oh captain

Quote

Invictus

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

– William Ernest Henley

If nothing else, take from this poem the command to master your own fate, to captain your own soul.  In life and in your career, it’s important to take stock of what it is you’re looking for, and to go out and actively seek it.  Sitting around and waiting for something great to happen never helped anyone- so start working toward your New Year goals!

C. Coolidge with a helping hand

Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated failures. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.

– Calvin Coolidge

via Persistence Quotes – BrainyQuote

Listen, all you fellow unemployed, there is almost nothing as valuable in your quest for a career as sheer and undeterred persistence.  You must be relentless in your search, in networking, in finding and using resources, in perfecting your resume, crafting your cover letter, and finally in securing an interview.  Lest you feel your plate already too full, there’s more.  Once you’ve gotten the interview, and aced it, you MUST follow up, and keep in contact!  It’s hard to know how many candidates you’re competing against, so don’t let your great first impression be forgotten!  Whether it’s a simple question of scheduling or perhaps your curious about a company’s involvement in other areas of your interest, DO email your contact.  Your continued interest will be proven, in a much more interesting way than sending essentially a second thank-you note.  Any opportunity you have to remind a potential employer not only of your existence, but more importantly of your ability to succeed beyond any other candidate’s capacity, is one you should SEIZE! 

Getting a job is really a form of sales, if you think about it.  Your selling your skill set, your ambition, and you have to do so in much the same way that a sales associate might: be direct without being pushy, be confident without seeming overly aggressive, and above all, leave your potential employer with the impression that you are, of course, imminently capable of all the job requires.  DETERMINATION, as Calvin Coolidge so eloquently remarks, is OMNIPOTENT.  So get out there and carpe diem!

a bird…bush

What’s that saying? Honestly, who knows- but the MEANING is key: no matter what you think you have going for you, what job or interview or paycheck you have lined up, a SURE THING is different than a POSSIBILITY. 

So, the lesson here is to always keep your options open, never show all your cards.  Don’t leave a current job, or put in your two weeks notice, before you have a definite offer from your dream job.  Don’t withdraw applications before you’ve secured a position.  Keep playing the field, people!  Employers do it, so as a savvy prospective employee, it’s smart to do the same.

One of the complicated things about the job search process is that a job offer is hardly ever instant.  More than likely you will go through two, if not three, rounds of interviews.  In my experience this whole process can stretch out over three weeks.  Three weeks is a lot of time to let your job search lay fallow.  At the very least continue NETWORKING, keep the word out there that you’re seeking employment, talk about your interests with friends and former colleagues, reach out to former employers, professors, career counseling, the office of alumni relations at your alma matter.  It’s tempting to relax a little when you’re in the interview process, to hope for that job offer, and count on it, but the smart thing to do is act realistically.  Technically you’re still unemployed, or perhaps you’re employed but not in your ideal field or career, so keep sending out resumes, keep talking, and keep your eyes open for other opportunities, you might be grateful that you did in the future!

pause

I cannot help myself with this song.  Every time it rains for more than a day, I spend at least SOME (read: too much) time with this song on repeat staring out the window.  It came on the radio today as I was driving along doing some errands, and it made me stop and think- I know I don’t have a job, but I think I need a break.  I realize this might sound totally lazy, but when you devote all your time, energy, and resources to seeking employment, it’s almost more consuming than a full-time job since there’s the added stress of uncertainty.  I spent a good deal of time this week with too many balls in the air, in my opinion.  Waiting on a phone call, waiting on an email, waiting on responses and appointments and details.  Sometimes you’ve done all you can do, and waiting in anticipitory super-stress mode just isn’t going to help at all.  When you get to that point- whether you’re waiting on a possible job offer or not- when you reach that point where your stress level is uncomfortable, it’s SO important to take a moment and PAUSE. 

This can mean many different things for different people.  Whether it’s going for a run, baking cupcakes, grabbing coffee with a friend- do whatever it is that will take your mind off of things for a bit.  I’m not saying check out of the game, just take a breather.  My IDEAL breather is going to see a movie, but unfortunately the timing of my “breather day” was off- today was my day, TOMORROW is when a million movies are being released!  Plus my movie buddy is away at law school.  The stars didn’t line up for me, but after eleven this morning I didn’t check my email, didn’t make a phone call, and didn’t worry about a job, an apartment, or the course of my life.  Obviously I’m blogging again, so I’m back on, but I think even that afternoon free of concentration was worth it.  I zoned out, and now I’m ready to take on everything that’s currently sitting on my plate.

So remember, everyone needs a break, employed or not!