Keeping Your Calm on the Rough Seas of the Job Hunt: Tips for Positivity and Mental Health

04.21.2023 | Blog

Sailing along the torrential waters of the job hunt, your vessel can easily be worn. The employment seeking journey—searching for positions, going through various submission processes, interviews, salary negotiations—is a mentally draining and challenging one. The strain resulting from the challenge can leave you vulnerable to negative feelings and self-talk. To avoid that, keeping positive is of the utmost importance, and there are a variety of ways to both keep your head and your head above the stormy seas of the online job hunt. 

(Photo by Taryn Elliott)

Building and Maintaining Your Raft 

For your mental health, you need to keep yourself together when traversing said waters. Think of this as taking care of Mental Health.  In keeping with the metaphor, the best way to keep your head above water is to be on the water, to build yourself a mental raft upon which to navigate. This vessel will be made of a few parts. 

The body of is made of your leisure, activities that will take your mind off the grind and support you from going under. employment seeking should be treated as a job, with breaks, meals, and “working hours” included. So, it’s important to find ways to unwind from it. Reading, watching a movie, journaling, whatever your pastimes of choice, find ways in your routine for releasing the stress of the job search, and laying the foundation for you to stand upon.  

The sheltering roof of your vessel is made of calm. Of course, the need for a change in life, an escape from a bad job, or even just work of any kind is a stressful and mentally arduous endeavor.  So, finding ways to keep your peace and positivity grounded, sheltering your weary mind from the rough and stormy sea, is paramount to handling your ship. Taking breaks, breathing exercises, and mindfulness are great methods for keeping your mind from shifting as constantly as those waters. 

Speaking of mindfulness, your thoughts are going to be the rope holding your ship together. Self-talk, be it positive or negative, is a very powerful thing, in the best or worst of circumstances. Negativity can very easily creep in when dealing with the constant searching, revising, applying and rejection that comes with the territory of the job search. This can weaken and unravel the bindings of your raft, so it is important to reinforce your mentality with positivity. Reframing negative thoughts is what will help everything stay together.  

Lastly but certainly not least, is the sail, made by community. A sail, while not absolutely necessary for moving a ship, is a good thing to have. It may not feel like it at times, but you are not alone in your job search. Many others, in all actuality, are also both on the same rough sea and manning their own vessels. Seeking out others who are job hunting is a good way to keep your ship’s ropes tight, shelter leak free, and boards in great condition. 

(Photo by Leigh Patrick)

Harboring Positivity on Your Journey 

While traversing the endlessly expansive ocean of employment seeking, there are many ports where you can stop, moor your vessel, and get some respite. These are places where you can find the community that can help you have leisure, gain calm, and strengthen your thoughts before re-embarking upon your job search journey. You may even foster connections that could eventually help you find your next job. 

One such port is full of scholars, taking classes to better their skills and knowledge. The internet is host to many sites, both free and paid, that offer means for learning new things. For example, you could learn personal soft skills (time management and productivity) or in-demand hard skills (like CAD for engineers, or negotiation for salespeople) for supporting your job search. Even more informal and public sites, like YouTube, offer free options for gaining new knowledge. 

There is another harbor, one where there is a lot of exchange by many other career adventurers, is that of social media. Finding like-minded groups—others who are on the hunt for employment, groups in your target field or industry, etc.—is an excellent way to get support during your job search. This is a good source for getting your spirits raised as well as networking with others whom can help in finding work.  

The port of volunteerism is another stop you can make on your journey. Whether in person or online, helping others can give you new vitality to face your trials because it's good to remind yourself that you are more than an employment seeker. The skills and connections you build and maintain can also boost your resume and job search.  

One final port is the bustling market of the side-hustle. Outside of any 9 to 5 job, everyone has skills that they can market for gaining income on the side. And, the internet allows everyone to find freelance opportunities, have a passive income stream, or even create their own business. With a little hard work and luck, these can actually become more fruitful than the job search, so you might be able to find a home at this harbor. 

Photo by Vitor Paladini on Unsplash

While helming your raft, remember to keep it together by observing leisure time, keeping yourself calm, thinking positively, and reaching out to community when needed. When the raft is starting to experience wear and tear, take a rest from the journey by anchoring to a class, social media, volunteer activity, or side-hustle for a while. After mooring your vessel and resecuring its structure, you’ll be better ready to keep afloat when you re-embark on the constantly shifting seas of the job search.