As I give my talks about Manage Your Job Search, I ask people, “What traps have you noticed in your job search?” I hear all kinds of things. I've addressed a number of them in the book, and I'll address more of them here.
One of the traps I hear a lot is this one: “While I'm home, I can just throw in a load of laundry, do the carpools, make breakfast, make dinner, clean the house, clean out a couple of closets, …” The list goes on and on.
Listen for that word “just.” It's a trap.
I hear you. You do not want to see the state of my office. (It verges on the state of half-clean/half-disaster.)
There is always more to do in a house. Especially while you are unemployed and you have children. They still have activities to go to. If you used to have someone to pick them up and drop them off, I bet you have reduced that expense, and you are driving the kids now. And, it's probably you, not your spouse, which reduces your available job-hunting time. There is always a closet to clean, a meal to cook, something to do. Always.
Consider this: you need to think long-term. What will get you back to normal? A job, a good job that will make you feel great about going into work every day.
How will you get that job? By knowing what your purpose is, by know what culture you need. And, if you do that with a system that allows you to make small purposeful steps, such as personal kanban, you can do it.
Can you put laundry on your kanban? Sure. If you make a conscious decision that today, you need to do the laundry, that the laundry is the most important work you can do, sure. Make it a conscious decision. Otherwise, it's a trap.
When you are unemployed, your job is to get a job. If you do other work, you better have a great reason.
You want to have a great family, a great job, a great you, right? Think about what you need to now and later. Make choices that fit for you now. Use your kanban to visualize those choices. You can say, “No,” to yourself, and do the laundry later.
And, if you have older children who are capable of helping around the house, enlist them to do the cooking, cleaning, and laundry. You are going through what could be the most difficult time of your life. You need their help and support.
If you hear yourself saying, “just,” stop right now. Just is a trap word. You cannot do it all. You need to decide what you can and cannot do. I suggest you focus on your job search.
Isn't your job search your most important work for right now? Is there anything more important?