Applying for a new job is a stressful process, but it’s important to maintain control of the stress and stop it working against you. It’s Stress Awareness Week and as recruiters we deal with people at some of the most difficult moments of their lives. Addressing stress is the first step to becoming resilient and building a solid, stable foundation. Work-related stress can impact every aspect of your life and it’s important to keep that in check.
Recognising when normal stress is getting out of control
Pressure is not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes it motivates us to produce great work, to stretch ourselves, to meet tight deadlines. Coming away tired but exhilarated is a very different experience to the overwhelming dread of living with stress. Sometimes it’s difficult to recognise issues in our mental health until it’s gone a bit too far. Keep an eye out for physical symptoms – some times a breakout of spots, twitchy eyes or dried lips can be the signal you need to take stock. If you are coming home and reaching for the rioja, having difficulty sleeping or constantly fidgeting, just take a moment to analyse what’s happening in your life. When you’re job hunting there is normally a mixture of pressure (getting the application together, interviewing…), anxiety (waiting for replies, offers…) and frustration (not finding the right roles, being rejected, wading through unnecessarily bureaucratic processes…). All of these pile on the stress.
Once in a lifetime opportunities are a myth
When you’re applying for jobs, perspective is key. Yes, sometimes you search and search and eventually you find a role that seems perfect. Don’t put irrational pressure on yourself. Many aspects of job hunting are out of your control. A key element of beating stress is to be realistic about what you can achieve and focussing on the things that you have control of. The reasons for failing to get a job are numerous, and your preparation, performance, personality are only fractions of a wider decision. Simply do your best and accept that you don’t have control of the process. Other opportunities are around the corner and however disappointing it may seem at the time, doors will open in the future.
Don’t let stress control your career
It’s important to push yourself in your career. Challenging ourselves builds confidence and creates a sense of achievement that fulfils our lives. Don’t, however live in a perpetual competition with yourself and others. When we hold ourselves to impossible expectations or constantly compare with overachieving colleagues we can really damage our mental health. Ambition, and the stresses that can surround it, sometimes get out of control and we forget to enjoy ourselves. Money and status really aren’t the key to a successful life. Remember that getting home at a decent time, being able to take your child the doctors, enjoying dinner with friends, all these things are important. Children prefer a relaxed parent who spends time with them to all the riches in the world! Remember what you want from your career and don’t get stressed by the things that don’t really matter in the long run.
Check out ISMA for more information about Stress Awareness Week and addressing stress at work.