Looking back – wow! Its hard to believe that 2015 is over. I encourage you to take a few minutes and reflect on this year – the good and the bad. For me, this was a good year professionally. It was a good year educationally as I’ve finished my coursework and begun working on my PhD dissertation. I can celebrate having a wonderful and supportive family. That family celebrated the life of my father who passed away in May. My respect for him and the impact he made on so many people’s lives continues to grow. Editorially, I’m Fired came out in print and for the second consecutive year over 1,000 people visited the website. If you are one of those people, thank you. I can confidently say I am a fortunate man.
So, how about you? If you’re reading this blog it is likely that you are a job seeker. Maybe that’s a good thing, maybe not, but there is more to your life than your job. Use this opportunity to take it all in, and appreciate what you have, and make time to let others know that you appreciate what they mean to you. If you are in job search, reflect back on what you know and what you’ve learned. You will need a good sense of where you came from before you can clarify where you want to go.
Take time today, before the celebrations tonight, to look back on 2015. Enjoy your successes, remember those who you lost, accept what you have, and know that you are not alone. One of my favorite poems is Desiderata by Max Ehrmann, and I encourage you to read it. When I was in college, the Dean of Men had poster-sized version on the wall behind his desk and he would regularly recite it to young men who were struggling. The final lines are:
“and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.”
Happy New Year! Come back tomorrow and we’ll talk about resolutions.
If you want more advice on how to write a resume, how to network, or just how to find a job, check out I’m Fired?!? A Business Fable about the Challenges of Losing One Job and Finding Another. Now available in both print and eBook formats! Click here for more details.
I had an idea – a blog post about persistence. I talked with a friend of mine not long ago and he told me that he was 0 – 60 in applications. He’d applied for 60 jobs and had yet to get an interview. Then, not more than a month later, I saw his LinkedIn update that he had a new job – and a good one. He had shown persistence and not given up.
Then I thought, maybe he had also shown perseverance. Not only had he needed to keep going looking (persistence) but he had also faced challenges. Over that time, he had income pressures. After an extended period of unemployment, it is easy to lose confidence, and he’d worked through that. Yeah, perseverance was a good word.
Positivity is another good word for his situation. During an extended search it is easy, and understandable, to get depressed. The problem is that depression feeds depression. If you allow yourself to feel down, it shows. The people you interview or network can feel it. They are less likely to hire you or share contacts if they sense you aren’t really interested. That interest jumps when you are enthusiastic and exude positive energy.
My friend also understood power. He knew that his attitude affected others and he knew that when you feel powerful, you are more confident and successful. Check out this amazing Ted Talk.
Planning was another constant in his search. Every week he planned his calls, follow-ups and thank you’s. He made plan for finding a new job and he worked that plan.
Another strength was praise. Throughout his search, he showered praise and encouragement on others. He did not miss an opportunity to thank someone for their time or support. He spoke well of his former employers and opportunities.
Finally, he was at peace. It’s easy to get angry. Angry at those who fired you and those who don’t hire you. However, anger is generally not a very helpful emotion. Peace, on the other hand is calming, reassuring, and steady. Peace is not passivity, indifference, or acceptance. It is a calm, controlled, assurance of good things to come.
So, persistence led me to perseverance, positivity, power, planning, praise and finally peace – the seven Ps of job search. Spend some time today thinking about your search and how you can put these Ps to work for you.
For more details about I’m Fired?!? A Business Fable about the Challenges of Losing One Job and Finding Another, click here.
In about a week many of us will be sitting down with family and friends to celebrate the holidays and exchange gifts. What gift can you give a job seeker? Here are some of the items that have been on my wish lists over the years:
Resume Support – not all job seekers are equally gifted with grammar, writing or word processing skills. If you have those skills offer to help the job seeker with their resume and cover letters. Help with the phrasing, proofreading and layout so the resume presents the job seeker in the best possible light.
Networking – actively work to help the job seeker expand their network. Just because you don’t know anybody that you know is seeking to hire someone with the job seeker’s background, does not mean that you don’t know someone. Introduce the job seeker to the people you know and let the network take care of itself.
Time – job seekers are often unemployed and may need support like day care or transportation so that they can go on networking meetings and interviews. They may need someone to run some errands so they can focus on meeting an application deadline. Give them some of your time, so they can spend their time focused on the job search.
Financial Support – while many won’t want to ask for help, being unemployed can be financially draining. Financial support, no matter how small, can be incredibly uplifting. Offer to pay a phone bill or water bill, buy some groceries, or whatever you can.
Emotional Support – more than anything, job seekers need your emotional support. Most job seekers didn’t plan to be job seekers. They lost their job, and while often that was not their fault, that does not mean that they don’t see the loss of a job as their failure – their inability to provide for their family. Often, they don’t need advice as much as they just need to someone to be there, to listen, to encourage and just be a positive and affirming presence in their life.
Holiday giving isn’t about the dollar value of the gift; it is about the thoughtful act of giving. Give your job seeker a hug, tell them that you believe in them, and you’ll support them during their job search.
On Thanksgiving afternoon, after too much turkey, potatoes, veggies and pie, it seems a perfect time to write a post about thankfulness. But rather than thanks for all the blessings I’ve been given, I’d like to reflect on those blessings I’ve received from repeated job searches.
I’m thankful for Michael Shirley and Leigh Branham. They were my first job coaches when I went through outplacement after my second reduction in force. Together they taught me, really for the first time, how to write a resume, how to use a target list, and probably most importantly, how to network. My time with these guys plays heavily into I’m Fired?!? and Leigh graciously wrote the Forward.
I’m thankful for all the people I’ve met along the way. Some have become close friends while others I’d rather not speak to again, but all of them helped to shape who I am. I’ve learned to ask for help when I needed and graciously accept it when it’s offered. I’ve learned to be more objective about business decisions and not take personally those that affect me adversely.
I’m thankful for the different bosses that I’ve had. Some have been great coaches, mentors and teachers who have taught me about business and helped me refine my craft. Some have been complete jerks who in their own way taught me valuable lessons of patience and discretion.
I’m thankful for the twists and turns in my career path (at least most of them). I’ve experienced more industries and types of businesses than anyone I know. I think this gives me a great appreciation for diversity and flexibility and limits my ability to say “we’ve always done it this way.”
Most importantly, I’ m thankful for my wife, children and parents. They have supported me and encouraged me time and again as I’ve gone through the job search process. They have never blamed me; never been angry with me, and never doubted that I would find another job. Their constant love and support gave me the encouragement to continue to work the process, even when it seemed like there were no jobs to find.
I encourage you to sit back and reflect on your blessings. Your career may not be heading in the direction you’d planned, but don’t be surprised if there is good news just around the corner. Have a very Happy Thanksgiving.