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Get a Job or Paint the Kitchen?

Get a Job or Paint the Kitchen?“Since I have time on my hands, I’d better make myself useful at home…”

An honorable thought, but too often it becomes a trap.

Here’s the scenario:  I do a coaching session with a job seeker, we’ll call her Carla, who has been unemployed for a year and is eager to get a job ASAP. Together we plan action items to move her job search forward.

We get her started on developing a list of SOAR stories, draft an elevator intro that she will practice with friends, make plans to set up informational interviews, and more – a “best practices” job search.

She’s energized – really psyched up! – and agrees to spend 30-40 hours a week doing her homework.

A week later she says, “I did some of those things, maybe about six hours’ worth, but the kitchen has been needing repainting for a year – I mean, it’s really bad. And then family came visiting, and since I’m not working I spent three days showing them around.”

The pressure may come from a spouse or family member who is – understandably –  anxious about being the sole wage earner. Or it may come from being around the house, surrounded by all those long-neglected problems and projects.

“But these projects are important,” you may say. Maybe they are. Make time for them the way people with jobs do: on weekends and in the evenings.

It’s easy to drift into being a nearly full-time homemaker – a valid lifestyle choice, but didn’t you say you needed a salary and benefits package?

Here’s the key – repeat this frequently: “Looking for a job is a job.”

The more you treat job search as such, the sooner you’ll be pulling in a paycheck and no longer needing to justify yourself to family members by acting as a househusband or housewife, repair person, family travel manager, etc.

Create specific “office hours” for your job search, and stick to them. Log your accomplishments so you can report to your significant others about what you’re doing.

Do such a great job that you can credibly say, “I don’t have time to clean out the garage today.”

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