dwindling. Perhaps you’re currently in a similar situation.

So how do you be patient in the midst of such career and financial stress?

#1. Practice patience.

We all have an unlimited amount of opportunities to practice patience, whether it’s something small like sitting in traffic or waiting in the only open checkout line at the store. Or, whether it’s something big like trying to figure out your purpose in life or looking for a new job.

You can begin with the small things to start to practice patience. When you find yourself in those small annoying scenarios where you can choose to be patient or not, always choose patience. If you decide ahead of time you’re going to choose to be patient in these scenarios before they pop up, it will be easier to react patiently. If you mess up and become impatient, it’s okay. Trust me. You’ll soon find another opportunity to try again.

Once you start to become intentional in your patience, you’ll find it becomes easier, even for the big stuff like waiting to hear back from your last job interview.

#2 Be realistic in your expectations.

If something isn’t happening the way you wanted or in the time frame you hoped for, ask yourself if you have realistic or unrealistic expectations of the situation or the other party involved. And be honest with yourself.

The part of the job search where I see most of my clients having unrealistic expectations is in networking. They think they can just tell everyone they know they’re looking for a job and that should be it. This is not how networking works. So if this is your expectation, you’ll want to read my blog post “How to Be Realistic About Networking” and then readjust your expectations.

And when it comes to interviews, keep in mind companies are starting to take more time in making hiring decisions.

In addition, most companies tend to underestimate how long the hiring process will take. They may say they hope to have a decision by the week after your interview, but stuff happens and their work still has to get done during the hiring process. This sometimes pushes the process back a bit.

Just last week I had a client ask me how long she should wait to follow up with a company after her interview. She thought two to three days was reasonable. I told her it’s more like two to three weeks! Two to three days isn’t nearly enough time for a company to complete the other interviews, discuss among all the decision makers and check references, all while having to do their other work.

Always try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes to help you maintain realistic expectations.

And be open-minded enough to accept how things might happen in a different way or different time frame than you think they should.

#3. Do what’s in your control.

When I was coming out of grad school, I wasn’t too picky about geographic location for my first job. So, I applied all over the country to about 75 jobs. And I only got about a 10% positive response rate which is the norm. Therefore, there were a lot of negative responses.

How did I deal with those negative responses?

I told myself every rejection just meant I was one step closer to the right job for me.

This mantra helped me to be patient, stay focused on the things within my control and let go of the things not in my control.

The only thing I could control were my networking efforts, sending out resumes by the closing dates, and my emotions. I couldn’t control anyone else’s timeline and I couldn’t make them like me over a more qualified candidate. Trying to would’ve been a waste of my time.

#4 Don’t make important decisions when you’re emotional.

Speaking of emotions, it’s never good to make important decisions, especially career decisions, when you’re experiencing extreme emotion.

I once heard of something called the “SHALT” decision-making method. The premise of this method is to never make decisions when you’re sad, hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. I would also add to this list scared or afraid.

Fear is one of the biggest causes of bad career decisions. But taking a job out of fear of not making ends meet or because it seems to be the only offer available can often lead to going through the job search process all over again the following year (or sooner).

There are other ways to make ends meet and buy some time to avoid making a rash decision that could negatively affect the rest of your career. This can include cutting unnecessary expenses, selling or renting things you don’t use anymore, renting out your spare room, and working a side job or as a freelancer.

#5 Relish the time you have between jobs.

While you may be anxious to find your next opportunity, don’t forget to relish this extra time you have by spending it with your family, working out more and improving your health, and exploring your passions.

It’s also a great time to learn some new skills through online courses that will build your resume and make you more marketable.

Consider this time a gift to take advantage of while you can.

Be patient with yourself!

By following the above tips, you’ll find you have more patience than you thought you had. And, you’ll learn to replace the worry and frustration of impatience with the hope and peace of anticipation.

But it’s important to not beat yourself up if you fail at patience every once in a while. It will happen because you’re human. So remember to also be patient with yourself!

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Is There Such a Thing As the Perfect Job? No (and Yes)!

I was listening to the radio while getting ready yesterday morning. The DJ started talking about how there’s no such thing as a “dream job.” How you can’t expect a job to be without challenges and struggles. And how it’s the struggles that grow us and make us better. There’s a lot of truth in what he said. However, I think he was confusing “dream job” with the “perfect job.”

There’s no such thing as the “perfect job,” just like there’s no such thing as the perfect person, perfect relationship, perfect life, etc. But there is such a thing as a “dream job.”

Granted, the majority of people are not in their dream job (yet!). But there are a lot of people who are. Probably even more so today than in years past due to the changing world of work. Many people now can create their own opportunities through entrepreneurship, “solopreneurship,” freelancing, and the gig economy. Others can now work from home or be digital nomads through remote opportunities.

A Perfect Job Would Be Boring

I feel like I’m working in my dream job. I get to do what I love and use my skills, experience, and gifting doing it. Also, I get to encourage others and see them succeed which is extremely rewarding. And I get to make my own schedule and don’t have to answer to a boss.

But I would not say my job is perfect. There are many challenges and struggles that come with running my own business. And I’ve definitely grown and learned from those struggles. I don’t think it would be my “dream job” if I didn’t have to face any challenges at all. Instead, I think I’d be totally bored.

The 60% Rule

I always tell my clients:

“You can’t expect to love 100% of your job 100% of the time. But if you love at least 60% of your job, you’re in a much better place than most people who are settling for just a paycheck.”

I try to live by my own advice.

And I’m sharing this advice with you today as well. For you, finding this 60% “sweet spot” may mean trying to find ways to be happier in your current job.

Or it may mean looking for a new job, changing careers, or starting your own thing.

Realistic vs. Unrealistic Expectations

The key is to have realistic expectations.

I remember when I was working as a college career adviser. I had a student who was a sociology major who never took the advice on how to gain experience while still in college. However he did register for the career development course I was teaching, but then dropped it two weeks in.

Later, in his last semester on the verge of graduating with a sociology degree and no internship experience, he came to me and said the following (with a serious face):

“I’d like to get a job in advertising in Hawaii. I don’t expect to be making $125K my first year, but do expect to do so by my second year.”

(Feel free to stop and chuckle before reading further.)

I had to bite my tongue to keep from telling this student that even my magic wand has limits.

And trust me, if such a job existed for someone without any advertising experience whatsoever, I would be the first one to apply for it. I could totally live in Hawaii.

Needless to say, this student had unrealistic expectations.

What Do You Value Most?

There’s nothing wrong with having a dream to do work you love. But there is something wrong with expecting everything (including perfection) for nothing. You’ll be continually disappointed if you expect perfection.

Instead, you should expect there to be some things you’ll have to compromise on. You may have to work more hours if you want to make more money. Or you may have to give up some money to have more work/life balance.

You have to decide for yourself what you value most.

You can start by making a list of your “must have” items, a list of the things you’re willing to compromise on, and a list of “icing on the cake” items (things you’d love to have but don’t expect to have). Then be open to opportunities that fulfill at least 60% of your lists.

Need Some Help Discovering Your Dream Job?

Are you in search of your “dream job” but are mistaking it for “the perfect job”? Are your expectations realistic when it comes to finding your dream job?

Remember, there’s no such thing as the perfect job but there can be such a thing as a dream job if you earnestly seek it. The pursuit is a little easier when done with the help of a career coach.

If you’d like some help in this area or would just like to schedule a complimentary initial consultation, please click here and take a few minutes to complete the paNASH intake form.

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