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Many times when I first talk with a client, it’s because they are frustrated because they’ve been sending out resumes, usually dozens a day, for months, and they’ve gotten little to no response from their efforts. My first question to them usually is “So, what are you looking for?”. The usual answer to that is either “anything” or “I don’t know”.
If this is the case, it’s no wonder that no one is responding. People hire others because they need help and you’ve let them know how you can help them. If you don’t know who you’re searching for, then you won’t know what to do to help them. Otherwise, you’re shooting into the deep void hoping to hit a target you can’t see.
The reason why so many people panic in the job search is because they feel out of control and don’t feel prepared for what’s ahead. My answer us to “get a clue” and do some research to find out what it is you’re looking for. Granted, to hone your goals, you might need to work with someone like me to tease out your goals, but many people can just start doing tea search and that will help.
I like to say there are two ways to do research:
Dead & Alive
Dead Research means that you don’t get any response when you ask a question. This is anything in print. You can get a lot of information that way but it’s static.
Live Research means that you get a response when you ask questions. This is actually talking with people. You will always get more up-to-date and dynamic information this way, and you will also be building relationships. Informational interviews, networking events, etc. are great places to find out more information if you are focused on what you’re looking for and have a plan.
Most people hide behind their resumes and computers and never get out to talk with people. This is one of the main reasons that it takes people so long to get a job. If you don’t do your research, you’ll be the “deer in the headlights” and not been seen as an asset.
So, do you know what you’re stepping into?
I see a lot if people who send out volumes of resumes to posted jobs, and are frustrated that no one responds. “If they only realized how great I am!” I can hear them cry out in their souls. “Why don’t they give me a chance? I could be great!”
I’m here to explain the two main reasons why this doesn’t happen:
- You are among hundreds of people who the hiring manager doesn’t know who haven’t explained clearly how you can help out relieve the hiring manager’s problems, and…
- The hiring manager has no idea if you are a crazy maker, diva, problem child, etc. that will make the work environment a living hell for the duration if you’re hired.
This is not to say that you are any of the above, but the hiring manager wants to avoid that at all costs. (Think about the co-worker you have that drives you crazy and you wish would quit. Now imagine having to manage that person. You’re life would suck on so many levels.) If you’ve given me reason to know that you’re a capable and talented potential employee, then I’m more likely to take a chance on you.
How can you do that? Well, look at your own experience. When you have to make a decision on something that you are unsure of, what do you do?
Check your trusted references.
For you, that might be friends, certain magazines or websites that have good advice, etc. You need to find out where the hiring manager looks for references, and make sure you’re seen as competent there first before the hiring manager asks about you.
How to do that? Identify your targets first, do your research, and get out and talk to people. Much more effective than sitting in your pajamas and sending out dozens of resumes daily.
So, how are you getting known by the people who need to know you?
I was lucky enough a couple of months ago to hear the Rev. Dr. Thandeka preach a sermon at my home church, the First Parish in Cambridge, Unitarian Universalist. I heard he speak before at the UUA General Assembly, and also read her readings, so I looked forward to what I knew would be a great sermon.
The main thrust of her talk was about being present in the moment to take advantage of what life if presenting to you know as a gift. She kept up the common theme of breathing and paying attention to your breathe. As she stated, we are continually “inspired” and filled with the spirit of life with every breath we intake.
She started by relating a story of her first trip going in a roller coaster with her brother when she was a little girl. Her first time, she was scared and screaming and completely in the the moment of terror. Because she knew that her brother would remember this and taunt her for the rest if her life, her went on again and was stoic for the entire ride. She was not in the moment.
I’ve recently taken some workshops on the concepts on Tantra, and have been really trying to be more present in my own life. I have discovered about myself that I am usually more comfortable thinking about done other space and time, even if it’s not as pleasant as the place and time I’m in now! That was a revolution to me.
Rev. Thandeka spoke to being in the present moment and breathing in it’s fullness at every moment, and if we’re being too being too rigid and in our minds and not our bodies, we don’t experience life. There is Spirit in each and every breath and we are delaying life when we don’t experience it as it is, but fight in our mind what we think it should be.
In the language of type theory, and the MBTI, in particular, there is a dichotomy of judgers and perceivers. Judgers like to have everything scheduled and feel comfortable when items are crossed off the to do list. Perceivers are more open and flexible and like to go with the flow. I’m definitely a judger, but I’ve been working on being more flexible and in the moment. I’m not great at it, but that’s what a practice, spiritual or otherwise, is about.
