‘JT & Dale Talk Jobs’ is the largest nationally syndicated career advice column in the country and can be found at JTandDale.com.Dear J.T. & Dale: I recently heard the average job search is taking eight months. I have enough money saved to cover my expenses for only six months. What can I do to shorten the length of time it takes to find work? — Nathan J.T.: With an estimated six people out of work for every job opening, competition is fierce, and the result is that the average search is taking longer. Dale: The length of the average search is a good reason not to be average. The typical job search is full of inefficiencies, even when the searcher is trying to hurry, so I suggest adopting this motto of legendary coach John Wooden: "Be quick but don't hurry." Don't be in such a hurry that you grab at every job opening, but discipline yourself to work quickly through the steps. One example, and it's my best advice for shortening the job search: Do NOT expect your friends and contacts to find you a job. Most people waste weeks or months waiting for their friends to present them with opportunities, but the truth is that most people can help you only when you help them do so. Spending a lot of time asking, "Do you know of any openings?" is not nearly as effective as making a target list of companies and asking your contacts if they know anyone in those companies. J.T.: And my best advice for shortening the search is to get a free copy of a book full of such advice. I recently spoke with Florida-based career adviser Andy Robinson, who has concluded that now is a great time to grow as a person and a professional, and has written an e-book called "I Am in Transition, Now What? 12 Ways to Shorten Your Unemployment by 90 Days." You can sign up to get a free copy of his guidebook in our Career Resources section over at JTandDale.com. jt-dale-logoJeanine "J.T." Tanner O'Donnell is a professional development specialist and the founder of the consulting firm, jtodonnell.com, and of the blog, CAREEREALISM.com. Dale Dauten resolves employment and other business disputes as a mediator with AgreementHouse.com. Please visit them at jtanddale.com, where you can send questions via e-mail, or write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th St, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10019. © 2010 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.
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Work is important to a lot of us. And we all have egos. The trick is to balance our own view of work and success so that the ego remains a helpful source of support and not a tyrannical master. One is the road to relative contentment, the other to continued misery. Have you struck the balance?

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