Find Your Dream Job, Episode 178:
How to Remain Positive When You’re Unemployed, with Kali Rogers
Airdate: February 13, 2019
Hi! Mac from Mac’s List here.
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Now let’s start the show!
This is Find Your Dream Job, the podcast that helps you get hired, have the career you want, and make a difference in life.
I’m Mac Prichard, your host. I’m also the founder of Mac’s List, a job board that helps professionals find fulfilling careers in the Pacific Northwest.
I believe that lifelong learning is the key to a successful career. And to get a better job, you need to learn job-hunting skills that will help you find the role of your dreams.
That’s why we’re here today. Every week on Find Your Dream Job, I interview a different career expert. We discuss the tools and tactics you need to find the work you want.
This week, I’m talking to Kali Rogers about how to remain positive when you’re unemployed.
Kali Rogers is an expert in helping women grow self-confidence. Many of her clients come to her after losing a job.
Kali says you need to stay positive when you’re out of work. One way to do this is to remain curious. Treat your job hunt like a research project. And as you learn more about your field, opportunities will start to come your way.
In our conversation, Kali warns against being a fortune teller when job hunting. You can’t predict what a hiring manager will think, she says. So don’t rule out applying for jobs for which you don’t have 100% of the qualifications.
Kalie also encourages you to tell others when you’re out of work. If people don’t know you’re looking, they won’t tell you about job openings.
Want to learn more? Listen in now at the Mac’s List studio as I interview Kali Rogers about how to stay positive when you’re unemployed.
Kali Rogers is the founder of Blush Online Life Coaching.
Kali helps women grow self-confidence, get over nasty breakups, and work on better relationships. She’s also the author of Conquering Your Quarter-Life Crisis.
Kali joins us today from Hollywood, California.
Kali, thanks for being on the show.
Mac, thanks so much for having me.
Well, it’s a pleasure, and our topic today is about unemployment and how to stay positive when we’re out of work. Kali, it’s not surprising that people get discouraged when they’re out of work, is it?
No, not at all. It’s completely normal, but we have to make sure that you balance those normal feelings with self-sabotage. Trying not to get ahead of yourself and make sure that you’re not totally down in the dumps the entire process.
Well, let’s talk about the factors that can contribute to a person’s state of mind when they’re out of work. What should people be paying attention to?
Yeah, I think when people start identifying themselves through their work, meaning, “If I don’t have a job, then I’m nothing.” That’s when you can start slipping into really dangerous thought patterns and it can definitely prevent you from future employment. If your entire self worth is tied up into a paycheck.
That’s when you start going after things that aren’t suited for you, you might botch an interview because you’re just putting too much pressure on it, so it’s really about compartmentalizing and understanding that you still have worth even if something happened in your career that you weren’t planning on.
Well, let’s talk about how to do this, Kali, because as you say, you’re under a lot of pressure when you’re out of work. You’re thinking perhaps about finances and how you get that next position, and you do want to put your best foot forward because employers do pick up on the signals that you’re sending.
How do you work with the people that you serve? How do you help them stay positive when they’re unemployed?
Obviously, I don’t want to ignore the basics. Like you mentioned, there are bills that need to be paid. If you have a mortgage or rent, I understand that that is so primal and it needs to be fixed immediately. If you don’t have those basic needs being served, then it is really hard to stay positive.
Usually, the first step will be, how can you make the bare minimum right now? Just with the nature of technology and all of these amazing startups and the gig economy, there are so many opportunities that most people can access that will at least get them by for the next month or two. Of course, if people have a savings account, we can go over how to appropriately budget, but that’s the first step I normally take. Just so that spiraling thought process of, “Oh my gosh, I’m going to have to move back home with my parents,” or, “What are my kids going to do?” Or whatever is on your mind can at least be silenced so that we can really start doing the work.
Once you get those basics; you pay attention to your finances, maybe you’ve taken a temporary job with a staffing agency, or you’re doing some contractor gig work. What do you do next, Kali?
