Like Rapunzel in the ivory tower throwing down her long braid in hopes of a rescue, does your career feel like you need more than a prince on a white horse to help you out? Having a job these days has become more than a blessing given the alternative. But do you somehow feel that you are sacrificing more than you think? Feeling trapped in your situation even though you are collecting a paycheck is not any better than not having a job-you’re tangled by your circumstances no matter which side of the braid you are holding.
The Career Rebel
Sometimes you think you know how you come across to others but you don’t. You may think you rock in your presentation skills, or present a cool and calm presence or think you are a superstar when it comes to nailing a job interview. When was the last time you went on a job interview and what was the outcome? I thought so! If you’ve been pounding the pavement and think you are just doing fine networking your butt off then think again. If no one has offered you a job or even given you a second look, chances are you are not the picture perfect job candidate you may think you are.
Whether you are out of work, in between assignments or just taking a break from it all, you have the right to set the bar in terms of how you value your time and more importantly, your worth.Just because your friend calls and asks for some “free advice” doesn’t mean you should always put yourself in a position to discount your services. It’s good to help out a friend or former colleague or make referrals because you want to in turn help someone else land a job, but this does not mean you should give your services away for free.
Not sure if your career path was the one fate chose for you or you chose for yourself? If only there was a little book that lit up every time you made a wrong turn or career choice. Wouldn’t it be comforting to have a bunch of men in gray suits and fedoras running around trying to help you get back on track even though your heart or mind or whomever was pushing you in another direction. If you feel your career needs a visit from “The Adjustment Bureau” you are probably not alone.
You may be a high-ranking executive, or someone who is still working his or her way up the corporate ladder, or perhaps you are just trying to break into the business. Wherever your position on the career chain, you may now or in the future be in a position where you have to navigate the politics of your work environment. Knowing how to maneuver in a complicated system holds the same challenges whether you are a veteran or a newbie in the business.
Deciding whether to quit the job you have in search of a new one can be a daunting task when faced with the unknown. Do you leave the devil you know for what may appear to be greener pastures? Do you take the proverbial leap of faith in search of your dream job? What may appear to be an easy answer may actually put you between a rock and a hard place when it comes to making a choice and finally a move.
If you feel like a hopeful nominee, a reluctant runner up or a cocky winner, stand in line because your job search is a far cry from the glitz and glamour of The Oscars. You may feel like you have to dress the part or at least give good face to the crowds who are cheering you on. But, inside your stomach churns in tangled nervous knots and you wonder how you got here and whether being in the job spotlight is such a good thing.
Remember when you felt secure and comfortable knowing that you were on the right career path, confident that the job you held was going to hold you long into retirement. Well, wake up now, that dream was a good one while it lasted.
It’s never too late to begin your job search BEFORE you graduate! You may be thinking I have MONTHS to decide where I’m going to work. Guess again. If you are only thinking about this now, you are actually very LATE FOR YOUR IMPORTANT JOB DATE! It’s not that we don’t love you but, you really do need to get in gear if you are thinking you are going to want to do more than hit the movies, video game stores or soak it up on the beach come May or June.
Let me count the ways. Am I my resume? Am I a brand? Am I desperately seeking someone to show me the way? If you are as confused by how you should define who and what you represent to the job world, get in line. Most people today don’t know whether they are defined by the accomplishments listed on their 3-page resume or the idea that they should somehow convince themselves they are a brand like any common household product! Knowing who you are is important of course, but knowing what you stand for when faced with your inevitable job search is essential.
Sometimes you find yourself in situations where the choices are limited and you have to do what you have to do to survive. But finding something you love in what you do, even if it’s not your primary choice, helps to guide you towards living a meaningful and fulfilling career no matter what your job title is. How you find your drive, passion, potential no matter what your job is today is key to living and finding your best career
Knowing that you will do what it takes to see it through to achieve your goal, whatever that may be, is the fighter instinct you need to develop in order to realize true success. Do you have true grit to see it through and find the job you were meant to do?
As you know if you have been reading my blogs, I don’t typically write about myself. It’s that time of year for reflection I guess and I thought to share of my own personal background and experience. As we ponder our career choices in life, we usually are faced with making decisions about our life’s path as we graduate college and enter the work force or sometimes opportunities present themselves even earlier in life.
