When I lost 50 pounds, I knew it would change my life; I had no idea that it would teach me lessons I could apply to every area of my life, including my career. I was laid off two months ago, and I’ve been on the job hunt ever since. While it’s well documented how fitness can help in your career, I’ve found that it also helps in my job search. Here’s how:
When I lost 50 pounds, I broke it up into smaller goals. Lose 10 pounds by March 15. Lose 20 pounds by May 1. While I’d love to be able to set a goal of having a job by, say, tomorrow, that part is out of my control (which is the most stressful part of job-hunting, as anyone who’s ever looked for a job knows). What’s not out of my control is how I go about my job search. I maintain sanity by setting mini-goals for myself, like applying for 10 jobs a week and reaching out to at least two contacts a day. Just because I don’t have a job doesn’t mean I’m not being productive. Accomplishing these mini-goals helps to keep me feel like I’m moving forward in my job search.
It’s a marathon, not a sprint
Running my first marathon and now training for my second has taught me about patience and the importance of saving energy. If I had started sprinting at the beginning of my marathon, I would have felt like death at the end instead of feeling strong. A job search is the same. The day I got laid off, I came home and immediately started reaching out to my network and applying for jobs and securing interviews. Within a few weeks, I felt so burned out from sprinting fast and furious right out of the job search gate. I’ve learned from running that burnout is a sign to take a step back and maybe take a few days off, and so I took a few days off from job searching to make sure I was doing quality job searching.
Just as things will come up while training for a race, so too will things come up in your job search. Injuries or travel can alter a training plan; one great interview (or terrible interview) can teach you the lesson that will totally upend your job search and lead you on the path to your dream job.
‘Trust the training’
One of my favorite running phrases is “trust the training.” Runners often remind themselves of this phrase if they’re freaking out about being ready for an upcoming race. The idea is to trust what you’ve done so far, and that your training has prepared you sufficiently. Well, in a job search, you need to trust your training too, and not be defined by your perceived lack of success in the job search. It requires sacrifice. Thankfully, a job search doesn’t require the same sort of sacrifice marathon training does, but some sacrifice is required. If your job search is going on longer than you thought it would, you may have to start sacrificing somewhere in your dream job: salary, location or seniority.
Theodora Blanchfield blogs about weight loss and fitness at Losing Weight in the City. She is currently looking for freelance social media/writing projects or a full-time social media management position.