My husband and I launched a new hobby a few years ago: sailing. If anyone reading this article knows about sailing, they know the lifestyle is replete with challenges. Our most recent challenge has been the breakdown of our boat’s motor. It recently occurred to me the mystery of how to repair the sailboat motor might resonate with job seekers as they manage the fears, anxieties, and frustrations of the job search process.
Job Search Often Requires Hours Of Mind-Stumping Retooling
Often, job seekers approach me in an aggravated mode, having spent days, weeks, or months in what feels like wheel-spinning motion; feeling their job search strategy is broken. I can relate to this feeling: My husband and I have been battling the broken-motor problem since the end of last sailing season, but most heartily since March of this year, when we were able to de-winterize the boat and begin retooling various parts. Each time my husband retooled a part (often, after hours of back-aching work spent stooped over the engine), he looked at me hopefully, turned the key, and ‘kerplunk’ – it didn’t fix the problem.
As with fixing a persnickety engine, job search often requires hours of mind-stumping retooling only to find, hours or days into the execution, that the job search strategy still won’t turn over a new job interview or job or, at the least, it won’t stimulate an effective job lead. Instead, it feels to the job seeker he is investing time and resources into a black hole.
Modeling many job seekers, my husband and I have tapped various professional resources to try to get our boat engine running again. As when career bumps detract from once thriving careers, our boat engine’s demise stalled our sailing life, all at once making us feel stranded on our dock.
So, we called upon service experts specializing in just the type of motor we have, paid for new parts and advice, and tapped our local marina’s service department aspiring for an appointment with a master mechanic. Still, after all this, the engine is fettered with what seems to be a systemic mechanical issue.
We feel we have thrown money and time upon more money and time only to find the problem to be amorphous and unending. Our patience wears thin.
This process has further upped my empathy for job seekers’ intent upon navigating the winds of a stormy job search climate, where effectively communicating their value proposition, ferreting out their unique personal brand, planning the perfect networking strategy, appropriately and impactfully networking… and so forth, often with what appears to be little positive result.
What I Tell Job Seekers To Quell Frustration: Reason To Hope
As a result of my motor-boat problem, here are some solutions and tips that I have gleaned for job seekers:
1. Don’t Give Up
As for my husband and me, our boat motor will either get fixed… or it won’t. Either way, we will not quit sailing. For example, yesterday we adapted our harbor exit and reenter process to allow us to sail a full day in 85+ degree, sunny weather, exceeding our earlier expectations while consumed by our broken motor.
Similarly, in a job search, you may need to circumvent what’s blocking your progress and find another way to get into the job interview harbor. If that means that you are going a bit against what mechanically feels like the right fix for the problem, take the risk and just do it (don’t dwell).
2. Plan Something New
While you are trying new tactics and strategies to get the wind in your job search sails, also be thoughtfully planning new ways to fix that broken job search engine for the long-haul. This plan may include better, ongoing job search maintenance as well as investing yourself in niche experts that really know their stuff.
When immersed in the problem to the point of being emotionally wrung, unplug. Find a smile, find laughter, and step away! Come back later refreshed and renewed. It WILL pay off in the long run. You will either find a whole new way to address the same problem, or you will deflect the problem, and plot an entirely new job search course to navigate the choppy career waters.
4. Invest Yourself
Invest in yourself in a meaningful way. Don’t just throw good money after bad in job search services. For example, if you are hunting down a great resume service to partner with, be bold, prudent, and hopeful. Spending $200 for a value-proposition-focused career document probably won’t cut it! This dynamic document is intimate, detailed, and tailored – it’s your public relations voice. Don’t shortchange it, as the repercussions will put your search right back into choppy waters or beach your job search boat entirely.
5. Understand Job Search Is An Art
Does all this sound specific, but at the same time, a bit vague? Yes! But as in all of life, job search (as well as sailboat maintenance) is an art that is fluid, creative, pragmatic, results-oriented and risky. This risk is not without rewards: Just keep on tacking, adjusting your sails, finding new wind, and adjust your course to ensure you navigate toward the rewards (which, over the long haul, most definitely will outweigh the risks).
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