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Job Search Drudgery

I really enjoy reading a marketing/life change artist blog by a guy named Seth Godin.  Seth has a very unique way of telling a great story that gets into the deepest parts of your psyche.  His blog post today is about change and want to repost it here for you:

Extending the narrative 

Did you wake up fresh today, a new start, a blank slate with resources and opportunities… or is today yet another day of living out the narrative you’ve been engaged in for years?

For all of us, it’s the latter. We maintain our worldview, our biases, our grudges and our affections. We nurse our grudges and see the very same person (and situation) in the mirror today that we did yesterday. We may have a tiny break, a bit of freshness, but no, there’s no complete fresh start available to us.

Marketers have been using this persistence to their advantage forever. They sell us a car or a trip or a service that fits the story we tell ourselves. I don’t buy it because it’s the right thing for everyone, I buy it because it’s right for me, the us I invented, the I that’s part of the story I’ve been telling myself for a long time.

The socialite walks into the ski shop and buys a $3000 ski jacket she’ll wear once. Why? Not because she’ll stay warmer in it more than a different jacket, but because that’s what someone like her does. It’s part of her story. In fact, it’s easier for her to buy the jacket than it is to change her story.

If you went to bed as a loyal company man or an impatient entrepreneur or as the put-upon retiree or the lady who lunches, chances are you woke up that way as well. Which is certainly safe and easy and consistent and non-confusing. But is it helping?

We dismiss the mid-life crisis as an aberration to be avoided or ridiculed, as a dangerous blip in a consistent narrative. But what if we had them all the time? What if we took the resources and trust and momentum that helps us but decided to let the other stuff go?

It’s painful to even consider giving up the narrative we use to navigate our life. We vividly remember the last time we made an investment that didn’t match our self-story, or the last time we went to the ‘wrong’ restaurant or acted the ‘wrong’ way in a sales call. No, that’s too risky, especially now, in this economy.

So we play it safe and go back to our story.

The truth though, is that doing what you’ve been doing is going to get you what you’ve been getting. If the narrative is getting in the way, if the archetypes you’ve been modeling and the worldview you’ve been nursing no longer match the culture, the economy or your goals, something’s got to give.

When decisions roll around–from what to have for breakfast, to whether or not to make that investment to what TV show (or none) to watch on TV tonight, the question to ask is: Is this a reflex that’s part of my long-told story, or is this actually a good decision? When patterns in engagments with the people around you become well-worn and ineffective, are they persistent because they have to be, or because the story demands it?

Let’s Get Started!

Jeff

A Career, A Job

Do you look at your work as a career or a job?  Do you enjoy the work you do?  Do you make enough money doing it?  Are you heading in the right direction with your working life?  These questions can seem big and ominous at first glance but can really be simple.  A career is something you build on over time.  It starts early in your life as you explore what you like and don’t like.  You pick things you like and shy away from things you don’t like.  This starts early in life and continues to right now whether you know it or not.

A job is typically thought of as what you do in more of the current state of being.  That is, it is what defines your current working life; the job you do now or are “qualified” to do.  It is part of your overall career but not what necessarily defines your career.  A job might be just something to keep the lights on, pay the bills or it could be a chance to _____ .  Fill in the blank with “make more money” or “to help people” or “continue with my life’s mission”.  Whatever you view your current long-term career goals as, your job is helping fulfill it. 

Every job typically has room to grow.  If you start at a lower rung or pay grade that might be ok.  I have taken a job before at a lower pay grade and very little responsibility.  Over time (two and a half years) I was able to more than doubled my salary because I proved more valuable to the company than they previously expected.  I took a chance on a situation where I would have to struggle a little personally and financially.  I was exploring a skill set I had not ever explored before; managing people.  This proved to be one of the better overall career moves I have made even though the initial job wasn’t what I wanted to be doing.  I took a chance that things would pan out and they did.

Whether you are in a job you love or hate, heading down a career path that is not completely defined or still trying to figure out what to do when you grow up, that is ok.  Keep your eyes open for a job that will help enhance your career over the long-term.  Don’t be scared.  Don’t be shy.  And if you are, figure out why.

Let’s Get Started!

