Tag Archives: job search

addictions counselling and employment counselling

i am currently taking a course on “core addictions practice”, a soon-to-be required course for people wanting to practice in the addictions field in our health authority. since i also work in the field of employment counselling, i thought it would be interesting to think about how ideas from addictions counselling can be applied to the work of a career practitioner. here is an example:

one “checkpoint” in addictions counselling is to consider “set, setting, dose”. “set” refers to mindset, “setting” refers to the physical and social setting, and “dose” refers to the type and amount of a substance used or behaviour practiced, and considerations of how set and setting affect dose. for example, if sue, who just had a fight with her parents and is upset over it (“set”), is going to a party with her friends where there is much drinking (“setting”), then before going to the party, she could think about setting a limit on how much she is going to smoke and drink (“dose”), because she knows that alcohol has a stronger effect on her when she is upset.

an interesting question here is, what is the equivalent of drinking in job search? excessive drinking is harmful. what are harmful/unhelpful behaviours in job search? possible candidates:

  • using only the computer for job search
  • doing many non-job search related activities on the computer during the job search
  • avoidance: excessive TV watching, eating, sleeping, etc.
  • distraction: cleaning, shopping, etc.

examples of helpful behaviours:

  • knocking on doors
  • staying in regular contact with networks
  • actively limiting non-job related internet use
  • learning about writing effective cover letters

mindsets – examples:

  • happy, serene, hopeful, positive, etc.
  • neutral, realistic, up-and-down, etc.
  • negative, depressed, hopeless, angry

settings – examples:

  • home (bedroom? office?)
  • knocking on doors
  • employment resource centre
  • coffee shop

an example might be: joe is sitting in a coffee shop where he reads that job openings in his industry are rising and feels hopeful. this prompts him to phone up an ex co-worker and invite him to have coffee.

questions for career practitioners:

  • would it be helpful for clients to know about set, setting, dose and how they influence each other?
  • we do a lot of work around positive behaviour, a little less about positive mindset, and very little about setting. what would it look like if we turned that on its head?
  • how about an exercise where we ask clients to physically visit a place that makes them feel happy?
  • at the most, our clients’ lives are 12% about job search (if they spend 20 hours a week on it); the rest is other things (at least overtly; they may spend quite a bit more time thinking about it). how are the remaining 88% influencing them? what would it be like if we thought about helping there in addition to with their job search, just like sue might be helped with her drinking if she had a better handle on how to approach conflicts with her parents?

recovering from bad work experiences: after the job offer

welcome to my last instalment of jacob share’s and my conversation on leaving bad work experiences behind. we started this in november and discovered the six stages of recovery from bad work experiences:

we’ve already covered

  1. resign: get the hell out of dodge!
  2. recover: get your bearings before you throw yourself back into the job search
  3. resources: make an inventory of your values, skills, knowledge and experience
  4. research: get the skinny on the people you’re next going to work with
  5. reapply: put yourself on an even foot with the employer
  6. results

so today we’re on to the “results” phase. usually this is:

get a job offer, accept it, phew.

this is how we usually do it, right? but if we’re smart it’s more involved – so involved that i’m thinking that “what happens after you get the job offer” could be a whole different series of posts …

however, i digress.

let me tell you a better sequence than get – accept – phew:

  • negotiate: once you get the offer, don’t say yes right away. this is the time for questions and negotiations: they want you and you are in the power seat. discuss benefits, vacation, work hours, start date and similar topics.
  • time off: when discussing the start date, unless you are totally strapped for money, build in some free time. you just left a difficult job, went through unemployment and a job search – one of the most stressful events in a person’s life – and you need to reward yourself with a day or so where you can take a breather. either take some time off now, before the job starts, or get a day or so right at the beginning of the first few weeks. you can tell your prospective employer that you had already booked day X and it would be difficult for you to reschedule. i’ve never seen an employer refuse that.
  • make a considered decision: unless you are 100% percent sure that you want the job and the chances of regretting it later are minute, give yourself some time. a graceful way of doing that that i have always seen work is saying something like, “thank you, this is marvellous! i have a policy of making important decisions within 24 hours. can i call you tomorrow at 10?” (by the way, that is a good policy!) if you have a feeling that this isn’t the right job, i urge you not to give in to panic and keep on looking.
  • stay alert: once you start your new job, don’t ditch your job search completely. there is a reason why the first 3-6 months are a probationary period. obviously, you won’t continue a full-fledged search – but keep your eyes open.
  • keep that resume fresh: even after the probationary period, never stop updating your resume.

why do this? of course, you want to be prepared. but more than that, doing this will remind you that you are in charge of your job and your job search. with that frame of mind, chances are you’ll never find yourself in a bad employment situation again.

(this post was included in the “i want to change my family tree” carnival)