focus on effort not outcomes, staying positive job search

How Detaching From Outcomes Helped Me Maintain Serenity While Looking for a Job

While engaged in reflection today, I thought about my lengthy, traditional job search experiences. Upon reflection, I now notice something I didn’t when I started: I (unintentionally) relied on my efforts for the achievement of my goal – getting a job. Too much.

I wanted to re-enter the workforce quickly after my solo experience in elder care. In no way did I want my job search to fail. In no way did I want to experience the trap of long-term unemployment. And, I focused on learning and putting into action every job hunt tip and method I could with the hope of getting hired quickly.

This did more harm than good.

focus on effort not outcomes, staying positive job search
How Detaching From Outcomes Helped Me Maintain Serenity While Looking for a Job. Unsplash Original Photo Courtesy of Blake Lisk. Edited by Priscilla.

If you can’t relate to anything else in this piece, I’m sure you agree with this: Unemployment advice is everywhere. Career and job search advice is also everywhere. You can read and learn information through several different mediums: audios, books, articles, blog posts, podcasts, videos, webinars. You name a medium, and you’re guaranteed to find information. (There’s also the advice of those around you.)

Some pieces of informational advice helped me learn a lot about looking for a job and maintaining an effective job search process: how to research and explore career options and alternatives, how to reach out to professionals in your field (or new field) for career advice, how to target companies for employment, how to research companies for jobs, how to prepare a cover letter and resume, how to track job applications and follow-up, and how to prepare for job interviews.

Others, however, negatively affected me and my job search. I was already too attached to the outcome of my job search, and they had me blaming myself for my job search failure. They had believing I always had something to fix, when nothing was wrong. My rationale was: the more I ‘fixed’ things through the seeking of knowledge and application, the more I influenced a successful outcome.

And what was the result?

I learned more with every piece of job search advice I’d already learned and applied.  I brought chaos to my brain with information overload – trying to accomplish my goal in the shortest amount of time possible. Don’t get me wrong here: there’s value in learning from others and implementing what applies. There’s also value in knowing when you’re crippling yourself with too much information for application and when you need to proceed by faith.

What I didn’t consider, at the time, was: I operated out of fear and anxiety. I went overboard with my efforts without considering I had no control of the results. This left me full of frustration as opposed to full of serenity. It made all the difference when I realized it, though. Upon this realization, I knew I had to renew my faith and trust in God.

With all the information available for coping with unemployment, understanding the latest jobs report, excelling in your job search (by following this rule or not following this advice), and applying (or ignoring) this knowledge as you progress, it’s a struggle to renew (or develop) your faith and trust under such circumstances.

It’s a struggle to give your best efforts in the job hunt, rest in them, and believe things will work out for good, at the right time. Especially when there are suggestions all around to: try and work harder, put in more applications daily, blame yourself for your inability to find a job (as if you can go out and buy a job offer from one of the largest retail chains).

Though you know you’re not allowing laziness to take over this process, winging interviews, and following ineffective job search techniques, you’d (be tempted to) believe otherwise with the some of the information around. You’d (be tempted to) focus your energy on seeking out additional advice for doing more, when you know you’ve done what you needed to do.

Committing one of those major job search mistakes helped me.

focus on effort not outcome, staying positive while looking for a job, trusting God when you are unemployed
How Detaching From Outcomes Helped Me Maintain Serenity While Looking for a Job. Unsplash Original Photo Courtesy of Steven Coffey. Edited by Priscilla.

It might sound crazy, but it’s true.

I stepped back for evaluation. And I accepted an important fact: while my efforts matter, I shouldn’t trust in them for the results I seek.

So to you: Please know: attaching yourself to outcomes in your search for employment only leads to (more) frustration.

When you know you’ve done your best in researching companies of interest, preparing your resume and cover letter for each position, giving a good job interview, learning from every experience, maintaining your productivity and improving yourself, personally and professionally, detach from the results. Trust in God’s faithfulness for the outcome. Believe things will things will work out, in the way (and time) they should, even if it means exploring a new career path, field of employment, or occupation.

This is one of the hardest things to do when the pressure is on. It’s difficult to move forward with the expectation of a job or a legitimate income source, when you’ve gotten so many rejection letters and emails (or rejection by silence) you’ve lost count. I know.

Even now, as I move forward with other endeavors, I still sometimes struggle with balancing action and trust. With letting go of the outcome. Some days it’s hard to push through without going (or the temptation to go) into overdrive, trying to make things happen, how and when I want. But, I can honestly say, my faith and trust in God makes it easier to positively move forward, even when my plans go awry.

So, as you continue to actively navigate unemployment and your job search, I encourage you to not only strengthen your knowledge and efforts but your faith in God as well. By doing so, you’ll push onward without working yourself into a frenzy when you find yourself back at square one. You’ll know the right door will open fully when you approach, knock, and walk through. And, you’ll maintain your serenity through it all.

P. S. If you enjoyed this, you might also enjoy a related article: What You Should Know About These Moods of Living.

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