Farzana Suri, Victory Coach
I was out of a job on two occasions.
The first time I quit due to the differences I had with my immediate boss. Her autocratic leadership heckled me. As a micromanager, she made my life as well as hers extremely stressful. On hindsight, I wouldn’t blame her since I, too could have handled things, differently. However, it was another time. I submitted my resignation in an emotional moment. I couldn’t wrestle with the anxiety that crept into me, each time I was within 3 feet of her presence.
I had rent to pay and no job on the horizon. As luck would have it, a few supportive friends and ex-colleagues lined up interviews with the best advertising brands in the country. Within a month, I was back in the game. And, all was well.
The second time around, was when advertising per se had lost its lustre to me. I didn’t enjoy trudging to work each morning. I thought seeking a job in marketing would be the right career progression. It was hard to make a choice between what I loved most doing – coaching. It would mean, I would have to start all over from scratch and the temptation to seek the practicality of a job that pays for the EMIs was too strong.
The early days of my joblessness found me living the joy of doing nothing – sitting at Starbucks tapping on my Mac keys with Vivaldi streaming through my earphones or days that were riddled with leisurely meet-ups and reconnecting with friends hadn’t met in the longest of time. It was utopian until my healthy bank account started dwindling.
Desperation clawed its way in. I had to sacrifice my lifestyle. No fancy salon visits, no exotic foods, my social life was placed on hold to stem the continuous outflow. I had to do something and, fast. What do I do, though? Whom do I reach out to?
I was scared. I was, really scared. How do I start? Where do I start? The questions brought the nemesis of fear along with them.
I reached out to the one person who could help me clear my vision – my mentor. The clarity of his wisdom has stayed with me despite the years.
When you’re looking for a job, you’re essentially standing alone and too far beyond. You feel isolated. Chances are some of your closest peers and friends stop connecting with you for reasons of their own. Some fear that you may curry a favour. Some worry you may ask for financial help. Some may simply be uncomfortable due to their inability to help you. Yes, I’ve been on that road. You’ll lose some if not many of the so-called ‘friends’.
And, it’s okay. Filtering, is one favour the Universe does on your behalf.
It took me a long while to saddle up and get going.
Here are a few things I did to put myself back in the game. Perhaps, you may find it useful.
- Set a schedule.
I know you’re home and it’s easy to stay in your jammies, lounge on the sofa with your computer on your lap.
Get up, go for a walk or exercise to relieve the stress, anxiety and low energy. Don clothes that put you in work-mode – a crisp shirt and jeans or a semi-formal dress. Create a study/office area at home where you can work from and make it your home office. Schedule coffee, lunch and other breaks. Take weekends off, too. Condition yourself to a daily and weekly routine.
You can either run the day or let the day run you.
- Encash your Goodwill.
Make a list of all the people in your contact sphere whom you may have helped or those who have great regard for you. That’s your goodwill, an important asset, right there. Now, is the time to encash it. Don’t let your pride get in the way of asking for assistance. Reach out to them. How? A meeting is the best way. Use these meetings to contribute to them – by way of an interesting piece of information, something they would be interested in and only then seek help.
Give first to get. People respect that.
- Specific is Spot-on.
Clarity on the role, function and the company you’re looking for and why you should be hired pose greater chances of success than shooting in the dark with ‘any company’ or ‘any marketing’ role.
Focus on what, where and why.
- Be Innovative.
Use the time on your hands to package yourself well to create a lasting impression. Make your profile stand out. How about a mini movie clip or a flash presentation of your credentials? Or perhaps, set up your own website. A 5-page texted credential may, at times be laborious for an employer to pour through. Creating bespoke multiple profiles for every position you apply is seen to be far more responsive.
Shine your light brighter so your brand cuts through the clutter.
- Adjust your strategy.
If you’re doing something and it hasn’t borne results, then it’s time to recalibrate. Try something new. Reach out to those that matter – recruitment consultants or friends who are in HR who can guide you. There are good people out there who are willing to help. Use and optimise your Facebook and Linkedin profiles to build traction.
Victory lies in the ability to adapt and change.
- Knowledge is Power.
Demonstrate your interest and expertise in your domain. Follow the company and/or senior executives on Linkedin. Research the company interviewing you, thoroughly so you are prepared in case they quiz you at the interview. It will guide you the culture, philosophy and any personal biases of the employer. Read books that inspire you and help you step up to excellence. Learn a new skill or a new language.
Keep learning to stay relevant.
- Five Coffee Meetings a week.
Meet someone every day. It doesn’t matter whom you meet. Meet a friend, a relative, your neighbour or your kid’s friend’s parent. MEET SOMEONE, EVERY DAY. You never know what magic can transpire. Your friend maybe related to the CEO of the company you’re seeking to be hired in. Or your neighbour’s nephew maybe the HR Head of the organisation you’d love to be a part of. Trust me, the possibilities are immense.
You never know where a connection will lead.
- Attend Networking Mixers.
Networking got me real nervous. I was uncomfortable chatting with strangers. I’d steer clear of it. However, in the past few years I have realised how immensely valuable attending and meeting new people is be it those from your fraternity or random. Networking is a great way to connect with diverse groups and builds confidence in striking up conversations. It isn’t about doling out visiting cards but connecting to build a relationship. Attend business mixers, local meet-ups, fun meet-ups and speak to strangers.
Every person is a new door to a different world.
- Handle rejection, professionally.
You have applied to many places and you will be ‘rejected’ in some as well. You have two choices. You can berate yourself or curse and be angry at the organisation or take the higher road. Send a ‘thank you’ message saying you understand their decision and appreciate the opportunity given. Mention it was wonderful to have met them. Keep in touch and maintain the relationship.
Rejections are a nudge in the better direction.
Remember, looking for a job is a phase. It will pass. Focus on each day. Celebrate small victories. If you were called for an interview isn’t that a good sign? You’re in the circuit. Be flexible and open for freelance assignments and projects.
Importantly, be proud of who you are, a job is not your identity – who you are and what you stand for is.
Speak the language of a victor and you’ll achieve victory.
Be the captain of your ship not a captive of the environment.
Farzana Suri Victory Coach, is a successful Life Coach who empowers you to find the victor within you. She can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org or www.farzanasuri.com