I leave you with some of Rev. Thandeka’s thoughts:
- “We are the inspiration, or breathing in, of God.”
- “Each breath is our spirit of life.”
- “We are re-inspired every time we breathe.”
So, how do you stay in the moment and become re-inspired?
I tend to work with a lot of people who I would classify as “creative entrepreneurs“. These are people who tend to develop things and work on a more project based process. I would include in this field not only novelists, screenwriters, filmmakers, actors, musicians and the like, but also ministers, yoga teachers, and others whose work tends to be in the more consultancy tradition of having many projects to do that starts and end.
As these type of careers tends to need to have a solid track record in order to succeed, it usually takes creative entrepreneurs a while to develop their portfolios of work, and they will need done other means of supporting themselves in the interim. I like to say that they need to have their creative career, and also “their career that supports their creative career”. This parallel career is different than a day job.
When you say the phrase “day job”, you are sending out two messages:
- First, you are stating that you don’t care about this work and don’t plan any advancement in this role, and
- Second, you’re implying that your creative work is not important enough for anyone else to value.
I say that a “career that supports your creative career” is one that you also enjoy and can see some upward mobility in, but that also gives you the money, time and energy to do your creative work. If you have a job that is paying the bills but makes you exhausted at the end of the day, it’s not supporting your creative career.
You could also say that if you have s life outside of work, you need to have a career that supports that.
So, how is your career supporting you?
As many of you have possibly noticed (or just noticed now as you read this), it’s been a while since my last post here. Part of that time I was away on vacation; other times I was just busy with being outside enjoying the too short summer here in New England. I had become really good at posting a few times a week and the readership of this blog rose dramatically.
And, then it all just seemed to stop. My body and my mind needed a break. I have plenty of partially finished posts as well as numerous notes for future development. I was getting down on myself that I was breaking my own rules by slacking off.
Then, I took a deep breath and realized the my body and mind was imposing a sabbatical on me. I had written over 100 posts in the 1.5 years that I’ve had this blog, and I had run through a lot of the knowledge collected in my mind. I needed that fallow time again to refresh.
Most ministers and professors take a sabbatical ever seven or so years to really get there minds clear and try something new. The goal is to come back with new energy and ideas.
I, like many of you, don’t always do the best things for myself and sometimes I have to be hit with a “clue by 4” before I do what’s needed. If I had listened to my needs earlier, I might not have needed to take this break so abruptly. It’s a continual lesson to notice where I am and listen to my needs, whether physical, emotional, psychological, or spiritual. I’m getting better, but sometimes I need to be reminded with a sledgehammer.
So, when was the last time you took a sabbatical from something? If you listen to your body, mind and spirit, what are they telling you to do?
I just come back from an amazing vacation where I got a lot of personal and professional learning and it was absolutely amazing experience. I was really in need of a vacation and I’m sorry that it’s been so long since I posted last year but I think I just was in mental summer vacation mode as many of you probably have been.
One of the main things that happened to me was that I met up with David Thompson who writes a blog called Anchorhold. I have been following his blog for about a year but I didn’t know that I actually knew him. He specializes in making of rituals
At Easton, he had set up a altar play space which was just a large tent that he had lots of different things that you can put on the altar in the tent set up and thinking of different ways to set up sacred space. The purpose was so that you have what you need to try different objects to see if the resonate with you in creating your own separate space.
I have my own sacred space in my in my house but I haven’t felt like it was really serving me. It was a little bit stale and what I found from talking with him was that the space didn’t work with my way of manifesting sacred space. I have grown to use the term “spiritual fooling around”. It’s a more playful way of feeling my connection to something larger than myself in a more lighthearted way, and my altar had more of a venerated, stuffy air to it. The stale things there weren’t going to work for me. I got home and completely cleaned out that room, and made it one where id want to come on and play, do yoga, play music, and other things that feed my soul.
This gave me the permission that I can change my environment if I need to. Just because it’s one way doesn’t mean it always has to be that way if it’s not serving you. I do have the power to affect my surroundings and change them. It’s a simple thought but powerful once you embrace it.
So, is your environment (home, work, friends, etc.) serving you? What do you need to change?