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Lighten Your Schedule To Free Up Energy For Your Job Search

In a previous blog post, I described some of the challenges that job seekers face when they are already working full-time in roles they dislike. I provided some tips for scheduling job search activities outside of daytime working hours and I explained how goal-setting was essential to that scheduling process.

But what if you don’t have any energy to spare outside normal working hours? What if you are too drained by your day job to accomplish anything else, let alone search for new work?[1] Maybe you’ve already tried taking some time off here and there to look for new leads, but you still find it hard to search consistently, rather than in fits and starts. If this describes you, then be encouraged… there are better ways to find new employment even if you feel overwhelmed right now. But it will require a short-term sacrifice on your part.

What kind of sacrifice am I talking about? It is the decision to earn less income by temporarily reducing your weekly paid hours. Yes, sometimes the only way to free up energy for consistent job search activities is to ask your boss for a schedule change. This could mean an afternoon off every other week, dropping to part-time status for a short period of time, or taking an extended leave – whatever works for you.


Now, I know what you’re thinking. The prospect of reducing your hours is scary. It can also be hard on the pocket book. But focus for a moment on the benefits of doing this:

First, it will bring you an immediate sense of relief. You will feel less trapped in a job you dislike because you are actively working toward your career goals and taking charge of your situation, which makes the day-to-day grind of your current job a little more tolerable.

Second, you will be well positioned to conduct your job search. A day-time slot is ideal for attending informational meetings, networking events, and interviews – especially with hiring managers who aren’t available outside regular hours. Daytime availability also frees you up to conduct job shadows in other companies or attend courses in the fields you are interested in. Of course, you’ll need to do all of this discretely so that news of your actions does not circle back to your current employer, but needless to say, daytime job searching will open up many new opportunities for you!


With that said, I do understand that a schedule change is not a realistic option for everyone. I get that. You have bills to pay and mouths to feed. But consider the consequences of maintaining the status quo: you risk your physical and mental health by staying in a draining job. You risk the cumulative strain on your friends and family who bear the brunt of the stress you bring home with you. And you risk missing out on a fulfilling career future that is more than likely to offset the short-term pain of temporary income loss. Those are serious consequences

If you don’t find these reasons convincing, then I respect that. You know your situation much better than I do and you are in charge of your career journey. There is definitely no judgment on my end.