Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter

Job Seeker: Are You Emotionally Malnourished?

I sat staring at the computer screen, stifled.

Emails crowded my view, like schools of fish, mouths open for food. Will I trigger an undulating wave by diving into this email ocean?

Or, perhaps I’ll engage with MS Word and apply the needed salve to dozens of career documents. Will I get sucked into an abyss of streaming insights? At the end of the day, will my applying energy this direction result in hundreds of words strung together like neatly hung laundry across a taut clothes line? At the end of the day, after weeks upon weeks of similarly scheduled activity, will I be able to sustain and provide the needed (and promised) value to my prospects and clients?

The sense of ceaselessness, the ongoing emotional and intellectual calorie-burning, the incessant, repeatable process of reading/thinking/doing, reading/thinking/doing, if not paced with occasional joy breaks will potentially cause an untenable sense of overload and tiresomeness.

Where’s the delight? Where’s the tonic?

Sculpting Your Life

We all are accountable for sculpting lives that have the lines, shapes, curves and texture that suit our personalities and goals. We all are answerable to the choices that build up our attitudes, reduce our edginess and induce a productive, forward-moving, day-to-day result. We all must find and tap into those resources that encourage a happy satisfaction.

As for me, the screen-staring moment I endured this past Saturday reinforced Rob’s and my night-out decision for an off-site, kick-up-your heels joy event involving friends, food, wine, laughter, pool games and a roaring fireplace. While the temptation to decline social engagements is strong when the list of business to-dos grows ever longer, the need for emotional nutrition is even more compelling and should not be ignored.

I understand: I have been known to pass on fun opportunities because of work, and work, and more work. Project momentum has been known to gain speed and go steaming roughshod over my fun and joy.

If you are a careerist facing daily, overwhelming pressures of a chaotic work environment, overlapping projects, unrelenting bosses and demanding clients, I implore you to take the time for yourself, to uncover the pleasures that once made you smile. Take time for the fuel you find through your friends, family, nature, hobbies, activities and fun that are completely unrelated to your work, your responsibilities and your bottom line.

If you are a job seeker with an interminable need to focus on your out-of-work situation, with an urge to center all energies on your constant stress state, take charge of your attitude and fetch the tonic that will rejuvenate your attitude.

Boost Your Job Search By Easing Off

An undernourished attitude ultimately will slow your search, slowing problem-solving and decision-making activities. Yet, at the end of the day (week/month) investing time and energy away from your job search will actually fuel your goals and boost your job search and career productivity. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Date Night

  1. Accept an invitation for dinner at your friend’s home. You know the one. She dependably makes you laugh. She never judges. She’s all about fun, games, popcorn, wine and perhaps a dollop of comedy television.
  2. Kidnap your husband or wife for a day out, running silly errands, window shopping, people watching and an ice cream cone.
  3. Assemble your favorite DVDs, a couple of bags of popcorn, a bottle of soda and your favorite other person and, donning your jammies or sweats, settle into a full day or evening of movies. Shifting from mindless laughter to therapeutic tears to engaging thoughts associated with the comedies, dramas and historical narratives that tie to your favorite screenplays can transport you from career-overwhelm to liberating feelings of joy, calm and release.
  4. Tune into Pandora or iTunes and find your favorites that lift, cajole, energize and delight. Or, perhaps you just need a song to describe your current feelings?
  5. Dream a little; if your best energy is expended during the warmer, summer months, take a tour now through photo albums, reflecting and dreaming. Inspire yourself with plans and preparations that will lead you toward your next-summer’s goals. Rob’s and my passion is sailing, and each winter we face a sense of loss and even, I daresay, a mild depression as we mourn the cessation of sailing season.

Joy

Our virtual photo album is full of such memories that fuel our vision for the future. It is a good time to revisit and organize our memories while buoying our spirits as we plan for a new sailing season. We also have time, during this ‘down-time’ to work on sailboat projects, refinishing the woodwork and such that simply are not priorities during the busy sailing season.

As you climb the career mountain or move circuitously through your job-search maze, and find yourself stalled, slipping or even paralyzed in your movement, keep in mind that nourishing your emotions and fueling your fun are keys to productivity and success. Though I will be the first to advise plotting and vigorously working a strategic plan as integral drivers for career fertility, I also am an avid believer in joy ‘fuel’ that keeps the engine running, transporting you from career destination to career destination.

About the Author: 

Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter is chief career writer and partner with CareerTrend (http://careertrend.net/). Collaborating with professionals in career transition, or those individuals who desire to ignite their existing careers, Jacqui is one of only 29 Master Resume Writers (MRW) globally and holds a BA in Writing. An intuitive researcher, she unearths clients’ compelling story details and applies an inventive approach to career positioning documents and social media profiles.  In addition to being interviewed for television and radio stories, Jacqui writes for the The Matrix Wall, Glassdoor and TalentCulture blogs, contributes to the Career Management Alliance Connection monthly newsletter and blog, and has been quoted in The Business Journal and The Wall Street Journal, among other news media. As well, she and her husband, “Sailor Rob,” host a lively careers-focused blog over at http://careertrend.net/blog.

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Job Seeker
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Your Job Search: A Love Story

Four years ago this week, on December 8, 2006, after responding to a simple, virtual Match.com ‘wink’ from Rob (aka, mustangrodevot78@talkmatch.com), a life-changing relationship commenced. Amidst thousands of Match.com profiles, Rob selected my dating resume and lightly and proactively reached out to me.

