How To Use The Work When Looking For A Job

"Chicken Little was running about in a gentleman’s garden, where she had no business to be. She ran under a rose-bush, and a leaf fell on her tail. She was dreadfully frightened, and ran away to Hen Pen."

"O Hen Pen," said she, "the sky is falling!" "Why, Chicken Little, how do you know it?" "O, I heard it with my ears, I saw it with my eyes, and part of it fell on my tail."

As ridiculous as it sounds, there’s no denying first-hand experience. For Chicken Little, the sky really was falling.

And When You’re Looking For A Job, It Can Feel That Way Too

There’s no denying the disheartening experience of being out in the cold looking for a job. It is exasperating. Especially when you have good, solid talents, and are willing to work. It just doesn’t seem fair.

As the bills keep piling up with no means to pay them, you get desperate, and resentful, and angry. Panic alternates with depression. And even the best attempts of friends and family to cheer you up don’t have much lasting effect.

This Is Where The Work of Byron Katie Can Be Helpful

The Work is a way to question your thoughts and beliefs about a stressful situation. It is a way to consider an opposite point of view. The result is that sometimes The Work can free the mind of its obsession with despondency.

But The Work Can’t Help Me Get A Job!

This is true. The Work is a way to gain more clarity about a stressful situation. It is meditation. But it can never replace the hard work necessary to get your resume out time and time again.

So don’t pin false hopes on The Work for getting you a job. But The Work can help give some perspective, and patience, while you search.

Here Are Four Ways You Can Use The Work During Your Job Search

1. Use The Work to question your job as your identity
2. Use The Work to question your job as your only source of money
3. Use The Work to question your pickiness about potential jobs
4. Use The Work to question your resistance

Let’s take a look at these one by one.

1. Use The Work To Question Your Job As Your Identity

This has always been a big one for me. I somehow subscribed to the philosophy, "I have a job, therefore I exist." Because of this underlying belief, not having a job, or not being "successful" threatens my very existence. If I don’t have a job, then who am I? My very identity is at stake.

But we can use The Work to question these beliefs:

I am nobody if I don’t have a job. Is it true?
People who don’t have jobs are… (make a list). For each item on the list ask, "Is it true?"
Because I don’t have a job, people think… (make a list) Is it true?
I am a (list your skills: photographer, facilitator, etc.) Is it true?
I need to have a job in order to be happy. Is it true?

This brings us to a second way you can use The Work while searching for a job:

2. Use The Work To Question Your Job As Your Only Source of Money

It is easy to discount the financial help of friends, family, and even the government. A gift can sometimes feel like a slap in the face instead of the genuine help that it was intended to be. The Work can help you question the beliefs that make you uncomfortable receiving money from anything other than your job.

For example:

When people give me money, I need to pay it back. Is it true?
I am sub-human when I depend on others for money. Is it true?
It’s not my money if I didn’t earn it. Is it true?
I will become complacent if I receive help from others. Is it true?
Others secretly resent giving to me. Is it true?
I need to be the only one who takes care of myself. Is it true?

Now, let’s consider another area where The Work can help.

3. Use The Work To Question Your Pickiness About Potential Jobs

This one relates directly to ego: "I don’t want to do a job that is below me." Or, "I’m not good enough to do that job (it’s above me)."

Both sides of the ego coin are paralyzing in the search for a job. So it’s good to do some questioning of these beliefs:

During your job search, make a list of all the potential jobs that are below you. For each one ask, "Is it true?"
During your job search, make a list of potential jobs that are above you. For each one ask, "Is it true?"
My new job has to be perfect in every way. Is it true?
If there is even one thing I don’t like about a potential new job, it’s not worth doing. Is it true?
The job I take now will lock me in for life. Is it true?

Have you noticed how few jobs are available when you’re believing that so many of them are either above you or below you?

This brings us to one final way to use The Work while searching for a job.

4. Use The Work To Question Your Resistance

What is stopping you from fully embracing the job search? What is stopping you from making "finding a job" your 9-5 job? In other words, what are your resistances?

Here are a few ways to start questioning your resistances:

"I can’t work full time at finding a job because…" (make a list: "I have to watch the kids," "I’m too depressed," etc.), and for each reason ask, "Is it true?"
What excuses are you using to put off knocking on doors? (e.g. "I need more planning," "I need to do more searching on the internet," "I need more training"). Is it true?
The job search is taking too long. Is it true?
I can’t ask for help finding a job. Is it true?

In The End, Only You Can Employ You

If what you’re thinking and believing about getting a job, or being unemployed, is holding you back, then I invite you to get those thoughts on paper and question them.

It may be that the real reason you’re unemployed is to help you break through those debilitating beliefs. Because if they hold you back in your job search, they probably will hold you back on the job as well, or in other areas of your life.

But you have to find this for yourself. Chicken Little was not going to give up her firm belief very easily that the sky was falling. And neither will you, unless you take the time to inquire yourself.

Hen Pen began what could have been a revealing inquiry with Chicken Little by asking her, "how do you know it?" However, Hen Pen didn’t turn out to be a very experienced facilitator of The Work. She ended up believing Chicken Little’s story, and got sucked into the panic.

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