Self Love in a Job Search

June 30, 2023

Two months ago or so I picked up a copy of All About Love by Bell Hooks—a not-too-long page turner about, as the title suggests, loving yourself. It’s taken me all this time to get through the first three chapters to no fault of the author’s deft, efficient prose. I suppose the topic of “self love” feels rather indulgent in days bursting with seemingly larger-looming to do’s.

Often when presented with an unexpected job search, one’s immediate reaction quite naturally is to propel as quickly as possible to the next thing. Taking time to reflect on being kind to yourself during a job search can feel frivolous. But when we do find the next job, and we show up without doing the work to heal from the trauma or pause to really reflect on what makes us happy, we can show up lesser than we’re capable of.

Thinking about what self love truly means, let alone devising ways to implement self love into a job search, can be daunting. Garnered through conversations not just with my own self but with brave job seekers stuck in a search, here are some easy-to-implement ways to incorporate a bit of self love into your journey.

Rediscovering Joy

Recently I met a very talented frontend developer who certainly didn’t anticipate that his job loss in the early spring would translate into bleak summer searching. He shared with me a few ways that helped him calmly navigate the transition while showing himself some grace:

  • Embracing a support system
  • Working with a tech stack that is genuinely exciting
  • Finding smarter ways to connect


So often we find ourselves in a daily grind of ‘having’ to do things in a certain way, whether it’s using a company-designated tool or tech stack, or having to work during specific hours of the day when we don’t really feel our best. A job search can open up new possibilities of exploring a beloved tool, task, or professional pursuit to help you rediscover joy in your daily work.

A job search can provide a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with a support system. Exploring creative, meaningful ways to reconnect to others not just for the purposes of networking but to share your story, or simply for the comfort of being around a friend or loved one can help you to reconnect and remember your value. Allowing space between yourself and your laptop by tapping into true human connection can be on the best ways to find joy and exhibit self love during a job search.

Swapping Income for Satisfaction

You may really miss the accomplishment of bringing in money—not just for the earning satisfaction but also for the simple (and important) fact that you’re providing—so how do you supplement the lack of earning with satisfaction?

Take stock of your personal evolution. Think about who you’ve become during your tenure and try to sort out what really matters to you right now. We can get stuck in a career track that can suddenly, and sometimes without warning, cause us to pause and take a look at winging it and going in a different direction. Yes, it’s scary to look toward that unknown but arming yourself with “Who you Have Become” can make staring into that void easier to visualize new possibilities.

Being Open

During a job search, you’re being forced to change because you’ve been laid off or part of a downsizing…you’re part of something that you cannot control. Our immediate reaction can be to resist the journey of being unemployed by quickly lining up meetings or launching full-tilt social media blitzes to line something up before we’ve done the work of assessing what makes sense or taking time to step away and heal from the experience.

Take a moment to pause and breathe; allow yourself the grace to transition to being open to a job search instead of resisting it. Being open to that change shifts the narrative and puts you in control. Being open to the waves of jobs that may seem out of scope or initial appeal can lead to new paths and opportunity. If a job within an industry that you never considered opens up, try and mute the immediate negative thoughts that shut down the job’s possibilities.

Shift your mind to what might be possible. Think pragmatically. Pay attention to the fringe benefits that may give you more work life balance, more health benefits, or other attributes that your ego may be preventing you from seeing clearly.

Staying True

The optics of LinkedIn can sometimes make it difficult to accept a role that doesn’t seem as “socially attractive.” Our feeds are jammed with posts boasting recently landed roles with big titles, big companies…it can feel daunting to make an update with a title or organization outside of what you originally sought or predicted.

Be true to what could make YOU happy and move with confidence in the scope of what works for YOUR life. Write down how this new job helps you, those around you, or helps you show up as a better, more balanced person and ignore the social anxiety around posting your new position to the world.

Self love gives us the treasured opportunity to remember and think about what brings us joy and reminds us of our value. Disassociating your value from salary, job title, or position rank reminds us of our importance in ways that truly matter to those around us. Tapping into our true selves in a loving way allows us to confidently show up—not just to a job search, but to our family, friends, and loved ones. Doing the work of taking stock and evaluating what truly brings you joy turns the table of control just a bit and allows you to the ability to breathe, slow down, and when you start your next job, show up just a little bit better—and we’re here to support you along the way.

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