The First and Most Important Step in the Job Search: Letting Go of the Old Job

After a happy and satisfying stint with an organization for which you thought you were a great match – until you got downsized and out-placed – what can you do to move on?

Celebrate what you accomplished!

No doubt you left behind a long list of accomplishments. If you can’t make a list of 10 – 20 things you accomplished there, ask some of your former colleagues or look at your past performance reviews and make a list of all of your successes, both big and small.

Close the door on what you didn’t accomplish!

You also probably left behind a few unfinished projects, ideas that never got off the drawing board, or things you wished you had done but didn’t. You cannot be an architect of the irrevocable past, as my Dad used to say! You did what you did and you didn’t do what you didn’t do! That is the current reality. What can you learn from that reality? Take the learning and leave the regrets. Put those concerns out the back door and close it tight!

Be selective about continuing contacts.

Pick one or two people with whom you want to keep in contact and keep in contact. They will provide continuity for you over the next few months and can help remind you about your successes and the good will you left behind. Don’t maintain contact with those who want to grouse about the organization and gossip about what is currently going on. Who cares??!!

Take a break!

Give yourself permission to decompress and regenerate yourself. Do things which energize you – maybe projects you put off; or getting into a healthier regime; getting back to nature; or reconnecting with your family and friends. Decide how long you are going to be “on vacation” before turning to the work of creating a new future.

Break the elephant into smaller pieces.

When you find yourself confused or overwhelmed, maybe you are just taking too big a bite. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time! The same applies to your job search. Assemble the first tool, make the first network contact, update your profile on LinkedIn – one bite at a time! Just be consistent with taking a bite, and then the next bite and the next one.

Create a routine for yourself.

When you are on shaky ground or lost in a fog bank, it is nice to have a little structure around you – something you can count on. The job gave you some certainty, regardless of how much or little you embraced the structures like meetings and reports, and updates and deadlines. Now you have to create that for yourself. Set up a schedule for yourself each day. Or better yet, join with others to support you in your mutual quest. Join a job search group which provides accountability, ideas, resources, and contacts. There are local groups where you meet face-to-face or groups which meet over a telephone bridge line.  And when you reach out for support from others, it becomes less of drudgery and more of a group project with all the camaraderie and people there to remind you to celebrate the small wins every day!

Keep things in perspective.
Be grateful everyday and every month for having what you need. Consider that some of your old wants were to give you a reward to offset the stress of the job.  Without the stress of the job, do you really need as much? You don’t have to keep feeding the question “am I doing enough” or  giving yourself what you feel entitled to after all of that effort day after day.  And now you can be satisfied with the joys of being a human being, gloriously alive and always imperfect!

Embrace the adventure
Keep exploring and experimenting with the things that stimulate and energize you!  Do it with some friends.  Take some risks. Be curious. Be OK in not knowing how it is all going to turn out in the end.  Remember,
“The future enters into us, in order to transform itself in us, long before it happens. ”  Rainer Maria Rilke

What do you do to let go of the old job and energize the search for the new job?

To join with other motivated career seekers in a small group for accountability, resources, contacts and collaboration, contact Pegotty,  Two groups have openings now, one on Tuesdays at 9:30 am and one on Wednesdays at 9:00 am, both on a telephone bridge line.  You pay $99  monthly and can join anytime.

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