Job Seekers – Is Your Search In Idle Mode?

Sometimes We Think We Are Doing Things

Quite often job seekers get caught up in the “I’m doing something, so therefore I am productive mode”. I can relate to that. There have been times during my job searches where I spent hours doing something: e.g. rewriting my resume, perfecting my cover letter, sending resumes to a black hole, searching the job boards, etc.; the problem was that it was not getting me any closer to a job. The activities were unfocused and, to tell you the truth, a waste of time.

The only thing I could say was; “I am doing something!” When you reach this point and these are the things you are doing; your job search is on idle! It is not moving forward and, in fact, it is probably moving in reverse because you are getting further and further away from your previous job and your next job.

Getting Out of the I Am Doing Something Mode

Getting yourself out of this mode, is not always an easy thing to do. The primary reason is that we do not recognize that we are in that mode; because we think we are doing something.

Job seekers must be paying attention to how they spend their time! It is extremely easy to put valuable activities off in lieu of worthless activities; because we have convinced ourselves that we are doing something, anything, and therefore that is good.

How Do You Keep Yourself On Track

One of the best ways, although not the easiest, is to make yourself accountable to you. Keep a log of your activities that shows when you started an activity, what you did, what you accomplished, and when you stopped. As part of this process you must record your distractions as well so you can see where you squandered your time. This is particularly tough because we do not want to admit our faults.

If you cannot hold yourself accountable, then you must get someone who will. This is typically not a family member or even a friend. Friends will be too understanding and family members, who have a vested interest, will either be too harsh on you; or they will accept your excuses. None of these is of any help to you.

Your accountability process needs someone that will gently keep you on track. Your accountability coach will also get tough when you continue to vary from or continually fail to achieve the agreed upon tasks. This person is much like a personal trainer that holds you accountable for your training regimen.

A job search requires focus and intention. The lack of either will continue to keep you and your job search on idle.

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Job Seekers – Working Day Labor

A Day Labor Primmer

First a little day labor primmer. In most of the medium to large cities there are businesses that supply day labor to employers. Day labor, as the name implies, is working for a full or partial day and getting paid that day.

Either the evening before or early in the morning an employer will call these organizations and tell them how many workers they need and at what time they should report. Most of the jobs are manual labor and in many cases things that no one else wants to do.

The day laborer shows up and signs in and then as calls arrive they are assigned to the workers on a first come, first served basis. The laborer may sit there for a few minutes or a few hours; if the calls end before everyone has a day job, the remaining laborers are sent home.

There are different types of day labor companies; most as stated above are manual labor, but some are also oriented toward office work. The ones providing day labor office workers can be a little better, because they may be looking for additional skills. These skills could include typing, MS Office, spreadsheets, or more. As the skills requirements go up there may be a corresponding increase in the hourly rate that is offered.

Succeeding at Day Labor

If your situation and needs are pressing, day labor can be a short-term answer for anyone. In fact, I did day labor for a couple of weeks when things were particularly tight. The point I want to make is that you can be successful at day labor.

Much of your competition for these jobs are people that are really down and out and in many cases have given up. Sorry to say, some may even be there to support a drug or alcohol habit. Because of the competition, if you are industrious, you can have an advantage.

When I did my day labor stint I was fortunate to be called the first day when I was there. My first advantage was that I arrived shaved, showered, and presentable. I was not there for very long before I was called for an assignment. It was working at a “Rent-to-Own” business.

As with most of these businesses my assignment was something that no one in the organization really wanted to do. I was assigned to put together furniture that would be going on the showroom floor and ultimately to the customer. Most of the stuff was of the kit variety with an assembly instruction sheet.

Being reasonably intelligent I went through the task list and assembled everything they put in front of me. It was not too long before I was asking for the next assignment. They had me clean up the back room and get rid of furniture that was damaged or missing parts; which I did. The back room was a cluttered mess so it took a while to complete, but I was finished by day’s end.

Later that evening I received a call from the Day Labor company asking if I would be there the next day and saying that the Rent-to-Own company had requested me for the next day. I said I would be there and now I did not have to show up early to get on the list. Yes, I had to sign-in, but it was sign-in and go.

Again I did as asked. This time it was cleaning up the parking lot behind the store. When the employees opened something they just threw the boxes and packaging out the back door. If there was something broken, they threw it out the back door. There were piles and piles of junk sitting in the lot.

I was told to clean it up the best I could and put whatever I could into the dumpsters and neatly pile the remainder. So I started. With some good planning and organizing I was able to get everything into the dumpsters, sweep the area, and have it very presentable. A couple of hours into the project the manager came out and asked me what I had done with all the garbage, because there were no piles. I explained that I was able to get everything into the dumpsters and he was amazed. In fact, he did not believe me. The reality is that he had no choice because there was no other place to go with the junk.

The point is that even with the crappiest of jobs there are opportunities to stand out and even better if you are down in the dumps and thinking that you have no value. Just doing something as simple as day labor and doing it well, can get you some recognition that will help you rebuild your self confidence.

Take pride in what you do and regardless of how menial it may seem, people do take notice and you can have a sense of accomplishment.