I have a favor to ask you all.
Right now with Covid there is so much fear in the air. As someone who struggles with anxiety I deeply understand this. I wasn’t leaving my house for days at a time at the start of quarantine. Some fear keeps you healthy and safe. Being concerned about a virus is important. But fear can often creep into other areas. It can cloud your judgment and make you view things in a negative light.
During the job search, that fear can get even worse. There’s already so many issues around income and self worth that adding Covid on top of that can be debilitating. I know this deeply. I wasn’t able to function during the first few months of quarantine.
Fear has been so deadly that it impacted my business. I wasn’t able to respond appropriately and that puts my income and my employees income at risk.
I recently took a short trip to Crater Lake that helped me see how much fear was crowding my mind. That how I reacted to the most innocuous statements with worry and anger. How I stopped looking forward to things in the future.
While I am aware of toxic positivity, we are faced with incredible challenges right now. Challenges that I think we have but no choice to find ways to be positive in. People have lived through wars, famine and climate change. Those things and Covid are horrible things. But as humans how do we prosper with fear?
What choice are we making if we continue to be fearful? Do we make our best choices when scared? Is fear of health causing you to have fear or income? In some cases those can definitely be related. In many cases, they are not related.
That’s the hard thing about anxiety. It’s like a filter on your mind that makes you view everything as a possible attack. You start seeing friends as enemies and opportunities as dangers.
I’ve had to do a lot of work in the last few months to address this anxiety and fear. That work isn’t done nor will likely ever be but I have found a new hope. I have found that I feel the best about myself and my future when I don’t let fear drive me.
When I let hope drive me, I am at my best self.
So what is my ask of you all? I see many negative/fearful statements in our conversations. To be honest some are frankly very misinformed about the job market or job searching.
1. There is no evil mean ATS out there.
They are Applicant Tracking Systems. Not applicant ranking systems. While some do use measurements of keywords, much of the selection work is still based on human selection and touch. The best way to get around an ATS is not to be fearful of your resume but to build great connections and friendships. Write a great resume, focus on what you are proud of. Remove any fears about ATSs and focus on your networking.
2. Companies aren’t out to fuck you over.
Surprisingly, companies are often run by humans. They have struggles as well. Recruiters and hiring managers are dealing with Covid, working at home and kids and fear just like you are. But they need you. That’s why many are still hiring. And they would love to hire your most positive, most skilled self. They might not function at their best right now, because almost no one is functioning at their best right now. Be kind.
3. Job applications are often frustrating but a fact of modern life due to scale.
They ask you what might seem like invasive questions but they are often required to do so legally for fairness. There are laws that have recently changed they have to follow and if they don’t, it could cost them millions. California in particular is doing many amazing things for workers right now. The entire legal system is trying to adjust to these laws and there’s still lots to learn here. These laws were often enacted to help keep us safe as workers.
4. Assume best intent.
I have seen people make helpful, innocuous comments and reactions go off the rails. People get mad at what is often just misunderstandings that occur so easily over Facebook comments. Assume the best of intent from the other person and yes use language that shows best intent but while it can feel like the world is out to get you, everyone is just doing the best to survive right now.
Seriously. Get it out. Feel whatever it is you are feeling. Crying is a healthy emotion. Talking about your struggles with a friend or therapist or writing it down and just feeling your fear or whatever emotions that come up is so important. Take the time you need to embrace that emotion. Set aside time just for that emotion. Then focus on other emotions that are also helpful.
6. Be open to changing your mind.
Because of your fear, because of your assumptions, your ideas may be incorrect and need to get updated. That’s ok. I am wrong very much of the time. But it’s my ability to learn new things and remove assumptions that help me be a better person. Stubbornness, rudeness, not being willing to listen are not helpful to growth. If you are in a situation where you are unhappy or you don’t want to be in that situation, change is likely required. The best change comes from open minded learning.
7. Say something positive every day.
Gratitude has been proven to make a huge impact in overcoming fear. A gratitude journal is one of the first things I recommend to job searchers. When humans are in horrible situations, it's so easy to view everything without hope. But hopelessness doesn't make you someone that people want to hire. Write down something right now that you are grateful for.
Here's some examples
- I am grateful for my health. I am alive.
- I am grateful for kindness, I'm so helpful to others.
- I am grateful for my friends who truly are there for me when I need them.
Write down at least one gratitude statement every day. Share it with others. Share it here in the group.
Focus on finding positivity and positivity will find you.