Guest blog: Staying Motivated in the Pursuit of Employment

Today’s guest blog is written by Steph Cutler, who is a partially sighted trainer and coach. She supports disabled people to achieve meaningful employment and helps raise awareness of disability issues with employers. Find out more about Steph’s work here. Here are her thoughts on staying motivated in the pursuit of employment:

You’ve heard it said that looking for a job is a full time job in itself. While this is true, it is also true that it can be a de-motivating job.

You can spend hours and hours looking for vacancies, researching organisations and completing application forms. It’s therefore not surprising that it can feel like a thankless task when you are not selected for interview, don’t get offered the position or worse still, don’t hear anything at all.

Many of the disabled job seekers I work with confess they are not doing nearly enough to become employed. I totally understand how you can become demoralised and give up. It is disproportionately harder for a disabled applicant to find work, so the harsh truth is you will likely have to work a little harder so doing less is not really an option.

I found seeking work as a disabled applicant far harder than I did prior to acquiring my disability so I know first-hand how it can be a pretty soul destroying activity. However, if you are serious you need to find ways to bounce back and stay motivated. This is, in my view, the secret to job seeking success.

These are my top tips for keeping motivated when job seeking. They are based on my personal experience and the experiences of the disabled people I support into employment.

Seven Top Tips

1. Think back to when you have demonstrated motivation in the past and have got your end result. As a disabled person this may have been to simply get what you are entitled to. If you have demonstrated you can keep motivated and bounce back, you CAN do it again.

2. Recognise your feelings. For example, if you feel totally demotivated after hearing you did not get the job you really wanted, there may be little point telling yourself, “It’s OK, another job will come along”, if this is not how you are feeling. Occasionally, it may be more beneficial to say, “I am going to wallow in my misery, play miserable music and eat chocolate for today!” The essential thing is that you make a pact with yourself that tomorrow you will wake up and do something productive towards gaining employment elsewhere. Do not allow your feelings of rejection to fester.

3. Most people you consider successful will have experienced knock-backs. It can be heartening and inspiring to read about someone you consider successful and to learn how they have overcome barriers and gone on to create success. Feed your mind with messages that reinforce it is possible and you will get there.

4. When your self belief is low keep in mind what you know you are very capable of doing and tell yourself regularly, “I can…..”; “I am able to …..”; and “I am talented at …” What you tell yourself about your abilities has a significant impact on how you feel about yourself and what you go on to achieve.

5. When you have had a knock-back spend time with positive friends or family. Switch off, have fun and forget your feeling of disappointment. Do this even if you don’t feel like it and you will likely feel ready to have another go afterwards.

6. Seek advice and feedback. I know it is not always easy to receive feedback on your application but unless you ask you will never find out. It can help with future applications or to put your rejection in perspective. I remember once being disappointed not being invited for interview. When I rang for feedback I was told they couldn’t give feedback because they had nearly 200 applications. I knew that out of all those people there would be others with more relevant experience than me. When I looked at the situation objectively I knew not to believe my application was poor or that it was personal.

7. Keep in the forefront of your mind why employment is important to you. Answer the question, ‘it is important to me because…..’ I have two answers which I regularly use when needing a push. The first is that it is important to me because I want to remain financially independent and never want to call that awful benefit helpline again! The second is that it is important to me because if my nieces and nephew were to be affected by the same condition as me I want them to look at me and think it is not the end of the world. I want them to think Auntie Steph has a job she loves and still has fun. These two things are enough for me to dust myself down and have another go. The reality is that if I don’t keep going there is a real possibility I will return to benefits and will not be the good role model I want to be.

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