According to DatingSitesReviews, in the past year 17% of people who married met on a dating site. Similarly, many employer and employee relationships also are kindled online, and those numbers are increasing.

Wink on MATCH.COMAkin to other online, social media and job search venues, Match.com facilitates courtship conversations for those willing to put themselves out there. As Karen Swim eloquently commented on my original Match.com post, “The bottom line is that it is all relationship building. You have to put yourself out there and be willing to ‘meet’ new people and have a willingness to meet but not commit until you find the right fit.”

And so we did. Akin to job search and interview prep, after our initial, artfully and honestly created resumes (profiles) were shared, we extended the conversation through email.  Our intent was an engaging, thorough, yet enticingly and strategically edited communications exchange that would serve to both fulfill curiosities while also whetting the appetite for more.

To paint a picture for you (and with Rob’s permission), I share one of his early emails with me, as we danced around the possibility of an in-real-life (IRL) meeting.

I share his complete email (versus a snippet), including the little details, to show you both his willingness to engage across both the everyday, simple things as well as the more intimate feelings one experiences when looking for, connecting with and buying into a romantic and possible life partner. This combination is integral in creating a hook that virtually compels an in-person meeting and furthers the courtship.

Similarly, in job search, individuals willing to dive a bit deeper and knit a message that pulls threads of their past and present through the fabric of their target reader’s (hiring manager, recruiter, etc.) cloth, will boost the emotional appeal of the message, and thus opportunities for career courtship success. Ultimately, too, the choice to proceed more deeply into the interview process and perhaps even an employment marriage, increases.

Here goes. Note from MustangRob (e.g., mustangrodevot78) via TalkMatch.com!

Dec. 8, 2006

I’m off on Thursdays and Sundays so Wednesdays and Saturdays are usually when I go out if I do. Saturdays are usually pretty busy for me at work and I don’t like being tired and off my game if you know what I mean. So Fridays I tend to take it easy or at the very least make it an early nite.

My first name is Rob. My password was just Mustangrob; the site gave me this one. Mustang because that’s what I drive. I’ve owned several old and new, so I’m kinda into them.

Ummm, how would I show my romantic side? I think a first date should just be fun, the romance should be saved until everyone agrees that’s what they want; does that make sense? I mean, I don’t want to bring flowers to you just to find out you’re a flower hater!! ha ha. But walking around the Plaza just holding hands is romance to me. Especially if the hand you’re holding enjoys being there. Getting close under a street lamp for that first kiss after a great nite of dinner, laughter and some good music who wouldn’t like that? Ok your turn I really want to know what makes you happy and your own idea of romance.


As well, I’ll share two interview-cinching emails that swiftly led to my initial in-real-life meet-up with Rob and a meeting follow-up note that fortified my feelings. Consider this: are your career communication messages creative, real, pragmatic, yet appealing?

In this email, Rob responds to my questions: What makes you happiest … and what are you most passionate about?

Dec. 9, 2006

It’s really quite simple for me. I want to be missed when I’m not around. I don’t want to crowd the person I’m with and like you I want to look across the room and know she will be looking back at me mouthing something sweet because she really means it and can hardly wait to get me to herself again. I am passionate about my cars and my work. And I am passionate about my  relationships, pals or my lover or my family, and I call a lot of people family that I am not kin to by blood. This has been great, but I really must bid you goodnight sweet dreams and lets really consider a get together, k?


And this email blended a bit of humility, a dash of music and a dollop of flattery.

Dec. 9, 2006

Very nice. We will surely get along where the music is concerned. I’m also a closet ABBA lover shhh our little secret, ok? By the way I looked at your pics again. NICE!! Well I’m headed to bed so, can I look forward to a response to the pics I send tomorrow sometime in the next few days? Even if you don’t like them will you let me know you got them? I’d appreciate it. Thanx for talking tonite. I really enjoyed it. Stay happy and don’t ever stop smiling, you do a great job of it –Rob

Finally, this one-liner lightly and magically pushed my post-first-date buttons. I suspected our relationship would sustain.

Dec. 15, 2006

Hey sweety, I’m headed to bed and so have a great night and I’ll talk to you later. So how are we doing on this “clicking thing?”

Simply put – both dating and job search are about ‘putting yourself out there’ and being enticing! Words, their context, their nuance, their romance, their lilt and their pragmatism all combine to raise an eyebrow and make a heart skip a beat and compel a reader to take action, to pick up the phone and call or even to accept a call from the inviting party. The ultimate goal, therefore, is finding the right-fit partner for longer-term engagement!

About the Author: 

Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter is chief career writer and partner with CareerTrend (http://careertrend.net/). Collaborating with professionals in career transition, or those individuals who desire to ignite their existing careers, Jacqui is one of only 29 Master Resume Writers (MRW) globally and holds a BA in Writing. An intuitive researcher, she unearths clients’ compelling story details and applies an inventive approach to career positioning documents and social media profiles.  In addition to being interviewed for television and radio stories, Jacqui writes for the The Matrix Wall, Glassdoor and TalentCulture blogs, contributes to the Career Management Alliance Connection monthly newsletter and blog, and has been quoted in The Business Journal and The Wall Street Journal, among other news media. As well, she and her husband, “Sailor Rob,” host a lively careers-focused blog over at http://careertrend.net/blog.

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Job Seeker
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