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Career Focus

Staying Motivated In A Precarious Workplace

By LISA TRUDEL - April 8 2013

The ability to stay motivated when looking for work has become one of the most critical skills for all job-seekers. It is as essential as knowing how to use social media to your best advantage, how to tailor your resume to specific job ads, how to communicate your enthusiasm at job interviews and how to select appropriate references.

It is not necessarily a new skill since job searching has always been demanding. Talk with any job seeker from any decade and you will hear that job searching has always been draining and frustrating but this year dissatisfaction has hit an all-time high as the reality of “precarious employment” has been statistically proven.

In February of 2013, United Way Toronto published a ground-breaking Report titled “It’s More Than Poverty: Employment Precarity and Household Wellbeing” which describes the rise of precarious employment and the emotional toll this reality is taking on job seekers of all ages.

So how do you stay motivated and develop a reasonable self-management strategy for your career? Here are five rules to assist job seekers despite the media attention on the word “precarious”:

  • Believe in yourself. Loss of work often connects to loss of self-confidence. To reframe this, use the techniques of successful salespeople and find a way to believe that what you are selling has value. When you are job searching, you are selling yourself and your experience, so convince yourself that you are selling a quality product. Self-confidence is the starting point.
  • Acknowledge job search time. It might take you longer than ever before to find employment. Depending on your age, your occupation, your experience, your education and your networking contacts, it might take three months or it might take 13 months. Brace yourself to expect the unexpected when it comes to time.
  • Become a project manager with a support team. Every job seeker is technically their own Project Manager so borrow the project management approach of never working alone and instead ensure you have a support team to assist you. Employment Ontario has over 200 “Service Providers” or Career Centres across Ontario and Career Specialists can assist unemployed job seekers with all aspects of employment preparation. When you have a team to help with your project, or your job search, you might find it easier to stay motivated and achieve the goals you are striving toward.
  • Stay healthy. How you take care of yourself while you are job-searching can have a big impact on your stress level and your daily enthusiasm. Be watchful of eating nutritious food, exercising regularly and getting enough sleep. You might want to participate in a sport, yoga or simply walking more instead of driving. Physical activity of any kind can help to shift your mindset from negative to positive. A healthy body generally leads to a healthy mind.
  • Use well-informed and flexible decision-making skills. With precarious employment rising, reviewing decision-making strategies can assist you with your motivation. In an unpredictable workplace, using a positive uncertainty approach in addition to traditional decision-making skills can be a creative variation and might help you think outside-the-box. For example, ask yourself:
  1. Are you focused and flexible about what you want?
  2. Are you able to balance achieving goals with discovering them?
  3. Are you able to learn to plan and plan to learn? Are you objective and optimistic?
  4. Are you practical and imaginative at the same time?

Decisions involve taking responsibility and sometimes by reinforcing or learning alternatives, you can gain new motivation for your job search.

If you are unemployed and want to learn more motivational approaches, visit a local Employment Ontario funded Career Centre. Career experts can help you with resume advice, networking ideas and with supportive, motivational coaching which might be the missing link needed for your career planning success.

This article was submitted by Lisa Trudel, Career Specialist with the Centre for Education & Training She can be contacted at:

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