Over the years, I’ve seen candidates in difficult situations. Some were fired or laid off; others suffered a bankruptcy, battled illness, or many other drastic circumstances. Some of these people dealt with their situation positively, in ways that actually led them to a better job. Others, who possessed experiences, backgrounds, and resumes that were just as good, struggled to find a job. I saw that the successful job seekers shared common characteristics, and that they were taking certain actions that made the job search easier for them.
I must admit that I’m not really sure why these actions, which I call practical spirituality, work. I cannot provide any scientific explanation or proof, but I will absolutely stake my reputation on the fact that practical spirituality works. When faced with the stress and strain of physical or emotional challenges, like finding a job, our dark side can override our normal nature. For most of us, that dark side causes us to become self-centered and fearful. We develop a tendency to be negative and express our unhappiness to anyone who will listen. If fear completely overcomes us, we can become hostile – if not overtly, then in a subtle, passive-aggressive manner. This is definitely not the state of mind for a job seeker.
Be aware that in order to:
- Get people to give you the benefit of the doubt, you must give them the benefit of the doubt
- Get people to listen to you, you must listen to them
- Get people to understand you, you must understand them
- Get people to appreciate you, you must appreciate them
- Get people to have empathy for you, you must have empathy for them
- Get people to give you a chance, you must give them a chance
- Get people to give you a job, you must convince them you can do the job
In other words, you have to escape your self-centered focus and pained emotions and concentrate on what you can do for others.
Here are some of the very positive actions I have seen successful people do, however don’t limit yourself to these:
Be grateful for the opportunities that are available to you.
Be nice – even when you were hurting emotionally. Go out of your way to be really nice to people when you don’t necessarily feel nice.
“Create flow” by getting rid of the clutter in your car, your room, in any space that you occupy. Give away what you’re not using.
Practice forgiveness. There are a few things that are as spiritually uplifting as forgiveness. First, forgive yourself for all the stupid things you’ve done to yourself and others. Then make a list of all the people that suffered your transgressions. Call, write, or email these people and ask them for forgiveness. At the same time, make a list of all those people who may have committed transgressions against you. Call, write or email these people and forgive them. Don’t expect a return call, letter, or email. That’s not the point. Your spiritual growth depends on your ability to forgive others, not theirs.
Start a prayer or intentions list – even if you may not believe in prayer. You don’t have to believe in it to make it work. The purpose is for you to pass along positive intentions to specific people. It’s a form of giving. After all, you are a person who wants to receive; so, in order to receive, you’re going have to give and this is one of the ways of doing it.
Volunteer, if you haven’t already. There are hundreds of volunteer organizations that help people who really need to be helped. This is a form of giving while asking nothing in return. For example, serve food at a soup kitchen, build homes with Habitat for Humanity, and so forth. A secondary, possibly primary, benefit to volunteering is that you not only make contacts with all levels of people, you could also get a job or interview. I have known a number of people over the years that have either been hired or referred to their next job by someone they met as a volunteer.
Seek peace, as in solitude and serenity, especially in the morning. Finding moments of peace throughout the day, however brief they may be, doesn’t hurt either. Stay away from negative people, violent movies or television, and other emotionally draining activities.
Let go of the stuff you really don’t need. Learning to give anonymously is truly a great experience. For example, I keep $5 gift certificates from one of the fast-food chains in the console of my car. When a street person asks me for a handout, I give them a gift certificate. It’s a great feeling, and it only costs $5.
Releasing resistance is another form of letting go. Emotionally, when we resist any particular feeling that feeling remains. What we resist persists. The sooner you can release your resistance to any negative feelings, the better off you are.
Practice acceptance of things just the way they are. Develop the ability to accept even what we don’t like just for what it is. It is like being stuck in terrible traffic and saying to yourself, “How wonderful it is to be there. What great traffic this is. I haven’t seen a wonderful traffic jam like this in years.” You will absolutely be amazed at how effective it is.
Laugh a lot. Read jokes. Watch funny movies. Listen to a child’s laughter – it is one of the most infectious feelings there is. Studies show that laughter decreases the chemicals produced by the body when stressed.
Practice empathy by asking yourself, “How does that person see or feel about the world?”
Sacrifice comes from the Latin word that means, “to make holy.” Pass up the ice cream cones or the desert you love for a week or so. Make a visit to your church, synagogue, or mosque when you don’t really “have to.” Fast one day a week (but not before an interview).
Other ways. Donate blood. Let someone cut ahead of you in line. Don’t criticize anyone for 24 hours. Write or call a friend whom you haven’t talked to in a long time. Watch the children play and try to remember what it felt like. Write three sentences that you would like people to say about you at your funeral. Be quiet for three hours at a time. Rediscover rituals and the family. Slow down and rest. Learn a form of meditation.
Finally, there are thousands of books, articles, CD’s, audiotapes, and videos that can help you become more spiritual. It can make all the difference in the world. In spite of the fact that looking for a job is an emotionally stressful thing to do, feeding the spiritual side of your being, in the process, can make it a truly positive experience.