3 Secrets of a Zen Job Seeker

Feeling frantic, stressed, and overwhelmed by your job search? The job search is uncertain, and the time and effort required is overwhelming.

If you are searching for a job and feeling this way, then you’re not alone. There are over 12.8 million Americans currently unemployed. Of those, over 1 million last month reported giving up on their search entirely, citing that they believe no jobs are available to them. You may even be close to giving up, too.

Instead of giving you more career networking tips and job search advice, let me provide a few different ways of thinking about your job search.

Eastern philosophies for centuries have taught open-mindedness is essential to attaining clarity and enlightenment. Zen, for instance, is experiential wisdom, realized through meditation and disciplined self-realization.  It is a practice that is concerned with what is, and not what you feel or think about what is.  Combining Zen and the job search can provide you with new insight and clarity about what is really important to you here and now, while reducing job search anxieties.

To attain the ultimate job search enlightenment, here are three secrets of a Zen job seeker:

Let Go. You cannot do it all and you cannot control everything related to what you do. The one thing that most job seekers believe is that unless they do everything under the sun to land a job, they will miss their opportunities.  If a person is so busy doing this and that and worrying about what happened yesterday and what might happen next month, then they will miss opportunities.  Focus on the things you can control and forget the rest. Some things (like hiring decisions) are simply out of your control — no matter how many resumes you send, cold calls you make, or tweets, blogs, and emails you write.  Accept this, focus on the things you can control, and you will experience less stress when things don’t go your way.

Know When To Shut Off. It’s been said that you should treat the job search like a full-time job, and I believe this too. Hunting for a job 50, 60, 80 hours a week isn’t going to get you the job though. It will just burn you out. While putting forth that much time and energy is commendable, you have to decompress during the week. Take a time out for yourself and exercise, play a sport, meet a friend, or simply meditate.  It will prevent you from experiencing job search burnout, and the clarity you gain may even provide you inspiration and motivation to achieve something remarkable.

Focus On The Present. Focusing on past mistakes or consequences of potential mistakes in the future takes away your energy in the present. Live in the moment. Forget the past, because it cannot be changed, Forget the future, because it has not yet been written. Focus on your present, and enjoy it and experience it to the fullest, because it is by living in the present that you can build and achieve the small incremental successes that lead to personal growth and accomplishment.

In other words, focus on completing small, achievable, and purposeful goals each day. By limiting yourself to present-day thinking you will stay focused on what matters now and make the job search seem less overwhelming.

Taking a Zen approach in your job search is the secret to staying on top of your efforts and combating struggles along the way. It’s not about the destination, but rather, the journey.

What do you think?  How can you remain Zen in the job search? What other tips can you share?

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