Step one is normally to figure out, what happened and how did we end up unemployed? Is it because there’s some sort of a mismatch between your previous career and your values? It’s really thinking about, what is it that you’re good at, what is it that you enjoy, and how do we set you up for that?
Just matching values with work is so important and that was something that really came out of, I think it was World War II, way back in the day. It was all about this thought process, “It’s okay to enjoy work. It’s okay to have a career that you actually love.” A lot of times, when you can get those in sync, you have way more success because going to work isn’t a chore, you feel happier, you get along with people better, and of course that’s the dream but that’s where I like to start so that we can at least be on the right path because there are so many other options to make money in the meantime. At least that bare minimum, let’s get it right.
Let’s not just jump into the next thing because you’re desperate, let’s make sure we set something up that you actually really want to do.
How is that going to help you when you’re doing a search, filling in the applications, or identifying vacancies, stay positive and upbeat.
Yeah, one, if you’re excited about what you’re seeing, then all of a sudden, you think about the potential. Whereas if you’re not excited about what you’re applying for, you’re just going to get waved right back into that negative mindset. You’re going to be thinking to yourself, “I cannot believe I’m back here. I don’t even want to be doing this. This is just going to happen all over again. I feel like I’m a gerbil on one of those wheels, just literally spinning my wheels out.” That’s the perfect recipe to be negative and to really not make the best of this opportunity that’s been given to you.
I think people who look at it as an opportunity, people who look at it as, “This is a chance for me to do something I actually want to do.” Those are the people who end up being successful later.
Those who say, “Here we are. Right back again. It’s the same cycle all over again.” Well, I can almost guarantee you that it is going to happen again because that’s your mindset.
What do you say to those listeners who might say to you, “Kali, hey, I’ve got my game face on? I’m a professional. It may not be the job of my dreams, I might not even be excited about it, but I’ve got to pay my bills so I’ll go through the motions and I’m a professional enough that I’ll be able to fool the hiring manager and they won’t pick up on negative signals.”
You know what? I’m never going to argue with someone who’s got an interview and gets a job because that’s great. I’m going to encourage them to not give up, and what I mean by that is, it’s okay to do something in the interim. That’s fine, and maybe that interim job is actually a job that other people would kill for.
Maybe you’re someone who’s been doing sales for a while and so you find another sales gig, and while, technically, you still feel unemployed because it’s not what you want, it’s paying the bills, that’s great. That’s our starting point to figuring out, how do we pivot? How do we find something in sales that you really like or why don’t we just abandon it all together and find something else?
I know that so many people have different journeys and they’re not all going to look the same and that’s why sometimes coaching is so interesting, because I’ll have a foundation of what I normally do and someone will present themselves and I’m like, “Oh, this actually doesn’t quite look the way that I thought it was going to, so I’m going to let you lead but I’m not going to let you give up. I’m going to make sure that you don’t go right back into those same thought patterns beforehand because this is going to continue to happen. That is the only thing I can guarantee.
As people do explore different opportunities in a search, how can being curious help them? Particularly with their state of mind.
I think that if you sit there and you don’t limit yourself, that’s what I see all the time is that, you know, they have a certain talent, they’re generally interested in something, say, maybe politics or entertainment, whatever it might be, and instead of being curious they actually just shut the thought down because they think, “Oh, I’m not qualified.” “Oh, I don’t have the experience.” “Oh, that’s just dreamland; you can’t actually like your job.” That’s when those avenues are just immediately shut down and so I think staying curious has the potential to get people excited because then all of a sudden, they feel like they’re 18 again and the world is their oyster and they can go out and do whatever they want.
The thing about it is, I think when we were younger, we were taught that so many jobs fit in a box, so maybe you get to know your particular industry and after that you realize there are so many different nooks and crannies that you can elevate within, but then you leave that industry or you leave that niche and you realize, “Okay, all I know is what I was taught when I was younger. I know teacher, I know lawyer, I know doctor, and those make sense to me, those schemas are what I grew up learning. I have no idea what else there is in education. Or what else there is in health care.”
