I came to an important personal realization in the past few weeks and throughout the past couple job searches. It’s mostly common sense, but sometimes in the muck of job hunting, figuring things out and living “in transition” we forget. It’s perhaps the number one rule for those of us looking for work or working solo…
Don’t Surround Yourself With Yourself
I’ll be the first one to admit…job hunting or being in transition is one of the loneliest times in a person’s life. Whether we are married or single, there’s a good chance that we spend most of our time alone during the day and possibly the evening, as well.
Often, this time spent alone leads us to feel isolated and filled with doubt, anxiety and uncertainty. This situation often causes us to lose focus and it usually slows our productivity. I know, I’ve been in this situation more than I care to admit. I also talk to a lot of people who are experiencing this.
But thanks to blogging, networking and using my local career center, I’ve had the opportunity to connect with others in many different ways…which has made all the difference in the world. So if you’ve been spending way too much time by yourself whether you are job hunting or running your own company, here are few ideas…
Go to a coffee shop or bookstore for coffee
This is one of my favorite places to go when I’m feeling isolated and caged in. Get a window seat if possible. If you really want to be approachable don’t listen to your iPod or MP3 player. In recent months I’ve had some great conversations with other coffee shop patrons…especially a woman I met from the Netherlands. We talked about our countries and as we parted, she invited me to stay with her family if I ever visit her country.
Find a meetup group
There are meetup groups in your area about almost every topic…pick something that you’re interested in and attend a meeting. I’ve attended a few of these groups and was amazed how much I had in common with other members. In Chicago, there’s even a group for English Bulldog lovers…Check out meetup.com.
Attend a networking session
There are a lot of different networking sessions out there. Some are held in more conservative locations such as a church, school or office. Other networking sessions are held in social locations such as bars and restaurants. It does not matter…the key thing is to put yourself out there. Practice your elevator pitch. Also, approach the event as an opportunity to help other people, not the other way around. Last summer, I attended a networking event where I had the opportunity to help a recent college grad in my field and it was a really rewarding experience for me.
Create or find an accountability group
In recent years, I have witnessed and experienced the magic of group support. Call it an accountability group or a mastermind group…the important thing is that you have an opportunity to share what you’ve learned or ask questions in a supportive environment. While these groups do offer its members opportunities to complain and commiserate, they are intended to hold members accountable and motivated to take action. Visit your local career center to find out more about these groups. While I haven’t read the book yet, Keith Ferrazzi’s Who’s Got Your Back? touches on the importance of these “lifeline” groups.
“Army of One” may have been a marketing slogan from the U.S. Army a couple years back, but it doesn’t need to be our motto during a job hunt or during time spent as owner of a small business.
How about you…what are your favorite ways to remain connected?
Flickr Creative Commons photo courtesy of Extra Medium.