Jeff

Winners Ask For Help

How many winners out there do you think ask for help?  I would say the chances are 100% of them ask for help.  Winners are typically people who know how to learn a system and work within that system to success.  They understand the politics that surround it along with the ups and downs.  They can spot other winners and losers who are in the same system.

So why do I say they ask for help?  The main reason I know winners ask for help is because they many times also know their limitations.  Everyone has limitations or things they are not good at or want to be good at.  No one can be good at everything.  No one has all the answers or can juggle all the balls.  Winners know what they should and should not do.

So how does this apply to job searching.  In order to make your job search go quicker you are going to need some help.  You are going to have to get comfortable asking for help or assistance.  You are going to have to put yourself out there and make the best of any situation you get in the middle of.  Those who work alone typically don’t get too far.  They get caught in the same ole routine.  When they start spinning their wheels, they don’t know what to do because they don’t have any help.

If you are spinning your wheels in your job search, go get some help.  Now!

Let’s Get Started!

Jeff

Job Search Recipe

Is there a recipe for an effective job search?  The answer to this question is both yes and no.  It can be complicated but I will try to summarize it into short principles.  A typical recipe includes measurements of ingredients.  Put them all together and “cook” and you get a wonderful dish…right?  How many of you cook?  If you are a good cook (or at least people think you are) does everything always turn out the way you think it will?  Sometimes yes and sometimes no.

But to say that every recipe will give the same result if used by any skilled cook is kind of foolish thinking.  I could find 10 different people who have different cooking skills.  Give them the same recipe and see what happens.  The results will be different I promise.  One might add something extra to it to make it what they prefer.  Another might follow it to a T and make a mistake.  Another might not even use that recipe and find one they like better.  There are all types of cooks and those who are skilled at cooking.

This cooking example resembles the job search experience.  There are main ingredients to a recipe and job searching which you need.  There are optional ones if you are experienced.  And there are multiple skill levels involved in how to job search.  You must practice job searching in order to get better at it just like cooking.  Practice one technique and see how it works for you.  If its effective, then duplicate it until you are blue in the face.  If it doesn’t work then try another one or tweak the first one until it works.  You will find the recipe that works for you but it might not come naturally. 

Get started practicing today.  Don’t delay.

Let’s Get Started!

Jeff

My Job Sucks

Does your job suck?  What does that really mean?  Are you frustrated because you have a tough boss or one who is a jerk?  Do you not like the work you do?  Are you having a tough personal life? 

There are lots of reasons people say things like this.  When you use the word “sucks” it typically means something is not right and needs to be fixed.  When those feelings creep up, it is important not to push them aside or ignore them.  It typically means you need to find a way to make a change.  That change can come in many different forms.  You can move to another area in the company, find another similar type of job or go in a completely different direction.

Job that sucks

This Job Sucks

What I caution you is make sure you don’t just say “My job sucks” and want to throw it all away.  That type of decision is emotional and will come back to haunt you when you get into another pot. 

A rule I live by is never make big decisions (quitting your job kind) when you are too high or too low.  I don’t mean drugs but emotionally.  Wait until the dust settles and think about a logical next step.  I have left jobs that sucked and regretted it later. 

Job that really stinks/sucks

Another job that sucks

Let’s Get Started!

Jeff

Help Getting A Job

First of all you don’t technically need help getting a job.  Getting a job is no easy task but you can get one.  People and companies who provide help to you actually don’t truly help you get the job.  They are just specialists in providing a service.  There is NO ONE out there that can actually do the work for you and get you a job.  It is a solo flight.  An adventure you have to control from start to finish.  People who help you can give you advice or help you write a resume or show you job postings or whatever.  At the end of it all it is up to You, you, and you!

Now we got that out-of-the-way let’s explore how to help you.  Helping you means you need to let someone know what you need help with.  Here are three guidelines when determining what help you need:

1. Figure out what you are good at first – this will help you decide what you don’t need help with in getting a job.  Everyone is good at something in the job search process.  Maybe you are good with people so interviews or networking doesn’t bother you.  Maybe you are good at writing so maybe resume prep is easy.