But of course, there’s so much more there and if you’re curious and allow yourself to snoop around and do some research and talk to people, I can almost guarantee you that you’re going to find something within that particular niche that you actually do have experience in. Or that you actually are well suited for. You just didn’t know it existed and it’s really tough to go apply for that job if you don’t know what they are.
That’s what curiosity can bring you.
So it can help you discover new opportunities maybe jobs that were hiding in plain sight that you just didn’t see. It also helps, I think you touched on this, Kali, with your energy and that sends a positive signal to hiring managers, doesn’t it?
Oh, absolutely. I think people forget that hiring managers want someone who’s energized about what they’re doing and so if you don’t go into an interview, and you’re not optimistic and well researched, and you know exactly what you’re talking about and you can quote the company’s missions statement or even the department’s changes that have been going on recently. That information is not easy to find and you’re only going to find it if you’re curious and curiosity is what’s going to shine through those interviews because curiosity, a lot of times, translates to enthusiasm. Again, that’s what hiring managers want.
They want to bring someone in that is so psyched to be there because to them, that’s an investment. Turnover is what costs companies so much money, and so they don’t want to hire someone that’s reluctant. That’s like, “Oh yeah, I’ve done this a million times before. I guess I’ll do it again.” That’s not fun, that’s not exciting, they want someone who comes in and is like, “I have gone down the rabbit hole on the internet researching about this particular department in this particular company and I’m am so excited about it.”
A hiring manager is going to be like, “Yep, that’s who we want. That’s it.”
Okay, well, I love your energy as you talk about this topic and I can see how it creates a positive connection.
I want to talk more, but we’re going to take a break, Kali. When we come back, we’ll talk more about how it’s important to have a positive mindset during unemployment.
Stay with us.
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Now, let’s get back to the show.
We’re back in the Mac’s List studio. I’m talking with Kali Rogers. She’s the author of the new book, “Conquering Your Quarter-Life Crisis.” She’s a life coach for female millennials. She joins us today from Hollywood, California.
Now, Kali, before the break, we were talking about how curiosity and the research that it leads you to do can lead also to excitement and energy, and how positive that can be, particularly with hiring managers.
I want to go back to a point that you touched on in the first segment, which is how sometimes we get down on ourselves and we can be our own worst critics when we’re looking for work and sometimes we talk ourselves out of opportunities, don’t we?
Oh, all the time. All the time. If I had a dime for every single time a client came to me and said, “Well, yeah, that job looks amazing.” Or, “Yeah, that opportunity totally speaks to me. But they want XYZ.” And my response to them is, “Well, of course, they want ten years of experience. Why wouldn’t they want ten years of experience? Everyone wants ten years of experience but what you don’t realize is hiring managers know that they’re not going to find the unicorn that they put out there.
Sometimes they do but sometimes they don’t. What they’re really looking for is someone with enough experience. Someone with enough enthusiasm, and frankly, it’s their job to decide if you’re qualified. It’s not your job, you’re not the hiring manager, so you might as well throw your name in the mix. You really don’t lose much of anything just by putting yourself out there. And maybe you don’t hear back, but then you’re right back where you started. You didn’t lose anything.”
When people are considering applying for a position and it asks for a list of qualifications, do you have a recommendation for your clients, where there’s a kind of cut-off if you don’t have 50% or say 40%? I don’t know what the number might be, Kali, but a point where you just have to meet a minimum.
I normally look at things as can it be taught? Is there something on there that you aren’t meeting because you just simply haven’t learned it yet? If that’s the case, then go on and apply because you can fix that before the interview starts.
Proficiencies, things like you have to be well versed in this software or this organization system; that to me isn’t a red flag because so much of that, you can buy a course on the internet for $15 and become a pro before the interview.
Other things, you know, like you need to have had this specific experience with this specific title, that sometimes is a no go, but it just depends. I mean, every job qualification is different and, just in my experience, I know that so many things on here you actually have more control of than you realize.
