There’s an old actors joke: an actor looks to the director and demands in distraught tones, “what’s my motivation?” It’s a joke, because as any actor will tell you, it is his or her job to know the character’s motivation in any scene. The actor should be an expert on his or her character.
In job search, motivation can be hard to find some days. There are certainly days when my motivation is subpar, and I think I’m far from alone in that respect: maybe it’s been a while now; maybe we haven’t been getting responses. So not often, but sometimes, at some point, the negatives start to outweigh the positives.
Yet just as in acting, it’s our job to find motivation, isn’t it? And to be clear, the issue isn’t being unmotivated per se: we understand what’s at stake. We would like nothing better than to be able to stop the job search process.
So the question isn’t really how to find motivation, so much as it is how to renew motivation. And honestly, I find that being able to help someone else in their own search is the most helpful way to achieve that renewal of purpose.
One way in which I try to set myself up for success in this regard is to talk with people I encounter. Just as I will forward a job posting to someone I think is a good fit, trying to connect two people who might be able to help one another can also be helpful to their job search and by getting to know people, I can position myself better to do that. When you put two people in touch who find that connection mutually profitable, you get a good feeling from having facilitated that introduction.
Another way that works for me is to get a little perspective. The news keeps telling us that the economy is bad: yes, we know. But as a member of PSG and other networking groups, I see practically every week that people I know are landing positions. From this, I conclude at least some businesses are hiring. And this means that there’s HOPE (Helping Other People Excel).
There will be days when the cynical voice in the back of your mind disagrees with everything, no matter how logical. I don’t get them often, thankfully, but I do get them. And on those days, maybe the best thing to do is to “take a mental health day”.
It’s like taking a sick day. If job search is itself a full-time job, then just as an employer gives sick days or vacation days, make sure you are giving yourself the same benefits. By doing so, you empower yourself to be an effective job seeker the next day.
We are each of us experts on our own respective job searches, just as actors are experts on their characters.
At the end of the day, learning from actors helps you stay focused on the big picture: landing your next job.