Your secret’s weighing on you. As a midlife professional, the last thing you want to advertise is that you’re unhappy in your current role and on the hunt for something new. Surviving your job when looking for something new is like a dance.
You show up, smile, and plug away at your work while also building connections, networking, and diligently chipping away at your job search when you get home.
Here’s the thing: without intention and support, finding a new role while playing along at your current position can feel exhausting, especially if your job search takes some time (and many high-level job searches do).
These five intentional shifts can take you from “just getting by” to calm, collected, and ready to explore the exciting new opportunities available to you.
1. Embrace Help
Now is not the time to pull yourself up by your bootstraps. Actress Lily Collins says, “Asking for help is never a sign of weakness. It’s one of the bravest things you can do. And it can save your life.”
A long, drawn-out job search can leave you with nothing left to give. It can feel like the ultimate defeat.
When I started working with Laurel, she was ready to give up. She was overwhelmed, deeply unhappy, and worried her search might never end.
We didn’t jump to Laurel’s next opportunity. We dug our heels in. In our first few weeks together, we focused on shifts to help her find joy in her current position—to make what she was doing right now sustainable
Starting with foundational mindset work helped Laurel reconnect with her love for healthcare and find purpose in her current role even as she continued to search for a new one.
Having a Career and Leadership Coach can make all the difference when you are surviving your job. When you work with a coach, you navigate challenging transitions while staying grounded and healthily processing emotions. All you have to do is be brave enough to ask for help.
2. Cultivate Awareness
Get out of your way. Are you engaging in unhelpful thought patterns that keep your energy low?
Our thoughts can help us or hinder us. They can lift us up or drag us down.
As you weather, this season of your life, notice the thought patterns that keep coming up for you. If you’re engaging in self-sabotaging thoughts and/or thoughts that bring down the people around you, practice cultivating awareness. Observe thoughts as they arise and put some space between your negative thought patterns and actions.
If you’re having thoughts like, “I can’t take it anymore” and “I have to make it through ANOTHER day,” take a moment to pause. Think about helpful ways to reframe them. Why are you genuinely grateful for your job? It’s always preferable to have a reliable income source while looking for something new. You’re continuing to build on your professional experience and working through what you don’t like about your current role. All this data gives us clues about what you do want.
Another thing to watch out for is frantic, panicky, all-in energy. If you’re overeager to jump at ANY job opportunity that comes up or are constantly consumed by thoughts of your job search, give yourself permission to rest. Every week, designate a day or two off from your search. Use them to unwind, do activities that recharge you, and give yourself permission not to think about finding a job.
3. Have a Plan
Don’t go into it blind. On any journey, you must know where you plan to start, your destination, and the stops you’ll make along the way. Your plan is your roadmap when you’re looking for a new executive or leadership role.
Make a list of action steps. What small, manageable tasks will get you closer to your big goals? For example, set a goal to browse jobs on LinkedIn for 15 minutes 3x per week. Set aside another block of time to grow your network. Determine a reasonable number of weekly connections to aim for in your industry and connect! Building your network and having an “in” with the hiring manager is always a win.
4. Use Your Time Strategically
Take advantage of this time to refresh your resume and optimize your LinkedIn profile.
LinkedIn is your virtual resume and calling card. With some simple tweaks, it can help you stand apart.
First, pay attention to your profile picture and background photo. The old saying goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Choose the right image that speaks volumes about your personality and professionalism. Select a photo that captures your energy and suggests you are approachable and pleasant, i.e., just the person they want on their team!
View your background photo as valuable real estate. Use this space to drive home what you do and pique interest. An attractive banner image with a few well-chosen words works wonders. Create something free and eye-catching on Canva.
For a LinkedIn profile that packs a punch, complete all sections, use “I” statements, and don’t be shy. Showcase your personality. Share your values, explain your why, and add a personal touch by including one or two things you like to do for fun outside work.
Don’t hold yourself back. If you are hesitating to make connections and have valuable conversations on LinkedIn because you’re afraid your current employer will see them, privacy settings are your friend. Access them by clicking on the menu at the top right corner, and tailor them to fit your needs.
5. Allow Your Energy to Shift
The other day I was talking to a client over the phone. Her energy was LOW. Every day, she spent hours hunting for her next opportunity. She treated it just like a full-time job. Like most high-achieving people, she gave it her all and then some until she felt utterly drained and burned out by the process.
Here’s what I told her to do: allow your energy to shift. It is more than valid, even necessary, to allow our energies to change from “work mode” to “rest” and “restorative time.” After hanging up, my client spent the next few hours engrossed in one of her favorite pastimes. Four hours later, she texted me a picture of a beautiful homemade bag she had made for a friend.
Her energy shifted from low and defeated to light and easeful in just four hours. Permission is granted to get quiet, listen to what you need, and honor those needs.
Your risk of burning out and overworking yourself is exceptionally high when you have a job, and you’re looking for a new one. You already have a full-time job! Allot an appropriate amount of time to your job search, but don’t make yourself crazy. Be extra intentional about rest and allowing your energy to shift when needed.
So you have a job, and you don’t love it. You’re just going through the motions until you find something new. Without help and the right mindset, the process can feel unbearable.
You’ve tried surviving your job and looking for a new one. You’ve attempted to smile and put on an act. And it’s not working.
It’s time to try something new. Surviving and thriving are possible. In my Design Your Dream Life Program, we’ll take a holistic approach to discover who you are. We’ll find out what makes you tick and use it to inform your next move. Fall in love with your career and your life again. Hop on a call to find out if it’s the right fit for you!