9 May 2011, 1:11pm

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Unable to focus on Job Search — Take it as a full time job

It was the economic downturn in 2008, and I was working with a company in Indiana. One day, my boss told me that they would have to let me go, as they can’t afford to give me a permanent position. Since I had an engineering background and a B.Tech. Degree from IIT, I thought my chances would be much better in Silicon Valley, the hub of IT industry. Hence, I decided to go to California in the lookout for a job. In Bay Area, I couldn’t concentrate on job search, and I was feeling really depressed. During the whole day, I hardly looked for a job for at-most 2-3 hours. Rest of the time, I was groping and sulking in the bed or the sofa. I slept for about 10-12 hours, and didn’t even feel like talking to my old friends as well for the fear of what I would say if they ask me as to what I was doing.

I am sure a lot of laid-off people or college graduates would be able to identify with this situation. A lot of people who are doing job search find it extremely difficult to focus and concentrate. Negative thoughts and stress make it difficult to maintain the mental peace. Some of them find it difficult to even tell people about their situation — and try to avoid their friends and relatives, as they become fed up of answering this commonly asked question — what are you doing? One of the best ways to land new job opportunities is through networking only – and if you are not comfortable sharing with your close friends and relatives, your chances get slimmer. So, what can we do to maintain our focus?

One of the best pieces of advice, from one of my mentors, was to “Take Job Search as a Full time Job”. Imagine if you were in a traditional 9-5 job, how would you approach your day. You would get up at 6 or 7, and get ready by about 8 to 8:30 and will reach your office by 9, ready to start the work. You would work hard till about 5pm, take a lunch break in between, and then go back to your home – take rest for sometime in the evening – and maybe work 2-3 hours more later in the night. In a similar vein, I suggest looking at job search like a regular 9 to 5 job. First, you create a proper place where you can work un-interrupted, it could be your study, or even a nearby coffee shop. Then, you can start working there doing all your job-search related activities during your regular 9 to 5 pm. After taking some snacks in the evening, you can do some phone calls – as people are usually freer in the evening after their office work.

I utilized the same mindset and it worked wonders. Instead of groping and sulking, I could go out and work in a much more focused way. I even used to dress in formals. Once, I got my focus back – I landed a great job within 2 months.

Hi Manish,

I read some of your articles and really enjoyed reading them. It’s definitely appreciable and informative, as they have an essence of motivation and learning to take away. Keep chipping your thoughts would luv to come back and read… Cheerrss.!!


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