It's past 10PM in Berlin right now, and I'm still wrapping up emails. It's my first day back from a real birthday (it was yesterday!) vacation in Sicily (see photo! see Instagram!). I didn't even take my laptop, which is huge for me. As we all know, I tend to have this thing glued to my fingers.
I still checked emails, but didn't respond to anything until I was back. Okay, well, until I was back in the Sicilian airport, anyways. And while today continues to be a very long day of fielding messages (especially after my impromptu birthday party last night), I didn't lose any clients or miss out on the call of a lifetime. Nothing died on me.
I'm at a point in my career right now where I'm not actively looking for new clients--which, as a freelancer, is just about the best thing going. Even still, I could hardly bear to be off duty for a couple days.
Which made me vividly remember the irrational paranoia and paralysis of unemployment. Or of un-fun-employment, where you're working full-time and also desperately trying to get out of that job as soon as humanly possible.
It totally blows, I know.
And more than the general frustration of trying to get hired, you also go into this weird mode where you want to be by your computer 24/7 just in case The Call comes in. You know the one. Like, as if there will be some magic official Boss Person who calls to offer you The Job (any job) and you can't be busy--ever--just in case they need you to Report For Duty Right Away.
Friend, back away from the computer.
If anyone ever calls you on a Friday afternoon and tells you to start working at 4PM that same day or else they won't hire you--well, first of all, I will pay you $5 if that ever actually happens. But, second: if they can't wait for you to start until Monday, that's just a serious red flag situation.
It's okay to keep living your life while you look for work. There's not another option, in fact. Because you will just straight up drive yourself crazy if you don't.
So, a couple little tips from me:
1. Set a weekly (or daily) goal that's significantly more tangible than Find A New Job. This could be something like "Call three family friends to go out for coffee" or "Update my resume" or "Put my portfolio online" or "Complete the full application for one position."
2. Find a hobby. Force yourself to do something that has nothing to do with browsing through job descriptions. It's not an effective use of your time, I promise. Plus, you will feel lame when the interview finally does come and you don't have a good answer for the Tell Us About Yourself question. "Tell you what?! I've been waiting for you to send me an email for this interview, that's what!!" is not a solid conversation starter.
3. Leave the computer. Once you set a goal and then accomplish it, stop. You're not doing yourself any favors by "working" (AKA: browsing job descriptions) from morning through to night. It's okay. You did enough. You can stop for the day. I promise. You'll be a healthier person, and a less desperate and insane candidate, because of it.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to sleep. Speak to you all later.
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