After completing treatment, there are a lot of things to consider, but one of the top priorities for many is finding a job. On top of maintaining your recovery, establishing a new residence, and developing healthy relationships with others, the search for a job can be intimidating. There are a number of real and perceived barriers you may face, and it is important to consider how they may factor in your job search. Some challenges you may have in your job search include:
- Employment gaps on your resume
- Fear of discrimination from potential employers
- Hesitancy in revealing experience with substance abuse and/or rehab
While you may feel alone and uncertain in how to handle questions about these potential hurdles, there are countless other people who have been in your situation and succeeded. Your experiences with addiction and in recovery do not need to prevent you from achieving your career aspirations.
Starting the Job Search
While you may be tempted to just start applying for any job you can find, it is important to review your resume and assess what it is you truly need in a job. Once you have spent some time updating your resume, there are some questions to consider before applying for jobs. For example, you may want to ask yourself the following:
- What have I liked or disliked about past jobs?
- Would I go back to any job I have held in the past?
- What career or field am I most interested in?
- What do I see myself doing in the future?
- What skills do I have that I can bring to a job?
Answering these questions can help you narrow down your choices early on. It is important to remember that while there are plenty of jobs you can potentially apply for, not all will be a good fit. In fact, some may be triggering and put your sobriety at risk.
Finding the Right Job in Sobriety
Looking for a job can be daunting, but any barrier you perceive can be overcome. The following tips can help you manage your expectations and confidently move forward:
- Find jobs with clear and reasonable expectations: When reading about a position, you should have a clear understanding of what they are looking for. If you are unsure or doubt something about the position, go with your gut and move on. There are plenty of other opportunities you can pursue.
- The job should provide structure: What makes recovery successful is the establishment of routines, structure, and clear expectations. Jobs that are high-stress or littered with tight deadlines can be devastating to sobriety. Find jobs that clearly outline your responsibilities and provide a stable work environment.
- Don’t be afraid to start from the bottom: Regardless of what type of work you did before entering recovery, it is important to let go of expectations and accept that you may need to start with entry-level work. There is no shame in working your way up. Finding a career in a place that provides you with ample growth opportunities can be beneficial to your continued success. You may even look for opportunities to volunteer so that you can continue developing your skills.
- Use your network: As you work through recovery, you will begin to develop new, healthy relationships with peers, sponsors, and others in the community or, perhaps in your sober living home. Do not be afraid to reach out for help. You may find job leads, references, and other opportunities in the community through these relationships. Even if it does not result in a job, every opportunity to network is another avenue to explore options in the future.
- Know your rights: While you may feel obligated to disclose your recovery status, under no circumstances are you required to share it. If you have issues such as a felony or DUI, you are required to be honest about it, but gaps in work history do not need to be disclosed. If you are not comfortable with disclosing your history or simply do not want to, you can choose an alternative path, such as saying you took time to focus on self-care. You are not required to answer questions you are uncomfortable with from potential employers.
Regardless of your history, the search for a job can be long and difficult. No matter what happens, it is important to not become discouraged and fall off track. Eventually, you will find a job that works best for you. Establishing yourself after recovery takes time, but finding a job can be a great way to establish financial independence, a sense of purpose, and accountability. In order to perform well in your work, you will need to continue maintaining your sobriety, so finding a job you love will only continue to support your growth.
If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse or depression, we are here to help. Give us a call at 310.403.1032 or send us a message below and one of our admissions counselors will do their best to get you the help you need.