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Long-Haul Job Seeker

Truck trailor on an open highway at dusk.

As a Long-Haul Job Seeker, I see you. I hear you. I feel for you. You have been in a job search for 6+ months and you want to birth this baby already. Sometimes you even wonder ‘why bother?’ and ‘how can I be done with this?’ For those of you resonating with these words, here are some things to consider:

Labor Pains

Those who have been reaching out to me are reminding me of Long COVID with the fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and depression or anxiety. While we can blame the extended job search on the pandemic, the biggest factor, I would say is that it changed everything: How we search for jobs, what jobs we want to search for, and how we feel about the hiring process. There are reports of extended interview loops, vague or no role alignment, hiring freezes, rescinded job offers, and everything in between.

Why Long-Haul?

The job search was already a marathon for some, now we have inflation, market dynamics, and algorithms scaling our fears during a tidal wave of tech layoffs. To have a marathon mindset you would need to “adapt, grow, and evolve” to prevent burnout, which makes sense when we consider that the job hunt is a job unto itself. This reminds me of the Long-Haul Truck Driver. To be successful in that role you would need:

  • A strong work ethic
  • Excellent ability to navigate the roadways (hiring process)
  • Capacity to spend extended periods ensuring timely delivery of cargo (your message)
  • Determination to go the distance (even when it feels like the odds are not in your favor)
Person running along shoulder of open highway. Photo by Tembela Bohle

How to Prepare

If you are heading into a job search, the best way to prepare is to set up a strategy and a feedback loop where you can adapt to the market as you go. For this, I recommend Debugging Your Job Search to evaluate your experience and adapt. This way you are not doing the same thing for months, expecting different results. I also call this active waiting as I find, for myself and my clients, there is nothing more invigorating than doing what I can to take control of the situation. Just like in dating, it is empowering to not just sit and wait by the phone.

How to Pivot

In this market I would recommend setting aside time where you turn off your job search and have some fun. This will allow you to protect your mental and physical health so that you can have more resilience for whatever comes next.

While I have already shared tips on how to pivot when a job search has got you down, what I want to add is that:

  • You already recognize that this time, this search, is different. Do different.
  • Shift your perspective to the big picture if you’ve been in the weeds or rethink your daily to-dos if you’ve been fixated on the larger implications.
  • Speak aloud positive affirmations about and to yourself.

Key to the boundaries you set is to recognize that where you focus your attention matters. To say this again and differently, clicking and sharing stories that only focus on the job search means that the algorithms, including those in your mind, will multiply that focus. Balance that with other areas of interest because work-life balance isn’t given, it is created, and it begins with you. It begins now.

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