Are you living with chronic illness and looking for a job? No doubt, chronic illness makes many things more difficult and looking for a job is rarely uplifting. Do you notice that you’re feeling stale and sluggish? This might be the time to consider “sharpening” your approach.
Here are some things to consider:
- Behave like you have a job. When you’re unemployed, and particularly living with illness, it’s easy to get into a rut — sleeping late and not having a schedule. Maybe once you were someone who didn’t need a plan or to work by a clock. But illness and unemployment can mangle even our strongest traits. Create a daily schedule that you can meet and that gives you the framework you need in to focus on your job goals.
- Continually re-examine your resume and your online presence with fresh eyes to see that they match the person you are now. Chronic illness often means that you’re more limited. But for sure there are things you can do that add value to a job. Maybe you’re still that go-to, team player. Or maybe you’re independent and a self starter. Take the time on a routine basis to examine how you’re presenting yourself. Be sure the focus is squarely on what you can do rather than what you can’t.
- Take risks. Chronic illness makes even the strongest among us afraid and vulnerable. We know that our worst fears can happen. Often we’re more dependent on others to get things done. But you can’t find a job that will lead to a sense of success if you’re wrapped in fear. Ask yourself how you can push your boundaries and stretch a little further.
- Find support with your efforts. I can’t tell you the number of people who have told me they can’t spend money on career help because of their illness. I understand the fear and even guilt in putting money toward a job search or developing your career when you fear that illness will prevent you from ever getting what you want. I know I felt that way for too long a time. But if doing it alone isn’t working, ask yourself if you’re worth the investment. You have to believe that before anyone else will.
- Make your knife sharpening a daily routine. I use high quality Japanese knives because I’m a serious cook and I know that I have to take care of my tools. The knives I use require careful and precise sharpening before each use. I have to pay attention to what I’m doing or I’ll ruin the blade. If I’m inconsistent, I’ll forget when I did it last and my expensive knives will become dull and useless. How can you keep your mind, your skills and your networking that sharp?
We have to work with what we’ve got — and what we don’t have. What are you doing to maximize your tools?