Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Streeeetched ouuuuutttt—Looking over the long haul

I met yesterday with a grad who had accumulated about 2 years of experience, fortunately in his desired field. He was, admittedly, one of the fortunate ones whose internship had resulted in a full time professional position. But after two years, the glamor had worn off.

The grad was out on the streets conducting his very first job search. During our meeting, he made a comment ruing the fact that he knew nothing about the process because his first job had literally landed in his lap.

I’ve told stories like this to other job seekers who have been looking for months. Something to the effect that they are in some senses fortunate to be put into a spot where they’re learning essential skills about the job search process. After pondering that unusual perspective on their situation, the most common question had to do with hanging here. Essentially, how do you hang in there over a long period of time?

What if, for instance, your job search takes not just days or weeks but months?

Well, from observing others in the process, here are some practical tips:

1. Establish and maintain a routine. Set up a rhythm for your week. One job searcher, let’s call her Frantic Freeda, was so stressed that she was looking literally 24/7, even waking up in the middle of the night to see if the search agents she’d set up had returned any openings.

My advice to her—take a weekend off. Do something with friends. Sleep through the night. Set up a pattern you can maintain over the long haul.

I’ve seen totally great, well qualified people who looked for up to 9 months. Result? They ended up with a terrific job.

2. Or, you may be at the other end of the spectrum, i.e. not checking/looking all the time but looking only occasionally. Like, maybe over two months, you’ve sent out about 10 resumes. In that case, the tip would be——up the ante. Increase the volume. Get out there and get moving.  If you don’t, you may end up doing a sequential search and riding the resulting emotional roller coaster.

Here’s what that looks like. Fictitious Fred looks until he finds the “perfect” job. You know, the one which “just fits” him. The one he’s been waiting for all these years. Ideally, Fred even gets an interview and now is in wait-mode. So essentially for the last month, Fred has devoted all his time waiting for this one dream job thing to happen.

What happens when and if Fred does not get this job? Well, as you can imagine, Fred’s going to be devastated, his hopes dashed. And it’s going to be a long time before he’s ready to look for the next job.

So, the best case scenario would be for Fred to have lots of irons in the fire.  Many applications in process. Then, when one falls apart, he’s got a Plan B in the works.

Would love to hear from any other Freds or Freedas out there. What’s kept you going over the long haul?

Topic for tomorrow….little stuff—>big consequences….

Posted by Bonnie Speyers on 08/10 at 10:36 PM
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