Balancing job searching feels like walking a tightrope while juggling flaming torches!
If you ever found yourself looking for a new job, either because you need to make a change in your work life or due to unfortunate circumstances that unwillingly led you to a job search, you probably find it very challenging to maintain a healthy balance in your life with this additional responsibility weighing you down.
There are tons of advice and guidance out there around the topic of balance - anything from yoga and gratitude journaling to productivity hacks and AI job application tools. However, due to the amount of time, effort and mental exertion job searching needs, it's no wonder that it's so hard to throw in that extra ball (or flaming torch!) in the juggling act that is life.
Nevertheless, balance is the most important element of your wellbeing - it can help you prevent burnout as well as take a proactive approach towards caring for your mental health.
But to achieve balance, first you need to understand what it means to you and what it really looks like when it's effectively applied in your life, especially during the stressful period of job searching.
To help you with that, I have compiled (and debunked) a list of myths around balance that will relieve some of the pressure around "reaching the unobtainable balance standards" and offer you a fresh perspective in what balance could be like for you.
Myth 1: Balance means distributing your time equally
One common misconception about work-life balance is that it requires an equal distribution of time and energy among all life areas. In reality, balance is about setting priorities and allocating resources effectively, depending on the current circumstances.
During the job search, you will be investing more time in networking, applications, and interviews. Understanding that this intense focus is temporary and necessary can alleviate guilt about not dedicating equal time to other aspects of life.
Myth 2: Work-life balance doesn't exist if I don't have a job
You may be delaying your pursuit of balance, thinking that you must first secure a job before tending to other life areas. However, neglecting self-care, hobbies, and relationships during the job search can lead to burnout and sabotage the overall process.
Job searching will require almost the same amount of dedication and energy as working a regular job so you need balance to support you with your motivation, resilience, and wellbeing in the same way as you would while employed.
Myth 3: Achieving balance means achieving perfection
Another myth is that balance signifies achieving perfection in all areas of life simultaneously. The truth is, balance is a dynamic and ever-changing concept.
It's okay to experience fluctuations and occasional imbalances during the job search process. As long as you are mindful of your priorities and do not completely ignore any of the other areas of your life, a period of good-enough-for-now is not only acceptable but expected.
Myth 4: Finding balance is a lonely path
One of the most challenging aspects of job searching is feeling isolated - either because you're not comfortable discussing your situation with others or simply because your habits tend to change during this period making it harder to connect with your social circle. Therefore, it's easy to assume that balance is a personal responsibility that you should take on single-handedly.
In reality, seeking support from friends, family, or a career coach can make a significant difference. Sharing your journey, challenges, and victories with others can provide valuable perspectives and alleviate the emotional burden.
Myth 5: Balance should be the ultimate goal
Work-life balance is often seen as a finish line that, once crossed, leads to perpetual serenity. In truth, balance is an ongoing process of adjustments and adaptations. As you start to transition into new roles, industries, or career paths, balance strategies must evolve accordingly and you have to take your learnings with you every step of the way.
By busting these common myths and embracing the reality of balance during the job search will hopefully empower you to navigate this transformative period with grace, self-compassion, and resilience. And don't forget, it is never a bad idea to ask for help if you need it - sometimes calling in for reinforcements is the best strategy for winning.