“Dawn” was obsessed with her ex-boss. We had trouble writing her resume and preparing for her interview because she couldn’t think or talk about her accomplishments without going into a tirade about the injustices she suffered from the old tyrant.
I sympathized, having lived through a few of those myself, thinking she could get it off her chest and settle down to focus on her job search. Not so. With each new point about what Dawn was good at or what she had accomplished for the company came another stream of anger.
“Kevin’s” job search was haunted by another ex. His former wife had ruined his business, taken his children, and would soon have him in court again to squeeze more blood out of the proverbial stone. Like Dawn, he couldn’t focus on his accomplishments or the needs of his next employer because he was preoccupied with the past.
What do you do when your biggest obstacle to employment is yourself?
Usually, the answer has something to do with forgiveness. Colin Tipping, author of Radical Forgiveness, offers a 13-step Radical Forgiveness Worksheet that helps more quickly than many other processes. It uses a cognitive approach to help us identify what we are actually feeling, recognize the source, and to reframe it so we can let it go. http://www.colintipping.com/blog/page/2/
In some cases, doing the worksheet may be enough to enable you to move on. Sometimes, it is just a start.
When that is the case, and you have the luxury of time, take it. If your current situation is tolerable, stay with it for awhile to give yourself a chance to heal or at least to calm down enough to control your thoughts and conversation.
If it is important for your health that you leave your job immediately, do it. I have seen much more damage to individuals who kept a toxic job than to those who left one.
Unfortunately, both Dawn and Kevin needed to find work quickly. When that is the case, the decisions are about what creates the least stress. Some of the choices are:
- Find an interim position or contract work to pay the bills while looking for a more desirable position.
- Continue the job search while obtaining emotional support from a therapist.
- Look into using savings, unemployment benefits, and other types of social services to tide you over while you take a break from work.
The past can have an enormous emotional impact if we continue to carry it with us. If the Radical Forgiveness Worksheet isn’t effective at helping you let go of traumatic events, don’t hesitate to ask for help from a qualified mental health professional. They offer coping techniques that can help you through the healing process faster than if you were to go it alone.
Once you feel up to continuing your job search, contact me to discuss how to proceed.