2. Figure out where you are getting stuck – you cannot just say I can’t find a job and that is where you are getting stuck.  Get specific.  Figure out what is troubling you the most and try to find a way to fix it.  Maybe you need help.  Maybe you don’t.  You be the judge of it after you figure out what specific thing you need help with.

3. If you don’t guide the “helper” they will be lost with you – unfortunately the helper may be more of a problem than a solution if you don’t give them some specific guidance.  If you feel like you need some type of help but cannot put your finger on it, your helper will only be guessing.  You don’t want that from them. 

I once said to my wife:  “I need a consultant to help me do a better job as a marketing director”.  She asked around, found me someone excellent to sit down with me and we met.  After we got to know each other a little, he asked the golden question:  “What do you need help with?”  I started to fumble my words a little trying to verbally say what I was feeling or needing or thinking I needed.  Once our meeting was over I wrestled with that question for many days.  At the end I realized I didn’t need general help with marketing, I needed help with a specific program’s launch plan.  I realized I was doing a great job at my job and the feelings I had about needing help were not defined.  Once I defined them, the help I sought was ready, willing and able.

Know what you need before you go searching for help.  It will make all the difference in the world.

Let’s Get Started!

Jeff

Careers That Help People

Should you pick from careers that help people or go for the money?  Many people struggle with this as they consider their career options.  Throughout the years I have noticed that careers that help people tend to pay a little less than other careers.  It doesn’t mean they are less valuable at all.  Some examples include teachers, social workers, and ministers.  All are very nobel professions.

I believe at the end of the day (or your life) you will have spent about 186,000 hours in your career.  No matter if you are a stay at home mom, a sales person, an executive or anyone in between.  That is a lot of hours.  What makes you happy?  What makes you jazzed about getting going every day.  Some might say the money.  Some might say helping people.  I like to ask the age old question:  “If the money didn’t matter, what would you be doing?”  This question really gets at the heart of the struggle.

Now maybe you think money is a hollow goal or not worthy of being a part of this discussion.  You may also think money is very important to allowing you to do what you want to do.  Both are pretty good points if you look at it though those eyes.  I truly believe everyone has “gifts” or things that they like to do or come easy to them. Helping people might be easy for you.  Then go for it.  Find and take the job that helps people.

List what you are good at.  List what you like.  List what you want to explore next.  rank these lists from top to bottom.  Then pick the top one or two on each list and create a job using them.  This activity works for everyone if you are open enough in your mind.  Be open and if finding careers that help people is important to you, then go for it.  You will work hard to find the money to support it.

Let’s Get Started!

Jeff

Marathon Job Search – Crash Through The Wall When You Get To It.

Job Search Funny

Not this "hit the wall"

Job Search = Marathon.  I read a comment on a Financial Times blog today comparing a job search with a marathon.  Wow what a great comparison.  If you have ever run a marathon you will definitely know what I mean.  Running long distances or pushing your body (and mind) further than you think you can go can be very rewarding.  I have run some long distances and have “hit the wall” on a number of occasions.  Sometimes it is no big deal while others can drag on for a long time. 

Hitting the wall in a job search may happen multiple times.  Finding a new job that fits what you need is very challenging.  It is challenging personally, mentally, emotionally, physically and draining.  A good runner and a good job searcher needs to be prepared with a plan when the wall is upon you.  It may just last a few minutes or hours.  Some wall periods can last days, months or even years.  I truly believe it can be the potential downfall into depression.  Depression is for another post but expecting the wall is key. 

What I do when I have hit walls in my career is to take myself out of my surroundings.  It might mean I start working in a different location, take a mini vacation, move my office around, borrow some space from someone else or whatever.  This is step one.  After that I try to get myself in front of people who I can help.  Sometimes working with others who may have more challenges than you can be uplifting.  These two activities help break up my personal wall.  This typically works after a day or two and I get back to work. 

You may have other ways to get out of the funk but find a system that works for you and then TRUST THE SYSTEM.  When you hit the wall, use the routine of the system to help you out.  The manualness of it will help pull you out.

In a funk.  Have a question?  Let me know.

Let’s Get Started!

Jeff

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New Year…New J.O.B

Do you really want a new J.O.B? Lots to think about in a new year. A new job should not be rushed into because you feel like it. Take your time.

Let’s Get Started!

Jeff