Searching for a job at midlife and beyond can be demoralizing. Yes, It’s hard to find a job but that doesn’t mean you can’t. Jeremy and Tiffany are two candidates with similar backgrounds and experience and have been unemployed about the same length of time. Who is operating above or below the line?
Jeremy complained to me about his lack of being able to find a job. He wasn’t clear on what he wanted. He hadn’t updated any of his career skills by investing in classes or additional learning. He blamed the job hiring process, companies, his age. And anything else he could think of. His speech was full of negativity. I’ll try ……. But…….it won’t work. I felt the negativity rolling off of him like a thick dark cloud and felt like I and anyone or anything else within a mile radius would be swallowed by it. He was also not interested in being coached or having anyone else help him with his career search.
Tiffany was also searching for a job. She had done her homework and was clear on who she was, what skills she had to offer and what gave her meaning and purpose. She also knew what she was looking for in a corporate culture. She was using the time between jobs to do volunteer work and update her skills with some online classes. She networked regularly with others in her field. She too got discouraged, but she had the support of her coach and her network. She took care of herself by exercising regularly and her willingness to ask for the support she needed. She also was willing to take responsibility for the outcome of her career search.
Whether or not you believe in the Law of Attraction or not, you have to admit you might be attracted more to one job candidate than the other. The way each candidate approached their career search was vastly different. Who on would you rather have on your team? Would you rather work with someone who is operating from above or below the line?
Above or below the line?
Jeremy was operating below the line. He was coming from a place of fear and blame. He was fearful of never having a job that was right for him or that paid enough. He used his energy to blame others instead of focusing on what he could control. This is often referred to as operating below the line or being in victim mode. He was coming from a place of fear and blame. He was fearful of never having a job that was right for him or that paid enough. The energy he used to blame others and everything he could think of kept him from focusing on what he could control. This is often referred to as operating below the line, being in victim mode or being on the drama triangle. He remained a victim at the effect of what was happening around him.
Tiffany chose to use her job search as an adventure. She took the time to explore who she was, what gave her meaning and purpose and what she most wanted both in the job description and in the career culture. She asked for the support of others including her coach to keep her moving forward as she pursued a new career. She spent her energy and her focus on self-care, improving her skills and connecting with others. She was operating above the line from a place of feeling empowered and confident. Above the line behavior is empowered action, taking responsibility for yourself and the outcome.
I’ve exaggerated Jeremy and Tiffany to make it clear which is above and below the line behavior. We generally fall above and below the line every day. The trick is to notice when we are operating below the line and shift into positive above the line behavior and actions.
Do you operate primarily from above or below the line?
I had a period in my life when I was operating primarily from below the line. The problem was I was the last one to know. I did not know there was another option. I was pickled in below the line behavior. I was angry and not very pleasant to be around. Like a fish swimming in water who is unaware that there are beings that exist outside of the water or that even being outside the water is possible. My below the line behavior to me was as natural as that fish swimming in water. My training with the Hendricks Institute included coaching certification and completion of their Leadership and Transformation program. This gave me the tools to transform my below the line to above the line behavior and the tools to empower others to do the same. Now as a coach, I support others in operating above the line. I know that if I can change, you can too.
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