The Secret to Get Moving on a Job Search

When you leave a job after having had a demanding manager, you may feel like you just took off a tight pair of shoes.  What a relief!

Even if you have been laid off and you are not sure what your next step is there can be a feeling of freedom.

Being accountable to someone else is constraining.  You can’t just do anything you want. You must do it the manager’s way and in the manager’s time frame.  Sometimes you are in sync with him or her but sometimes not.  Often the pressure of producing it fast is stressful.  Hence the relief when you no longer have to deal with him/her!

That is not to say that there is no anger, disappointment and fear that comes with being laid off. It is natural to feel this too. People often need time to recover after the trauma of being laid off because they do feel so upset and discouraged. Often, they must work to get their confidence back.  They must learn to deal with those emotions and that can take some time.

On the other hand, finding a new job takes time too and so the faster you can adjust to your new situation and put your anger and fear aside the better off you will be. If you feel it is taking you too long to recover a coach can help to speed the process.

Initially being accountable to only yourself does feel freeing.  But eventually reality sets in and you will need to figure out how to motivate yourself to take some steps forward so that you can be happy at work.

How do you do it?

The first step is to set some goals.  What is it you really want to do?  What will make you happy at work? Since you probably are concerned being out of work for a length of time as well as having a desire to find a better job, a good place to start is to set some goals for making contacts and meeting people who can help you to find that better job.

While taking action and developing relationships will make you feel better, it still may be difficult to do. Days with no agenda may be welcome in the beginning. There is no boss to complain if you don’t reach out to your network in a reasonable amount of time and it is so easy to forgive yourself for not moving forward.  (“I’m still upset.”  “I need a rest.” “I’ll wait until Monday.”)

When you find you are procrastinating and finding a million other things to do instead of working on your goals, one way to move forward is to enlist the aid of a colleague or friend. Ask that person to become your accountability partner so that you can move forward.  Share your goals and tell them your time line.

Making a commitment to that person and to yourself is a public promise to get moving.   Your friend is acting as your manager.  (There is a reason for managers!)

I’ve been talking about people out of work up to now but this is equally important if you are working long hours in a job.  Whether you love your work and are happy at work or are miserable in the position, I recommend that everyone work on his or her career a few hours a week.

Here again an accountability partner can be invaluable.  Of course you don’t want to have your boss do this no matter what.  Managers have agendas and their plans may or may not align with yours.  Instead choose someone else whom you are comfortable with to help you and then make this career work time a priority.

Where do you find an accountability partner?  Ideally you’ll know someone who also needs an accountability partner so you can help each other.  If you don’t know anyone like that, then a friend with whom you have shared your career frustration and/or highlights would work.

Finally of course people hire coaches to work with them.  Accountability coaches can help you to set realistic goals and then make you accountable for attaining them.

Coaches are trained to help clients to overcome the obstacles. They are unbiased partners who hold your vision of your next career move.  So in addition to having an accountability partner who supports you and your goals,  you also have someone skilled in working with clients who want a partner who sees the vision and addresses the obstacles to success.  The coach will guide you through the challenges toward the dream.

Take Action

  1. What are your current career goals?  Write them down.  Is there a time and date you plan to get them done?  Would an accountability partner be helpful?
  2. Make a list of possible accountability partners?  (This could be helpful even if you don’t want to have one right now.  You might listen for opportunities to help the people on your list with their goals so that when you need them they will be available to do the same for you.)

Looking for an accountability partner?

Be sure the person you select has no other agenda except to help you to successfully achieve your goal and that you are comfortable with that person.

If there is no one in your network that fits that description, then I would recommend hiring a coach.  I would be happy to be your accountability partner.  A coach adds the benefit of helping you to dig deeper to find out what is holding you back.  Is it fear, a belief that no longer serves you, or a habit you developed over time that worked before this?  Sometimes uncovering and exploring the trigger that keeps you stuck can help understand your reaction to this goal and other aspects of your life.  I can be reached at or 781-598-0388.


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