A while back I was at a conference with my wife where we heard a speaker discuss family issues. A recurring theme he talked about regarding so many things we deal with as families is that "it's hard, but it's good"!
In fact, he made some compelling arguments that many things are good because they're hard. And that if they weren't hard, they wouldn't be particularly good. It's because of the hard things we go through in life that we grow, learn, become stronger, develop character, endurance, and resilience. We don't grow much when things are going smooth, and easy and we're not challenged. Those times may be relaxing or enjoyable in some ways, however, we don't develop much in those circumstances.
The same is true in a job search. It's not a set of circumstances that anyone wants to be thrown into. It's very uncomfortable, stressful, and awkward for most people. However, it can be a time of great personal and professional development if viewed as the opportunity for growth that it is.
When most people are in a job, and things are going well, they don't put time and energy into things that may make them more successful in the future. They don't learn how to reach out to other professionals effectively, how to articulate their career objectives and the value they bring. They don't spend time building a professional network, or developing and communicating transferable skills.
When they are forced to look for a new job, most people begin that learning process at that point. Statistically, the vast majority of people will be looking for new jobs a number of times during their career. How much easier that process becomes when they already have a thriving network of professionals they can connect to. How much more effective they are when they are practiced and polished at articulating their targets, their experience, and the value they bring. How much more quickly they land in a new career when they are able to effectively communicate how their skills and experience can be useful in other industries or fields.
Most job seekers begin that learning process once they are laid-off. Those critical skills are way outside of their comfort zone because they are not what they were practicing on a daily basis. The process is very hard for most people… but it's good! It pushes them into developing skills that will be useful throughout their career.
It begins a process of building a network that will be valuable not just for their current job search, but for gaining resources that can be used in their next job, as well as a resource for their next career transition. That network will be most valuable if you are available and willing to be a resource to them in return. It begins a process of learning how to more effectively articulate their value to the marketplace which is as valuable in a job as it is in the process of looking for a job.
These things don't come easily. And they are most often learned under the stresses of unemployment when they are needed immediately. However, the process can be invaluable, not just for the immediate need, but for the rest of your life. So as you walk through your job search, and feel the "hard" part… remember that it's also very Good!