I take it on a case by case basis, and again, most of the time these job applications don’t take a ton of effort. You already have a cover letter written, you already have a resume ready to go, you just have to edit a few things, and then why not just give it a shot? If it doesn’t work out, again, it’s okay, you hopefully put a bunch of other seeds out there.
Getting a job is really just a numbers game. The more you increase your numbers, meaning the more jobs you apply for, the better chance you have of getting one.
What’s your best advice, Kali, about managing expectations? Because every time we send out an application we’re thinking, “I’m interested in that. That might be my dream job.”
What do you say to people when they either don’t hear back or they get a rejection letter? How can they just manage the disappointment along the way?
I like to tell clients to work with the abundance theory, which is basically that there’s room for everyone. It’s the same thought process as there’s plenty of fish in the sea, and I know it’s just a figure of speech, but when you really do zoom out and realize, okay, yes, that seems like your perfect job but there are lots of jobs very similar to that. This is just the one that happened to be opened right now that you happened to see on LinkedIn or on Indeed but that does not mean it is the only one out there.
It’s okay if you don’t hear back. It’s okay if you don’t get an interview or maybe you get an interview and didn’t get it. It’s all practice, and again, the more that you get in the habit of putting yourself out there and the more you actually get rejected, over time the less and less it stings. You’re used to it and that is part of the process. That is how corporate America works for the most part.
You are going to get rejected, you are going to feel deflated after applying and not hearing back, but it only takes one, just one person to say yes, so you have to increase your chances and just take it with a grain of salt every time you don’t hear back.
I want to go back to a subject we touched on a moment ago which is when considering whether or not to apply to a position, there’s research out there and I know that you’re familiar with it, that says that men are more likely to apply for jobs for which they might have 60% or 70% of the qualifications, and women sometimes, they set a much higher standard for themselves. They might think they have to have 90% or even 100% of the qualifications.
Can you talk about that and why that’s important when you’re trying to remain positive when you’re out of work?
Yeah, I think that women a lot of times, and I’ve seen this, they take themselves out of the game way too soon, really, before it’s even started. And sometimes it’s a self-defense mechanism but a lot of times it’s out of being polite. They don’t want to waste anyone’s time. They’re not thinking about themselves, they’re thinking about the company that’s receiving the resume and thinking, “Oh, I really don’t want someone to roll their eyes or sigh and be like, ‘Oh, this sweet girl, she thinks that she’s qualified but she’s not.’” That is so not the mentality that you need to have.
Instead, women have to empower themselves to say, “Okay, maybe I don’t meet everything, but I’m great and if I can get myself in the room, they’re going to change their mind about me and that’s all I need.”
The real way to get yourself ahead in these situations, and we kind of talked about what happens when you’re really amped up for a job and this is the one you want, my biggest advice is to use your network. Is to go and see, do you know someone who works at that company? Do you know anybody who has some connection there? How can you put a face to your application? How can you get other people to vouch for you? Because that’s going to be the most effective way to get you in the door.
That’s what a lot of women need. They just need that confidence to be able to put their name out there and to get an interview because so many times women are very qualified for things but the idea of wasting someone else’s time just irks them to their core.
What’s your number one tip, Kali, to get that confidence to send in that application? What have you seen work with your clients?
A lot of times, to be completely frank, I do work with a lot of women, of course, and I ask one question. I say, “What do you think a man would do?” And without hesitation, they say, “Oh, he’d apply. A man would apply. He would have already applied. He wouldn’t be talking to you about this.” And I’m like, “Yeah, I think you just answered your own question.”
If a man would apply, then why aren’t you? I don’t know what it is. I ask myself this sometimes as well, but there’s just this stereotype that men have an inflated sense of self-confidence, which I don’t even think is a bad thing, I think it’s great. That’s why they get so many opportunities but women need to do that for themselves as well, and when we ask ourselves, “Well, other people are doing it and they have permission. Why don’t I?” And the reality is, they do. We all just have to continue to take advantage of it because that’s how we’re going to get more representation in the workplace.
