Preparing for Labor: What Expectant Mothers & Job Seekers Have In Common
In honor of Mother’s Day (always the 2nd Sunday in May, btw), I offer this:
I seem to have had two types of people in my life recently – job seekers (as always) . . . and pregnant women. I was quite surprised to realize, as I listen to the trials and tribulations of both, how each group has interesting parallels to each other.
Both are in the process of creating something, going through stages of development, encountering unexpected challenges, and sometimes, struggling to make sense of the whole thing!
Just as women who want to be mothers can take pre-natal vitamins, job seekers can also practice some ‘preventive medicine’ to keep their emotional health up to par during a trying time of unemployment. They can, and should, take care to be conscious about nurturing this ‘baby’ they are in the in process of gestating . . . a new job and future work opportunity.
Pre-Natal Vitamins for Job Seekers
Women of child bearing years are urged to take pre-natal vitamin supplements about three months before they hope to conceive.
If all of the current unemployed workers out there knew three months ahead of time they would want or need a new job, they could similarly prepare themselves by updating their resumes, getting the word out to their networks, and going on informational interviews. They would also have the big advantage to plan financially and emotionally for the change. If you are thinking of changing jobs, please prepare yourself first in these ways.
Sometimes people find themselves in the middle of life “unplanned”, and the shock and lack of forewarning can be a challenging. If this is the case for you, I recommend simply taking the time to work through whatever feelings you have associated with losing your job for any reason.
It is normal and natural to experience emotions such as anger, fear, anxiety, bitterness, depression, resentment, frustration, and so on. Let yourself feel what you feel first. Once you face the reality of not only the situation but your feelings about it, only then can (and should) you move on to the next step – reframing your attitudes and moving forward in your job quest in a positive and hopefully manner.
Morning Sickness! The “It Doesn’t Matter that It’s Monday Morning” Blues
Feelings of moroseness can overcome even the most upbeat and determined of job seekers, when faced each morning with filling their days ‘constructively’. In order to keep yourself from falling into this trap of melancholy, shame, or ‘laziness’, set yourself a routine that you are comfortable with. It may mean structuring your day by each hour as with a work day planner, or simply setting weekly goals of projects to complete as your time, energy, and interests dictate (after all, you are the boss now, enjoy!)
Self Care for You and Your ‘Baby’
As a job seeker, finding that great job that fits and feels right is your special project, “your baby.”
Job seekers would do well to maintain an exercise program as well as eating healthy, just like a pregnant woman. These habits will keep our bodies and therefore our minds and spirits at their optimum levels of wellness. This sense of well being on all levels is key to a successful job search.
“What??” you may say, “Aren’t a great resume and sophisticated interviewing skills the key to finding employment???” Well sure, those things are important, too. However, as I work with job seekers and reflect back on my own periods of unemployment, I realize more and more how our attitudes and healthy sense of ourselves and our abilities is the KEY factor to manifesting the job we want.
Employers are looking for confident and qualified candidates capable of hitting the ground running and contributing to their organizations. I virtually guarantee you that if you are feeling lack of confidence, bitterness over leaving your last position, frustration with the whole merry-go-round process of seeking employment, these emotions will be sensed or observed, and marked as a red flag by an interviewer.
As a confidence builder it can also be helpful to review old job performance evaluations and reread appreciation from former bosses for jobs you’ve done well. This excavation may also remind you of past projects and accomplishments that may be valuable to share during interviews.
A client of mine has decided to consciously choose to be aware of processes and feelings she has in her job search because she believes so strongly, as I do, that a trusting, positive attitude and visualizations of her desired outcomes are perhaps more, but at least equally as important as having an outstanding resume and preparing for the tough interview questions.
In fact, she chooses to call her quest “manifesting right livelihood”, and has noticed that when she starts to slip into a negative space of frustration, she starts calling it “job searching”. Consider the significant difference in meaning by the words we choose to frame an experience in our lives.
‘Birthing’ a new opportunity gives a miraculous and joyous feeling as compared to the heavy, duty bound feel of ‘job searching’.
This falls into the category of tools and techniques for preparation and relaxation, to help the process go as smoothly and pain free as possible. Pace yourself in your daily ‘tasks’ of manifesting your ‘baby’ – the cover letters to write, the resumes you change to match a given job, etc. While you should take time to prepare answers to specific interview questions, and other necessary work, balance them with leisure activities. Take time to breathe and meditate on a Gulf-side sunset.
The Baby Shower
As a pregnant friend of mine recently said about her baby shower, “My husband and I are preparing ourselves to graciously receive.”
Like her, gratefully accept the love and support of your family and friends. Unloading your anxieties and moments of frustration (they will happen, it’s okay, just reframe in a positive light when you are ready!) with your support group will help you continue creating your next job from a place centeredness, confidence and vision.
Extend your support group to networks of former colleagues, as well as other job seekers (or rather, fellow manifesters!) Those seeking right livelihood will especially empathize with your challenges and be excited to share new creative techniques that have yielded results for them.
One Shot of Whiskey
My pregnant friend also told us that a book she read advocating many natural and herbal pain management methods during labor also included, “One shot of whiskey.”
We all had a good laugh about that, but it reminds us -birthing mothers, job seekers, and life livers alike – that sometimes what we REALLY need is just a good old fashioned remedy—a shot of fun, whatever it is that loosens us up, eases the tension, and frees us of inhibitions. When we feel comfortable we feel confident. When we are confident, our talents shine, and employers will surely notice.
Creating anything we long for can be a trying and challenging process. Manifesting a job we love can be easier if we take the time to nurture our emotions and attitudes about the process, and consciously choose to undertake this journey with trust, and gentle care. Mothers have long known the wisdom of this method.
My sincerest wish for you is a smooth and quick delivery!