Job Hunt Got you Stressed?

Engaging in competitive employment seeking is a draining, frustrating and time-consuming sport. Where you could expect a 5% response rate to your job applications 18 months ago, the number plummeted to well under 1% in the intervening months. Less than one out of 100 applications will get you a response (unless you’re a nurse and can go wherever you want to). One hundred responses will get you ten interviews. Ten interviews might get you a job or it might take 20 interviews. You do the math. It boils down to a lot of persistence in the midst of a lot of rejection.

Plus, the majority of Americans are ready to change their jobs if the opportunity presents itself. Only 42% of employees are satisfied with their jobs according to company reviews. And, 22% expect to be in a new job by this time next year.

Let’s see: 22% of the workforce active looking to move now; 10% of the workforce currently unemployed; 43% ready to go if they can. Pretty much everyone who isn’t hanging on to their job for dear life is trying to get another one. It’s easy to see that this is the most competitive job hunting environment in decades (from the job hunter’s perspective).

You’d think that employers would be overjoyed by the opportunity to improve the quality of their team. Instead, the gatekeepers are in disarray (see Liz Ryan’s article about defective HR Departments) and employers can’t generally figure out what to do. That means it’s a hyper-competitive market with really contradictory signs and signals.

Bottom line is it’s really easy to let the seeming futility of a job hunt corner you. It’s not unreasonable for the stress to sneak up on you. One of the best things you can do for yourself is to set aside some time for meditation. Simply breathing regularly and deeply for 15 minutes can make a world of difference. A daily routine that includes a short segment of just sitting and breathing can reduce your blood pressure, help regain your optimism, give you a feeling of well being and keep the blahs at bay.

1. Get in a comfortable place. (It’s a good idea to unplug and/or turn off the phone)

2. Sit comfortably. No particular posture is important. For these 15 minutes, your comfort is what’s important.

3. Start breathing regularly. Count to seven slowly while you breathe in. Count to seven slowly while you breathe out.

4. Focus your attention in the area of your heart; in the center of your chest.

5. Maintain the focus on your heart. Now breathe in and out through your heart.

6. Breathe deeply and easily. Keep counting

7. Try to feel a positive feeling. Remember a friend, a pet, a special occasion; Pick something that makes you feel good.

Do this for fifteen minutes at a time, once a day. The instructions are based on a scientific approach to meditation called Heart Coherence. Giving yourself a vacation like this each day will increase your odds on the battlefield.

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