Your Job Search: Why it’s so difficult to see all that you can truly be.
Posted by Molly Wendell // in Job Search
Andy showed up at our Executives Network meeting today. It seemed like his job search was headed toward life support and needed it little resuscitation. He started talking about his background. Time in the aluminum industry was followed by a few years in printing. After I heard that, I thought, “Please let him say that he spent some time in the plastics industry. Please, please, please.” It’s almost as though I channeled it, because sure enough the next words out of his mouth were, “And then I spent some time in the plastics industry.”
From there, he began talking about how difficult it was to find a job with his background because he has a limited geographic focus and those industries weren’t exactly thriving. He continued on for a little bit, but I didn’t really hear him. I was so excited for his new life I could barely contain myself. I interrupted him mid-sentence “Stop! Stop, Andy! Stop! I don’t need to hear any more. I don’t even need to hear what you think you want to do. Because I know exactly what you need to do! You are so perfectly positioned for this industry – it almost seems like you planned it from the beginning. One word: Recycling.”
Andy’s virtually the triple crown of recycling. He’s Mine That Bird and Rachel Alexandra all in one! No, I take that back. He’s Calvin Borrell!! (Hopefully this statement is still accurate on Monday!)
Andy went on to tell us that he also had a great global background. Andy, you were really interesting before, now you are the cat’s meow!! Think about recycling. Think about who’s at the forefront (hint, it’s not the U.S.!!). He could figure out what’s going on globally and bring it back to the U.S. Or, he could work for a company based in the one of the countries with the highest rates of recycling – Japan, Sweden, Switzerland or Germany – and apply the principles, techniques and technologies they use – in his own backyard. He has the unique ability to take three maybe-not-dying-but-certainly-not-thriving industries – and turn that experience into one where the opportunity will only continue to grow. Who says three wrongs don’t make a right?
This is a reminder to everyone who is trying to do their job search alone. Sometimes you are so mired in the muck that you can’t get out and see the opportunities in front of you. Sometimes, even if you are getting input from others, you’re still clinging so desperately to the past that you can’t get your arms around what could be the future.
One of the biggest values of coming to a meeting where people are focused on helping each other one by one is the different perspectives of everyone in the room. Think about what Oliver Wendell Holmes said “The mind, stretched to a new idea, never goes back to its original dimension.” Because people are from different functional area and different industries, they can come up with possibilities that you hadn’t thought of and never will. And through this personal brainstorming session about you and your job search, one person can come up with an idea – which leads to a thought from someone else – which leads to another thought… and next thing you know, your job search has new life, new energy, new possibilities.
So many people say they’re open to something different, yet they turn their nose at new ideas that might lead to new opportunities. I’m still waiting an EN Member named Mike to investigate a new industry based on his skill set in product development in the banking industry. I just know there could be something there for him. But he’s so focused waiting for the doors to reopen that just about hit him in the rear on his way out, he can’t see that they might never be unlocked for him again. And then, in six months, where is he going to be? Still on the outside looking in.
If you are in the job search and are not putting yourself in environments where people can help you brainstorm, you need to get into those. If you are in those environments, but you’re not coming up with new ideas – then perhaps you need to get out of those groups – and find new ones that will get you there. And finally, if you’re listening to other’s ideas and not at least entertaining or investigating them, you may be missing out on the biggest opportunity of all.
But, what if someone gives you an idea and it’s not something in which you have the least bit of interest? That’s okay to not investigate it. That’s okay to say it’s not your thing.
When I was looking for a job, people kept suggesting I take a look at PetSmart (I think back then, it was called PetsMart). But, I wasn’t open to that. The thing of it is, I’m not really a pet person. Granted, we had pets growing up and I loved them, and my sisters have dogs which I love and will certainly pet and play with when I’m visiting. But I won’t seek them out. Someone will pass me on the street with a dog. My friend, Wendy, will go up to the dog – hug it, pet it, make friends with it. I, on the other hand, will cross the street to avoid any possible encounter with the dog (let’s just say I got scared by a dog almost every day at an early age and bit by a dog when I was older). Anyway, the prospect of working with people who are passionate, and I mean PASSIONATE, about pets is not a great environment for me. No matter what the compensation. When people mentioned anything to do with the pet industry I said, “Thanks, but no thanks. It’s not my thing”
But if you don’t have a real aversion to it, then you owe it to yourself to check it out. You owe it to others in the room to be open to their input (at least feign some interest!). If you’re always shutting down the ideas that come forward, pretty soon, the ideas from others will stop coming. And then, you’ll be right back where you began – mired in the muck of your own search.
Show up. Be open to the possibilities. Investigate them by truly making an effort. (That means more than one phone call before you check it off the list as a dead end.) And truly breathe new life into your job search that you thought was about to flatline.