A dose of job search self-help and inspiration.


This is a guest post by Kate Baggott. If you’d also like to guest post here on JobMob, follow these guest post guidelines.

I’m a freelance writer, I teach on a freelance basis and I consult as a freelancer. There are times when I have too much work and times when I have almost none. The insecurity of it all is worst when life’s disasters strike. I’ve recently been ill and unable to work consistently for almost three months.

I hope it won’t be a financial disaster in the long term.

The Practical Exercises

While I was in the hospital, I was in a hurry to get home.

Unfortunately, after days of improvement, the infection values in my blood work suddenly worsened. It looked like I would have to stay in hospital for several more days.

I was worried, but I did a few practical things:

I told my roommates on the ward that I needed more rest so they would be quieter.

I drank as much water and herbal tea as I could tolerate and I asked for a sleeping pill to force my nervous mind to sleep longer.

The Impractical Exercise

I did one completely impractical exercise.

I soothed my poor, infected pancreas with compliments. I used an entire alphabet of adjectives to get the organ I’d never been aware of to do its job and heal.

“Adorable pancreas, beautiful pancreas, cute pancreas….” You get the idea.

The infection values did go down the next day and I could go home to my children and continue to get better with them.

Now, in addition to all the practical stuff, I am trying the same exercise to heal my career. This is what I came up with:

The Job Search Alphabet

A is for attraction, but not necessarily “law of.” For me, attraction means being able to see how good chance looks rather than just seeing the danger of risk. It’s a skill that applies to everything there is in life, not what we just wish upon ourselves.
B is for brink. In Canadian English we talk about being “on the brink.” It means you are leaning over the edge, peering into the freefall of making a decision to go one way, or the other. The brink is an exciting place to get scared, build courage and jump into a new life.
C is for challenge. As in, all the stuff we need to find new ways to do.
D is for dedication. All of us who are looking to heal ourselves and our careers need to take the medicine and do what we say we are going to do…no matter how difficult the pill is to swallow.
E is for ease. Not everything in this process is difficult. I will appreciate the parts of this journey that come easily so my energies will be there when difficulties to arise.
F is for friction. Staring down the loss of control has meant rubbing up against the parts of my personality that I like least. Inner conflict is good for resolving old issues before starting something new.
G is for goal. This is a good time to set a new one.
H is for history. A good time to sort it out, summarize lessons learned and to define what must be learned to prepare for the future.
I is for instinct. There is no better time to learn how to listen to the gut information that keeps us all safe.
J is for jealousy and calling it out. There is no point wasting energy on envying those we *think* might have easier or better lives.
K is for kindness. Chances are there is someone worse off who needs a little help, a little compassion and a little extra time we can all afford to give.
L is for love and the reminder that we are not in this struggle alone.
M is for making money and the dignity of work.
N is for no and remembering to say it when necessary.
O is for opportunity and learning to see it.
P is for the permission we give ourselves to try something new, different and unexpected.
Q is for questions and the courage to ask them no matter how difficult they may be to answer.
R is for rehearsals that prepare us for interviews and introductions.
S is for searching. To search implies all the romance of the quest, the adventure, discovery and the examination of all that is revealed. It’s an exciting word.
T is for time and learning to appreciate where each moment takes us.
U is for umbrella. Really. It’s the metaphor for all the tools and talents you loop over your wrist in the morning to prepare for anything that might happen. It is the instant shelter of good preparation.
V is for variety. There is always an option to try something different.
W is for wishful thinking and learning how to stay in the realm of “positive thinking” and personal integrity without heading into the dream world of wishing for lottery wins and impossible rescues.
X is for Xi. Pronounced Chi. It’s the Chinese word for the life force that flows through and around all of us all the time whether we are sick or healthy, working or unemployed. It’s a constant we can rely on.
Y is for the yield sign that provides a chance to slow down, look around and ensure safety without slamming on the breaks.
Z is for zeal. It’s not just a word for the Scrabble board. It means to act with enthusiasm, which is exactly what we all need to maintain.

I’ll let you know if the job search alphabet helps heal my career as well as the adjective alphabet helped heal my pancreas.

At least, I know it can’t hurt!

About the Author

Kate Baggott is a Canadian writer, teacher and consultant who lives in Europe. Her writing ranges from technology journalism to creative nonfiction and from experimental fiction to chick lit. Links to examples of her published work can be found at www.katebaggott.com.

This article is part of the 4th Annual JobMob Guest Blogging Contest, which was made possible thanks in large part to our Gold Sponsor, Jason Alba of JibberJobber. If you want Kate Baggott to win, share this article with your friends.

Subscribe to JobMob via RSS or email and follow me on Twitter for more job search inspiration.

Jacob Share

Job Search Expert, Professional Blogger, Creative Thinker, Community Builder with a sense of humor. I like to help people.

This Post Has 16 Comments

  1. Carlos Ysasi

    Kate, great post. Just as in everything we do, there is a complete alphabet to guide us through, which helps us stay focused and on track but most of all, to be possitive and look for the good things life has to offer. It can be a rocky road but we must strive to stay on it and attain what we aim for. Stay helathy!!

  2. Kate

    Thanks so much for the comment Carlos. I really appreciate the encouragement it has given me.

  3. Cal

    Wow, that’s fantastic! Clever, but also inspiring. Thanks for sharing it!

  4. Kate

    Thank you for taking the time to say that, Cal. I really, appreciate it.

  5. Juliane Okot Bitek

    Yesterday, I learned to say abc by way of a Spanish nursery rhyme. Now we’ve got to translate this in as many languages as we can to get the Tower of Babel shaking again. Posted by my desk for life, not just job search.

  6. Kate

    Ah, Julie, I love shaking the tower.

  7. Pingback: Sheena Ignatia

  8. Kate

    You know, the days when an article like this could get so many comments are long over! It’s a sign that both writers and readers are getting tired of “click to win” page view contests.

Leave a Reply