With these four steps, you can make the most of your in-between period.
Whether you’ve just graduated college or are years into your career, you’ve probably been told to be patient. People have probably told you “Your next opportunity or job is out there, you just have to wait for it!” Most job seekers apply and apply for jobs, reminding themselves they need to be patient and that the right thing will work out at the right time.
But these job seekers come from a reactive mindset and wait for what’s next. Being patient isn’t the same as standing still. It requires work to get to your next opportunity and a proactive approach.
So how can you be patient while avoiding the wait? Here are four tips:
Identify gaps in skills and experience
Do you lack any skills you might need for what’s next? For example, your next job might require some presentations to board members. You could build on this skill in a Toastmaster’s Club or with a public speaking coach. You could even speak to students interested in a similar career path.
In some cases, it might be a side hustle or a hobby that teaches you a skill or hones in your strengths. Many times, there are ways to move forward, but oftentimes our tunnel vision makes us forget there are other options when reaching personal goals in the interim.
Pinpoint what’s making you anxious
Is something making you impatient where you are? As a good rule of thumb, you should always be working towards something instead of running away from something. Is there a way you can alleviate the anxiety in the short term, while you’re working towards your next opportunity?
You might feel like you’re standing still at work, but there are ways you’re moving forward in other aspects of your life. Focus on those wins. You have no control over how long it’ll take to get to the next role, but you do have the option to fill the space with productivity and gratitude for what you’ve achieved so far. Fill this period with something that’s a good use of your time, whether that’s self-care or a goal.
Check your rearview mirror
I’m sure you’ve had a time where waiting felt as slow as humanly possible. In hindsight, it probably wasn’t as bad as it felt like while you were in it. When I was in between two jobs, I was still applying and interviewing. The next job wasn’t set, so I spent the in-between period stressing about the uncertainty. In hindsight, I could’ve taken one of those weeks and seen family, traveled or relaxed. You’ll get through this in-between time, because you’ve done it before. Make sure you’re balancing the progress to your next step with some self-care.
Whether you’re in between jobs, waiting for the next position or even changing careers entirely, the space between deciding you need something new and starting that next endeavor can feel like forever. Take that time and fill it with direction, planful growth and relaxation so you’re ready for the next thing when the timing is right.
A scientist who writes about her daily experiences. Most are drafts but some are publicly shared, like this one you just read.