If you’ve ever heard the expression, “skin in the game,” don’t worry, it’s not a reference to a condition you get if you turn into a zombie in the AMC series “The Walking Dead.” It is a condition you get however, if you ask yourself what is your long term commitment when it comes to your career and if you have what it takes to stay the course. When you have skin in the game when it comes to your career, it means are you committed to the long-term plan and asking yourself, Do you really know what you want and how to keep it?
...or so it seems. Timing, timing and more timing. Like the old biological clock that ticks for some and tocks for others, your job search like the waxing and the waning of the moon, is subject to timing, divine or otherwise. Knowing that patience is the name of the game when it comes to waiting for the right opportunity to come along does not always make the wait any easier or any faster. For some of us, waiting for the right job is as they say like watching paint dry, for the rest, it can be as quick as someone running the course through a speed dating session. Your job search does not have to be an ordeal, 127 hours of waiting for help that never comes….
Giving it your all, calling in the shots, focusing, following, listening and playing your A-Game. When you’ve given it your best shot in your job efforts and have shown up to deliver your best, it’s now time for the hard part, to sit back, trust and yes, wait. Finding the resolve to release control over the job process when you know in your heart of hearts that you’ve showed up and delivered your best is not always easy.
Everyone knows we are in a down economy. Just because you empathize with the state of the economy, does not mean you should forfeit your worth or value when it comes to what someone is willing to pay you. So many of you think that you may have made a certain salary, earned a certain income level in the past and you can’t or don’t deserve to ask for the same amount of money now. What’s changed? Have you gotten less experience over the years? Have you depreciated in value? Just because you may not have worked in awhile or are trying it on your own for a change, doesn’t mean you are worth any less?
When you feel like your job track has been all over the place and you’ve been running the relay like the Long Beach Grand Prix, it’s time to figure out how many laps you’ll need to get to the finish line. When you are not sure where you are headed other than the circles you keep running, it’s time to course correct your career and get yourself moving in the right direction.
The job search can and does feel like a crap shoot these days. When you may feel no matter you do, how many networking events you attend, how many job postings you apply to, you are in a mean game of rock, paper, scissors and you are always a mis-match! Even when you feel like your job search is more like a guessing game-guess again. You can win at this if you just sit back, and prepare yourself for an inevitable crap shoot with the occasional win.
When procrastination gets in the way of moving your career forward, you can either sit and let the stomach worms squiggle around inside or actually, get up and get on with finding out what’s holding you back. It’s never easy to make change when it’s something you started or was forced upon you. Change is as we all know, tough on those who stubbornly fight against it or easy for those who move with the flow. If you are holding onto something that no longer works for you in fear of the unknown, then procrastination has gotten the better of you.
Knowing when to make a left when you are going right, or to turn when the road seems to bend out of nowhere enables you to right the course of change when you come to a career crossroad in your search for the perfect job. It’s not as important to always have a clear vision of where your career is headed. It is important however to manage the obstacles, challenges, opportunities and gifts you come to find along the way.
For all of you out there dreading the seemingly inevitable, your own unemployment, your fears are not the answer. What you need to keep in mind is that your fear, like everyone else’s, is real and you can control how you think and how you react in any given situation. Keeping your thoughts focused on the here and now and not what lies ahead or what comes next, will keep the fear of rejection at bay, at least until you come up with a strategy to find your next opportunity. Remember, when all is said and done, if you have your health, your family and a good support system, all you need to keep telling yourself is that, “It’s just a job, isn’t it?”
Just like the dead-air you get when your cell phone reception fails, your job search can feel like that sometimes, when you recant the same phrase over and over again, “Can You Hear Me?” Getting discouraged, frustrated, annoyed and downright fed-up with the lack of response, follow through and in some cases common courtesy, is unfortunately a routine part of the job search these days. When your emails, voicemails and even FaceBook requests go unanswered, all you ever seem to want to ask is, “Can you hear me?”
Just because you’ve been working your butt off interviewing, networking and working every angle you can to find your next job, doesn’t mean every job is the right one for you. When a job is not the one you were hoping it would be, you need to walk away from the a pending offer just like you would a bad first date. For whatever reason when the job you want does not want you, you need to figure out a way to move on with grace, courage and the speed necessary to get enough traction between you and your next career move.
When you struggle with what you think you want from your next job because you are convinced that you just need to work, you do yourself a dis-service. With unemployment benefits being extended to 99 weeks, it fuels the fires of doubt where it appears even the President is not confident in a job recovery anytime soon. Next time you find yourself ready to jump off a cliff because you just, “need to work” ask yourself, do you really know what you want?