Finding A New Job While Caregiving
They say finding a new job is a full time job. Needless
to say then that looking for a new job while working is exhausting.
Well, what do you do when you already have TWO jobs-your day job
and your job as caregiver to an elderly relative-and you'd love
to be doing something different? It's no wonder that so many people
in this situation feel trapped not only from a time perspective
but because their current life situation has added emotional and
financial responsibilities that they must take into account.
It may seem daunting, but you can take action on your career while caring for your family. The idea is to break free of the traditional ideas you may have about job hunting and instead work with your current situation to start making those first few career change steps. First, consider where your energy goes everyday.
Let's say you are a cup. All of the things in life that are draining your energy are holes in your cup. If I were to take a pitcher of water...water=energy...and pour it into your cup, what would happen? You would be leaking. We can often feel stuck in our current situation because of tiny, seemingly insignificant energy leaks that keep us from being our best. Choose to only have in your life things you love, things you like, and that which makes you feel fabulous. Just because something or some person isn't bad doesn't mean it's right for you. Donate all those clothes you used to love that you no longer wear because your tastes have changed. Get rid of the knickknacks that used to mean something to you but are now out of place in your home. Collect all those magazines you're not reading and give them to a neighbor or stick them in the recycling bin. And while you're at it, cancel all magazine/newspaper subscriptions that cause you stress because you haven't caught up on previous issues. Is there a relationship you need to come clean about? Conversations you need to have with people? Make plans to deal with these relationships because these drains ARE having an impact on ALL areas of your life. And any emotional resistance you have to your current situation is another form of wasted energy. Give up the fight and free some of that energy up for things you'd rather be doing/feeling. Keep in mind that you might be dealing with certain things that take up quite a bit of energy but that you can't do much about right now. That's ok. Start with what you can change and watch what happens.
Second, set your expectation appropriately.
Maybe you've been saying your going to update your resume or spend time researching new jobs but Sunday night rolls around again and you still haven't done this. You then feel lousy as you get ready for the start of a new week knowing it'll be another full week before you even have a half hour to yourself again. How realistic are you being? What is honestly possible for you to accomplish in a given week when it comes to your job hunt? Start to underpromise and overdeliver. For all of you overachievers out there, this means committing to less than you normally would have and actually setting yourself up to win. Agree to do one section of your resume for 30 minutes this coming Saturday and that's it! If in 30 minutes you get two sections done, great. If you find you actually can take another half hour and keep working, fantastic. But otherwise, you've accomplished what you set out to do-working for 30 minutes on your resume. Feeling good about the progress you take on your career comes not from accomplishing an enormous, superhero amount of work in the blink of an eye, but in actually finishing whatever you say you're going to finish when you say you're going to do it.
And third, use the time you do have to learn more about yourself.
Many people I work with feel they can't take any action on finding a new job or career because they don't know what they'd like to do. This is nonsense! An essential part of any job or career hunt is actually learning about yourself and discovering what work you'd love to be doing. When you're so pressed for time because of your current job, elder care responsibilities, and family obligations, be creative with how you use your time. Carry a small notepad with you to jot down ideas you have throughout the day. When you're in line waiting for your coffee in the morning, think about activities you've done in the past that made your heart sing. Write a few down and see if you notice any patterns. While you're waiting for the next train, make a list of things other people consider you an expert in and see what patterns emerge. The point is that by taking small moments here and there to be introspective and observant of yourself, you are taking such valuable action toward having a new job while still working within the constructs of your current life.
As you plug the energy drains, promise less to yourself, and take baby steps when you can, you're giving yourself a chance to explore a new career at a pace that works with your current life not against it!
Eldercare Issues Resolved By Choice, Not Crisis
Have a question for Barbara E.? Ask or leave a comment below!