How To (Not) Talk About Your Job Search Stress During The HolidaysJ.T. O’Donnellon December 4, 2023 at 8:00 pm Work It Daily


The holidays can be really stressful for job seekers, especially for those who are between gigs right now (I won’t call it “unemployed”). It’s stressful because you’re with your family and everybody asks, “So how’s your job search going?” or “Where are you in your job search?”

Family and friends also tend to give a lot of really horrible, unsolicited advice on how to look for a job:

“Well, you should walk right in and knock on doors.””Are you sending out 100 applications a day?”

These are bad job search techniques, and yet these people likely haven’t looked for work in a while or are super old school. And while they’re trying to be well-intentioned, all they’re doing is stressing you out.

Set Boundaries With Your Family During The Holidays

So, as someone who’s been coaching people through this for many years, my advice is to be prepared to set your boundaries. When somebody asks about your job search, you can say…

“I love that you’re thinking of me. I promise you, my job search is under control. I’m taking a well-deserved day off today to celebrate with family and just want to talk about other things. But I promise you, I’m working with a career coach and all is good.

By setting boundaries, you’re shutting them down. You’re letting them know you appreciate their kind thoughts, but you’re not going there today.

It’s important for you to set boundaries with family, friends, and anyone else in your life who is bound to ask about your job search. People have to understand that they are overstepping and being inappropriate.

They always say people treat you the way you let them. So be prepared. Have that answer, rehearse it, practice it in the mirror. Make sure you’ve got a smile on your face so you don’t look angry or defensive—but shut the questions down.

If they ask you again, or they start to give you advice, or they don’t listen to you, say, “You know, I really don’t feel like talking about this right now. I’m just trying to enjoy my day.” And if they still keep talking about it, turn on your heel and walk away. We’ve got to learn to stand up for ourselves.

Good luck with your holiday job search! Go get ’em!

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