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Breaking Bad Habits: Lessons for Job Seekers

Breaking Bad Habits: Lessons for Job Seekers


s you might imagine, I have conversations all the time with folks who are seeking new career ventures. Laid off, downsized, fired, quit, aged out, closed doors, pushed out, retired and returned…you name it, we see it. It’s such a gift to help these folks at this stage in their lives and careers. Sometimes it’s a very strategic conversation about their direction, criteria, and resume. For others, it’s about their mindset and emotions. Let me tell you, it’s a traumatic experience for many folks to change jobs. It can be much like a divorce or death for some. Many—MOST—of us identify ourselves and our self-worth with our jobs.

Before I go further with this story, let me say right here: You are not your job or job title! You’re not the first to lose your job, and surely not the last. S*** (stuff) happens. Move on! You’re lucky—you’re in produce. This is a great business. Furthermore, demand exceeds supply for people in our industry. This too shall pass. Really.

The ironic thing is many of these folks devastated by job loss were not happy with the employer—usually the management and/or culture, by the way.

I digress, as usual. Let’s look at what one can do to move ahead.

TIP: We can’t often control our circumstances; we can control our perceptions, mindsets, and actions.

Success is not solely determined by skills and qualifications, but also by one’s habits and behaviors. In his insightful article, “10 Bad Habits You Must Eliminate from Your Daily Routine,” renowned author and psychologist Dr. Travis Bradberry sheds light on the detrimental impact of bad habits and provides valuable lessons
for professionals.

I read this and thought about how the lessons can be particularly beneficial for those who are job seekers, perhaps particularly for those of us who find ourselves out of a job and did not plan on it. What follows here are eight of Dr. Bradberry’s 10 lessons* job seekers may want to keep in mind as they navigate this challenging period.

Lesson 1: Self-Control Is Key to Success

Dr. Bradberry emphasizes the importance of self-control in achieving success. He reveals that self-control is twice as important as IQ in earning a high GPA. This habit holds profound implications for job seekers, emphasizing the need to develop self-control as the foundation for a healthy and productive job-seeking period.

Lesson 2: Unplug to Boost Productivity

One prevalent bad habit highlighted by Dr. Bradberry is the use of electronic devices before bed. He explains how the blue light emitted by smartphones, tablets, and computers disrupts sleep patterns, affecting both mood and productivity. This lesson serves as a valuable reminder for job seekers to establish healthy boundaries with technology, ensuring restful sleep and increased focus during job search activities.

Lesson 3: Embrace the Power of Focus

In today’s hyperconnected world, it’s easy to succumb to the temptation of multitasking and constant distractions. Dr. Bradberry introduces the concept of flow, a state of heightened productivity that results from uninterrupted focus. By resisting the urge to impulsively surf the internet or check notifications, job seekers can cultivate an environment conducive to achieving their goals and making significant progress in their job search.

Lesson 4: Nurture Meaningful Connections

While technology has made communication more accessible, it has also given rise to detrimental habits such as checking phones during conversations. Dr. Bradberry stresses the importance of immersing oneself fully in conversations, emphasizing that meaningful connections lead to more effective and enjoyable interactions. Job seekers should prioritize active listening and engagement, fostering strong relationships that can open doors to new opportunities. Do NOT look at emails or texts while speaking with employers. Be fully engaged! In fact, leave your cellphone in your car or turn it off.

Lesson 5: Say “No” to Overcommitment

Learning to say “no” is a valuable skill, as demonstrated by Dr. Bradberry’s discussion on the detrimental effects of overcommitment. He explains that difficulty in saying no leads to stress, burnout, and eroded self-control. Job seekers must prioritize their time and energy by setting boundaries, avoiding overextending themselves, and honoring existing commitments. This enables them to maintain a healthy work-life balance and preserve their ability to be both productive
and happy.

Lesson 6: Cultivate a Positive Mindset

Toxic people and negative thoughts can derail a job seeker’s progress and dampen their enthusiasm. Dr. Bradberry advises redirecting thoughts toward gratitude for positive influences in one’s life, rather than fixating on individuals who drain energy and create negativity. By focusing on the positives and surrounding oneself with supportive individuals, job seekers can maintain motivation and resilience throughout their career journeys. Life’s journey is tough enough, “drop the rocks** from your backpack,” and move on up the path!

**Anger, guilt, embarrassment, and other negative emotions which are like you taking poison and waiting for the other person to die. Move on—chances are they have!

Lesson 7: Embrace Imperfection and Take Action

Perfectionism can be paralyzing, preventing individuals from taking the necessary steps toward achieving their goals. Dr. Bradberry encourages people to overcome this barrier by recognizing that progress comes from action, even if it means starting with imperfect ideas. By understanding that perfection is an unattainable goal, individuals can unleash their potential and take meaningful steps that propel them forward in their careers.

“What we conceive and believe, we can achieve.”

Napoleon Hill

Lesson 8: Celebrate Your Uniqueness

In a world that often encourages comparison, Dr. Bradberry reminds people to resist the urge to compare themselves to others. Seeking validation from external sources can diminish one’s self worth and hinder personal growth. Instead, he encourages individuals to recognize their own accomplishments and embrace their unique qualities. By focusing on personal development and nurturing individual strengths, job seekers can carve their own path to success, fueled by self-confidence and authenticity. 

Contributing Author

Founder and President, Joe Produce Search℠. Joe Produce Search (JPS) is the Executive Search division of Joe Produce®. Joe Produce Search is comprised of experienced search consultants and produce professionals. Our placements range from middle management to C-level positions, throughout North America, covering a wide range of produce and produce-related businesses. Joe Pro Resumes is another service of Joe Produce®. Joe Pro Resumes helps you write and refine your resume to help you find the produce industry position of your dreams. We have written hundreds of resumes for many professionals in the produce business in addition to various related sectors.