How To Get Out Of A Job Rut And Build A Network

Dear J.T. & Dale: I was working in HR before I was displaced due to the economic downturn almost two years ago. I have been doing temporary work or living on unemployment. My situation has become nearly desperate, although during this interim I have gotten out of debt, and my fiancee and I bought a house. Recently, however, my fiancee has become completely frustrated with my lack of direction, and thinks I should go back to school or just take a crappy job simply to be doing something. What can I do to build a network? I'm even willing to do volunteer work. I'm in a horrible job rut, and I feel alone. — Chris Dale: To be married or engaged to someone who's out of work, and to remain upbeat and supportive for an extended time, takes a saint. The truth is, most of us aren't saints. It's almost inevitable that doubts and suspicions will creep in. I explore this subject in the free e-book/audio called "It's a Wonderful Job," available at www.dauten.com. J.T.: Do read that book. And do build your network. However, networking is about quality AND quantity. You need to establish and then deepen relationships with people who could have an impact on your ability to get hired. To make this happen, start by identifying just 10 companies you particularly admire and would like to be part of. Then, use social networking to find contacts at the companies and work on creating allies in those companies Dale: Meanwhile, put yourself in a position to get some good luck in your life. That's where volunteering comes in. Start with your local HR organizations. For example, if you volunteered to be part of the Program Committee, you'll have a wonderful chance to contact and meet influential HR people. But don't stop there: Volunteer at a homeless shelter or other charity. This will make you feel better about yourself, give you something to discuss with your fiancee besides the job search, and you might just tap into the right kind of karma. (By the way, speaking of having something else to talk about with your fiancee, you might propose to her that you two do NOT talk about your job search. Instead, ask her to trust you to do everything possible, then give her updates once a month, ones that will impress her with how much effort you are putting out.) J.T.: We know, Chris, how hard it is to motivate yourself when you've been out of work for an extended period. It helps if you keep reminding yourself that every contact you make is getting you one step closer to your future employer. Dale: Meet people, learn from them, give back, and you'll continue to make yourself more valuable, knowing that sometime soon, someone will be grateful to have you. © 2012 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.
Feel free to send questions to J.T. and Dale at advice@jtanddale.com or write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th Street, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10019.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock

When most people think of Nike, they think of shoes, retail stores, and, of course, athletes. That's all true, but there's more. Behind Nike's walls, you'll find the doers and thinkers who design, create, and innovate every day. There are also data scientists who discover and leverage athlete insights to create the future of sport.

You might be surprised to learn about the impact you can have in Data & Analytics at Nike versus at a major tech giant. Nike employees get to work on a wide array of challenges, so if you're obsessed with math, science, computers, and/or data, and you love sport, these stories may inspire you to work at Nike.

SHOW MORE Show less

Employee loyalty is something every company longs for. It's estimated employee turnover costs as much as 130-200% of an employee's salary. When a talented, knowledgeable, trained employee leaves, it's bad for business. And, when lots of them leave, it can be the kiss of death.

SHOW MORE Show less

If you saw our first video, you might have heard about the interview situation one of our viewers, Remi submitted. He was in an interview and was asked the question: How many cows are there in Canada right now? - What a weird question but this is a technique that some hiring managers are using these days.

SHOW MORE Show less

If you saw our first video, you might have heard about the awkward situation one of our viewers, Kevin submitted. He is a college student who's working a part time job to make ends meet. The manager/owner of the company has become a micro-manager who watches him work on camera and reads his company emails. A bit over the top wouldn't you say?

SHOW MORE Show less

All work and no play can create a tense and unwelcoming environment. Studies have shown that employers that offer additional perks have employees that are happier and more loyal to their place of employment. If you are looking for an employer that acknowledges how important it is to give its employees a place to de-stress and bond with their co-workers, check out these companies!

SHOW MORE Show less

In this week's episode of "Well This Happened", we want to know what you would do if you worked for an owner who micro-manages you my watching you work on camera and reading through your company emails.

We want YOU to be the career coach and tell us which one is the RIGHT answer!

Think you know? Vote below, and stay tuned for later this week when we announce the right answer (and why the other ones are wrong).

SHOW MORE Show less