Okay, Labor Day is in our rear-view mirror, we are fully into back-to-school mode. Some schools just started and some a month ago, but everyone is back. So, what are you learning? Are you reading any good books? Are you practicing a skill?
To be a successful worker, and especially a successful job seeker, you need a commitment to life-long learning. When the economy is strong, as it is now, there is a debate whether college is worth the investment. It takes 4+ years out of your life and will cost you at least $40,000 and possibly much more. You could graduate with a mountain of debt. So why not just get a job? I can’t explain the economics as well as Forbes magazine, so if you are really torn, read this article.
What I’m most concerned with today is what you learn after you graduate. I can’t imagine doing the same job for 40 years, and even if I did, I’d need to be learning new skills or methods along the way. I read all the time; fiction, nonfiction, business books, whatever. You don’t have to be a reader, but you do need to grow.
I can attest with a fairly high degree of certainty, that if you plan to be in the job market for at least 10 more years, there is something significant you don’t know now, that you will need to know to be successful. Maybe you’ll need to learn a new computer program, maybe a new language, maybe how to operate new technology, or maybe just how to get along with people that have different beliefs. I don’t know what it is, but I guarantee its coming, so get ready for it.
So, when that time comes, you need to be ready to learn, and the best way I know is to never stop learning. Keep your mind open. Spend time seeking out new information. Read, whether online or printed books, magazines, whatever. Expose yourself to new ideas. Pick up a hobby and get good at it. Learn something new every day. If you are not one already, turn yourself into a life-long learner. If you get in the habit of always learning, you’ll be ready to learn when you need to. If you are struggling with your job search, this might help. https://im-fired.com/about-the-book/
So, you’ve been out of work for some time; you’ve exhausted your network (you think); you’ve applied for every job you can find; you regularly attend one or two job clubs; and nothing is working! I know it is an incredibly frustrating feeling. Maybe a solution is to try giving rather than taking…
An excellent way to spend some of your now available time is to give some of it away. I suggest you consider four categories of volunteer work:
Based on your profession – find ways, possibly through the local chapter of your professional association, to use your skill set to benefit a not-for-profit. Find a local social service agency where you can relate to their mission and ask if they would be interested in some free professional assistance (I can almost guarantee they will be). If you are an HR person volunteer to conduct an HR audit. If you are an IT person volunteer to install computers. If you are a marketing person volunteer to help them with social networking. You get the idea – give them what you really want someone to pay you to do.
Based on your community – find a need in your community and see if they need some additional workers. Regardless of your professional training you can most likely pick up trash, serve at the reception desk at your local hospital, read to children at a Head Start, or help direct traffic for a local 5k run.
Based on your passions – find a need with an agency that does what you love. If you love animals volunteer at an animal shelter. If you want to be outdoors volunteer at a nature sanctuary. If you love art become a museum docent.
Based on your faith – find a need at your house of worship that fits you. You can teach Sunday school, lead a mission trip, coordinate a community garden, or paint the nursery.
The bottom line is that there are better places where you can spend your time other than on the couch watching soap operas or surfing the net hoping to stumble on a new job posting. Volunteering does wonderful things for you. Volunteering can help you keep your skills sharp, meet new networking contacts, or maybe uncover new job opportunities. Just as importantly, volunteering can meet the needs of others and help your community be a better place. Volunteering keeps you keep busy and both physically and mentally active. Finally, volunteering helps you feel good about yourself and provides energy to help you sustain your job search.
If you can’t find anyone to hire you yet, get up and find a way to give away what you have. Others will benefit, you’ll feel better, and it just may help you find that next opportunity. If you are struggling, this might help. https://im-fired.com/about-the-book/
I had a good post ready for today, but it will have to wait until next week. As I was typing today’s date, it hit me. Today is 9/11. Oh, I was aware. I attended a memorial event yesterday and I’ve been thinking about those events all week, but until I typed the date, it didn’t really hit me. Today is the day.
20 years ago, I was working as the HR Director for a retailer. We had an all-hands meeting early in the morning, and during the meeting a job candidate came in (he was scheduled for an interview immediately after the meeting). I greeted him and we stood at the back of the room while the meeting wrapped up.
He turned to me and said that he was listening to the car radio before he came in the building. The news reported that a plane had struck the World Trade Center, but he didn’t hear any details. We both shrugged and assumed it was a small Cessna or something similar. That kind of thing had happened before.
When the meeting was over, I escorted him to his interview and went back to my office. I turned on the TV to see if there was more to the story, just about the time the second plane struck the towers. Everything changed. My staff joined me, and we spent the rest of the morning glued to the TV.
I know that almost all who were alive at the time can tell you how they learned of the event, and how they were changed by it. I have similar memories of the Challenger explosion and my mother has told me about how she learned of President Kennedy’s assassination. These seminal events become seared in our brains.
My point this morning is not a history lesson, it is about today. I want you to find a new job and build a successful career, and I want to help you with that. But, I also want you to not ignore the world that is revolving around you. Do not to forget the events that shaped our lives and brought us to this point in time. Never forget or discount the sacrifices others have made so that we can enjoy the lives we lead.
Step away from your job search today and spend some time reflecting on the events of 9/11. Regardless of your politics, too many lives were lost that day. We must honor those who ran toward the danger, without concern for their own safety, only to try to help others. We’ll get back to working on your job search next week.
It’s another holiday weekend – the end of summer. On Monday we’ll celebrate labor, honoring the contributions the workingman has made to America. If you are unemployed, you may feel left out of this party. But fear not, the right job is coming toward you as we speak. The economy is growing. The pandemic is waning (ever so slowly) and there are help-wanted signs everywhere. If you need a job, you can find one.
It’s not just fast food and warehouse jobs that are open. The total “Quit Rate” in June (the last month that data is available) was almost 3.9 million people which equates to 2.7% of the workforce. That is almost a full percentage point over June of last year. Without any facts to back me up I going to assume that the vast majority of those people quit because they found a new and better job. I’m also going to assume that companies then sought to fill virtually every one of those jobs.
There is a lot happening in this job market. If you want to be a part of it, and be able to rightfully celebrate Labor Day, jump into the pool. Start networking. Work on a killer resume and elevator speech. Apply for jobs, and I bet you can be working in a manner of weeks.
If you are struggling, this might help. https://im-fired.com/about-the-book/