The Three Phases of Job Hunting
Recovery from COVID-19 is not just a health issue.- Guy Ryder, Director-General, International Labor Organisation
By Loise Machira
According to the World Employment and Social Outlook: Trends 2021, (WESO Trends) individuals are considered to be unemployed if they are actively searching for work and are available to work. The report further explains the global labour market crisis created by the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over, and employment growth will be insufficient to make up for the losses suffered until at least 2023.
Depending on which country you’re based in, your job-hunting prospects will be hugely affected by the capability of the government to vaccinate its citizens. While Western nations like the US are slowly reverting back to normality with certain states allowing people not to wear masks, Uganda is experiencing a strict lockdown with a 7pm to 5am curfew. Here in Kenya, curfew was extended a week ago until further notice with cessation of movement between 10pm and 4am.
Unequal vaccine access and the limited capacity of most developing and emerging economies to support strong fiscal stimulus measures will be an obstacle in your job hunt. Economists also predict that the quality of newly created jobs will most likely deteriorate in these countries. Looking for opportunities is a emotional rollercoster and although millions of Kenyans are unemployed, nobody seems to be addressing the mental impact it has on our wellbeing. But we can start here today, and hopefully with this article, you'll see you're not alone, and that it only takes the right mindset to get back your groove.
With this in mind, here are three main phases you'll probably go through when looking for a job. I compare them to traffic light colours which symbolise different stages of your journey from being unemployed and stressed in the red zone, to feeling stuck in the amber phase, and finally leading up to the green-light where your efforts start bearing fruit. Let's dive in!
The Red Light Phase
The red light phase is where you will experience stress, worry, and uncertainty which could potentially put you in a negative headspace. If it’s your first time to be laid off, it will hurt like hell regardless of the reason for it. In as much as you’ll try to stay positive, you’ll experience feelings of resentment towards your employer and question whether you were truly valued in the organisation.
If you’ve been making countless applications or sending out proposals without receiving any feedback or the outcome wasn’t what you hoped for, you'll start feeling depleted mentally. A common trait in this phase is stopping your self-care routine and picking up self-destructive habits like over-eating junk food, binge drinking or even smoking to keep your mind off the stress. I can assure you; this is totally normal but don’t linger here for too long.
Writing cover letters and updating your CV to meet advertised job descriptions is no easy task; you’re constantly doing research about the company and trying to make new connections who could guide you through the process. Can we also talk about the draining experience of sitting for interviews? If you have undergone a chain of interviews without any feedback, it could either be extremely de-motivating or it could inspire you to keep applying depending on the type of company it was and how they treated you during the interview process.
The amber phase is similar to being in an auto-pilot head space. At some point, you start experiencing a sense of apathy coupled with lack of motivation to keep applying. You feel mentally stuck. This is when you find yourself spending most of the day on a couch watching Netflix, over-indulging in social activities, failing to bookmark potential job adverts, ignoring emails or even losing time on social media.
We all go through this difficult phase, and you'll struggle to pick yourself up, but you can get out of this rut. You just need to get ready for the next phase. See here for an article I published giving insights on how to pick yourself up.
The Green-light Phase
The green-light zone is where you're motivated, driven and have developed a winning mentality; in short you're in a positive headspace. At this point, you have probably experienced rejection emails, undergone various interviews, updated your LinkedIn profile to your best capability, and you’re aggressively looking for opportunities despite experiencing the job hunt fatigue.
In an effort to make yourself more marketable to new clients or employers, you become extremely driven and start investing in yourself through additional online courses. Getting into this zone is what you should be targeting because potential clients, employers and recruiters start noticing you. This will be your moment to let your inner winner shine.
In this stage, you won’t just be applying for jobs all over the place; instead, you'll spend time looking for specific opportunities aligned to where you see yourself in the future. You could even potentially turn down offers from companies whose mission isn’t aligned to yours; you didn’t like the work culture, or the pay didn’t commensurate your skills set. Or better yet, you might be motivated to run your own business!
This is the time to ask yourself, who I am I, and what do I want to do for the rest of my life. When you understand your purpose through soul searching and self-awareness, it automatically ignites your confidence and the positivity you exude will shine through interviews! So keep taking care of yourself, eat healthy food, exercise to stay energised, practice meditation to find clarity, and keep building your skill set to be fully prepared for when the opportunity comes. Trust me, it will pay off.
I don't believe in luck. Luck is just preparation meeting the moment for opportunity.- Oprah Winfrey
Yours in Wellness
Images: Pexels, Strikingly
References: Harvard Health, Medical News Today, Help Guide
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