Sunday, October 11, 2009

CHALLENGE YOURSELF!


By Alicia Pozsony, Editor in Chief, Mercer County PSG Monthly Newsletter

I recently picked up a printout of The Seven Phases of Job Loss, which I found in the PSG room. I recall liking that chart ever since I first entered the room and thought about becoming a member. When I first saw the chart, I thought I’d experience all of the phases once and eventually get hired. I never imagined I’d be out of work as long as I have been. As some of you may know, I’m still unemployed. I seem to be taking a different course from the one I originally planned--five years married and 20 years as a professional; it shouldn't be too hard to take the usual A-to-B route of landing a job. And for someone who’s been a professional for 20 years, it wasn’t easy to change my course of action. Maybe this is something you can relate to.

Shock. Denial. Anger. Depression. Acceptance. Explore options. Develop plans. I never thought I’d be going through these phases multiple times during my unemployment period. Nor did I imagine I’d be dragging my family and friends through them too.

During my job search, I first lowered my salary expectation and then widened my willingness to commute a distance. I then reached out to those I hadn’t connected with in a long while to network even further. Still, no results. No tangible results anyway: no direct matches or near hires. Just a lot of churning and no closer to getting a new job.

I began questioning myself, as we all do, so I revisited the chart and found there had to be other things I could do. I explored freelance work, temporary jobs, and contract assignments. Was there some grave error or misspelling on my resume? No, but I figured anything was possible, after six or seven revisions. So, where did this leave me? I needed to do something more than I had been. Luckily, I qualified for a tuition waiver through the state and am now continuing my studies and aiming higher. I have goals I hope will put me in a better position after completing my course work.

Challenge yourself to reach higher goals: this is something I hope to convey to you! My article is not an uplifting, feel-good piece this month—or wait, maybe it is. My point is that we should never box ourselves in by thinking we can do only the same job we were doing before. We shouldn’t limit ourselves to the notion that getting hired under the same title as before is our only option. In these challenging turbulent times, we should, rather, focus on how a situation can allow us to change for the better and see what new challenges life throws at us! We just may surprise ourselves.

In the meantime, let me know if I can help you network. Visit me on LinkedIn!