Job searching is hard work; there is no doubt about it.
Rewarding yourself is important: you have to stay happy and motivated. However, most of us have a tendency to reward ourselves by buying a product or by eating/drinking something. Often, “consuming” by buying stuff we can’t afford or eating sweet, high-calorie treats serves only to aggravate other problems, like a lack of funds or a surplus of weight. I speak from experience on both topics.
How do you reward yourself for job search achievements, like finishing an awesome version of your resume, or scoring an interview or acing a networking meeting? Employment counsellors from ISSofBC employment programs shared their thoughts.
1. Skills Connect Seann Sinclaire says he would take a break from job searching for a full or half day. “I would get a good movie and watch it on TV,” he said.
Did you know that watching movies is even becoming a form of therapy? The Web MD site has an article about the benefits of cinema therapy for helping people cope with the up’s and down’s of life. You can read the article here.
2. Lin Meng, from Skills Connect, suggests a massage exchange with a friend. “Human touch is rewarding but it takes no money.” Your children may also be able to offer an excellent massage, perhaps in exchange for a later curfew or a night off from doing the dishes.
3. In Settlement Employment Services, Manager Liza Bautista shared her favorite accomplishment reward: a gift of time for reading fiction. “It takes my mind off whatever is all-consuming at the moment,” she says, noting that she aims to read her favorite authors including John Grisham, Isabelle Allende, Philippa Gregory and Beah Ishmael. Liza loses herself in their worlds and emerges refreshed.
Not sold on the joys of reading? For an interesting tour through the many benefits of literature, check this video from the School of Life.
4. Over in ISSofBC’s Online Learning, Coordinator Janis Fair described a regular reward she gives herself that keeps her happy: a quick break from work to watch a funny YouTube video. Perhaps you have already done that by clicking the link above.
5. And from me, my reward is simple, but it keeps rewarding me long after I’ve first experienced it: I write in my journal. I begin with a phrase like, “Today was a monumental day because…” and then I write what happened and how I feel. I make an effort to use elaborate words that decorate my sentences with impact and fire because, what the heck? It’s only me who will read it. Why not fill my personal history book with thunderously beautiful behemoth words that remind me of the power of hard work, the satisfaction of practiced skill and the pride of reward?
Occasionally, months or years later, I reread what I’ve written about my life. Sometimes I’ve documented sad or stressful times. Other times, I’ve recorded moments of achievement and times when I’ve felt blessed or lucky. Reading the happy times brings back the sweetness of those moments over and over again. In the big picture of our job searches, small achievements are easily forgotten after we get our hands on the final prize. Yet, it is in the small successes where we build patience and resilience. Remembering these seems critical to self-evaluation and progression. Plus, it feels good. Astonishingly good.
Our society encourages us to celebrate by consuming: buying, eating and drinking. Yet, celebrating in this manner may not be possible or healthy for us during a job search. These five alternative rewards can strengthen your commitment to your job search by increasing your happiness and mental clarity. So try them out. Most importantly, don’t forget to reward yourself.
About the Author: Gwen Pawlikowski is a freelance writer and entrepreneur who has also worked as an ISSofBC employment counsellor with newcomers. She lives in New Westminster and loves the diversity of the Lower Mainland. Please click here for information on ISSofBC’s career services.