Two final questions for you. First, let’s talk about, sometimes people are reluctant to talk about being out of work. Why do you think it’s important, Kali, for people to tell others that they’re looking for work?
It’s so important and to be honest, Mac, this is the hardest part. I know that being unemployed feels so shameful, and people just feel so embarrassed about not having a job, and we even have little phrases that we use.
“We’re in between gigs right now.” Or, “We’re taking a beat.” I’ve heard lots of ways to beat around the bush of saying, “I don’t have a job right now.” But it’s so important to come out and say, “I’m looking. I’m actively looking for employment.” Because so many times someone will respond and say, “Oh, that’s interesting. My buddy’s company is hiring and they actually need someone kind of like you. Why don’t you shoot me a resume.”
People do like to help other people. It makes us feel important. When I know of a job opening somewhere for a friend and I meet someone who I think would be a good fit, that makes me look good. That makes me feel good when I can connect them because sometimes, who knows, I might even get a finders fee out of it.
You never know how much someone else is motivated to help you but if they don’t know that you’re looking then they can’t help. They’re not mind readers and they’re going to assume that you’re taking care of it and that you’re happy where you are. So let your network work for you. That’s what they’re there for. They’re here to help but you have to tell them and move past that shame and embarrassment because who knows, your next job might be just around the corner if you mention it.
Finally, I know you’re a big fan of volunteering during a job search. How can that help both with the search and with staying positive during that time of unemployment?
Well, first of all, helping other people just makes you feel good. It develops self-confidence, it makes you feel like you have purpose, and a lot of not having a job, it does take away your sense of purpose to a certain extent. Volunteering helps build that back up.
Second, it gives you a trial run over something that you’re interested in. If you want to work with animals, then it’s a great idea to go volunteer at an animal shelter to see if doing this every day would bring you pleasure.
The third thing is that nonprofits have employees. They do hire people and a lot of times you have to know people within the organization in order to get hired, so volunteering can actually turn into a full-time job easily if you let it.
Fourth, and this is probably the most important thing, it gets you out of the house. It gets you moving around. You’re not spending money, you’re working. Maybe you’re not making money doing it but at least you’re doing something and again, it just quenches that sense of inertia that you have whenever you are unemployed and you kind of get into a funk. It really does help you get moving again.
Terrific. Well, Kali, tell us, what’s next for you?
Well, I did write a book and I really hope that everyone likes it. I do focus a lot on, just career satisfaction, unemployment because this does plague not only millennials but people of all ages. That’s what I’m really excited to share with you guys today.
Kali, thanks for being on the show today.
Thanks, Mac. It was so much fun.
It’s been a pleasure. Take care.
That was an unbeatable combination of energy and content. I love the enthusiasm that Kali brought to this topic, and her ideas were just so spot on. Three really stood out for me.
First, was the importance of getting your financial house in order. Paying attention to your bills, arranging for part-time income, perhaps by taking on contracts or working in a staffing agency. When you do that it’s going to help so much with your peace of mind to know that your finances are in order.
The second thing that stood out was her suggestion about volunteering. I can speak from personal experience here, I’ve been out of work twice in my career and each time I volunteered. It made such a world of difference to get out of the house and contribute and make a difference, and, frankly, it was good for the state of mind, too.
Finally, I liked her point about the importance of telling others that you’re looking for work and what you’re looking for. You need, not only, to do that in person but you need to do it online too.
I’ve got a new course that can help you do that. It’s called How to Wow and Woo Employers Online.
It shows you how to tell your story when you’re looking for work in a compelling way.
You can get it today. It’s free.
Go to macslist.org/wow
Well, thanks for listening to this week’s episode of Find Your Dream Job.
Please join us next Wednesday when our guest expert will be Michelle Neal. She’ll explain why interviewing is a two-way street
Until next time, thanks for letting us help you find your dream job.