How tough can a job search really be?
Posted by Molly Wendell // in Job Search
I had a conversation with someone who’s in the job search today. Recruiters are giving her all kinds of bad advice – telling her that her past 15 years’ experience owning her own successful business is not useful to companies. She’s trying to dumb down her skill set to match the job postings that are out there. And even still, she’s getting no response from this great job search tool called the internet. Last week, she just heard back that she was too overqualified for a position in which she applied. And now, she doesn’t know what to do.
Here’s what you should do! Quit listening to people who have nothing good to say. Quit reading the news that tries to sensationalize how bad it is out there – even the job search jokes that are really not all that funny. Quit believing that you’ll never find a job.
Sometimes this job search thing can be really tough. I mean really tough. Sometimes you break down. Sometimes you cry. When will it end? I really need a job. I mean I have to find something…and I have to find it quick. I’m running out of money.
But what if you don’t find something quick? What happens then? What happens when you go months longer than expected in a job search? What happens when you go years longer than expected in a job search? Then what?
I’ll tell you what happens. You’re still going to wake up each day, and you’re going to get out of bed. And you’re going to know that you once had it good, and you will again. And you’re going to make today the best day ever because you’ve got a new attitude. You’ve got nothing but opportunity ahead of you. And it’s out there waiting for you…if only you would get a little bit creative.
I remember in the second year of my job search, I was volunteering on a political campaign. If my candidate won, I was going to Washington to work on his staff. I’d given my waking hours to that campaign with the hopes of creating a job for myself. I put all my eggs in one basket, and I was watching that basket closely!
About a week before the election, I was at an Executives Network meeting. When it came to my turn, I announced that if my candidate didn’t win, I just didn’t know what I was going to do. I mean, I had no other opportunities, no other options, no other ideas. Nothing. As I was sharing this grim outlook with everyone, my voice started to shake. Tears started forming in my eyes. I kept telling myself don’t cry, don’t cry, don’t cry. I don’t remember if I caught that single tear before it traveled down my cheek. But what I do remember was how quickly everyone in the room was there to offer support, ideas, advice, contacts, hope. I realized that day that I was probably not the only one having a tough time. I realized that others get tired, frustrated, lonely and depressed. But there was something greater in all of this. I realized then that it’s the people who are going through the same situation, the job search – in a tough economy, that are going to stick with you for the rest of your life.
One week later, my candidate didn’t win. I didn’t go to Washington. And while I was coming to grips with the fact that I should’ve been putting all my eggs in many baskets…I worked with what I had. I came up with an idea based on someone I met during the campaign.
Within 30 days, I had four interviews for four completely different opportunities. And it put me on a path to a new career. As it turned out, the person I met on the campaign was instrumental in me landing the position I eventually got.
They say it’s darkest just before dawn. Sometimes you have to get to a really low point in order to think creatively. When everything’s going great, it’s hard to be innovative. With limited resources, limited time, limited money, you’re more likely to come up with the real breakthrough thinking.
Perhaps, though, you have some lessons you’re supposed to learn in life. Perhaps you need to go through the struggles to better understand what others are going through – or appreciate what you had – and will have again. Perhaps, as a CFO, you can now appreciate the fact that getting rid of a big line item (as in people) doesn’t necessarily make the business healthier, but it sure is easy to do. And maybe you’ll think twice about how you “manage” the financials of the business. Perhaps you’re in Human Resources, and you need to see how people who are in the job search sometimes get treated by HR…and you need to never be like that again!
If your job search is taking longer. If it’s harder than you thought it would be. If the opportunities aren’t coming to you like they used to. It’s time to get serious about your search. It’s time to get serious about yourself. It’s time to take a long, hard look at who you are, and what you’re doing. It’s time to listen to others (who bring positive advice to the table). It’s time to be open to new approaches. It’s time to be open to new ideas of what your life might be. It’s time to embrace the fact that you’re in a position to figure out what you want to do with the rest of your life (or at least the next 3-5 years). Because the right thing is out there for you. You just may have some work to do before you’re in a position to find the right position!