This instant writing endeavor essentially traces back to when I became a member of the LinkedIn group known as the Writing Mafia. I had been a LinkedIn user for a nominal time – since 2008.
I had stumbled upon LinkedIn and initially treated it as a curiosity, but yet started an account with a very limited professional profile. Several months elapsed, and I again looked into my LinkedIn account. Along the way, I had inadvertently created yet another one, with a different email address.
I was so new to this application that I did not realize that the account was anchored to the email address. After learning this tidbit of information, I invested additional efforts in canceling the original account and working to flesh out the second one, which I now maintain on a daily basis.
The LinkedIn application has itself matured, not only with additional features but with a growing user community. As a simple metric, I monitor the growth in my network of connections, and now at this writing have 638 connections. For those LinkedIn open networkers (LIONs), this is a trivial number of connections – but for me, growing to the threshold of 500 took a couple of years! A modest number of these professional connections are via the Writing Mafia.
In December 2010, Angie Pastorelli and I swapped LinkedIn messages and emails, leading to her stating “I’m looking for interesting content on an ongoing basis, so there is no specific time frame. The sooner, the better though.”
And a later email noted: “I had a look at your blog and it contains many worthwhile items. The fields of job search and social networking seem to be something you did a lot of research on. Why don’t you start with a post on one of these subjects? I’m sure our readers and colleagues would be interested!”
The topics of job search and social networking piqued her attention, and thus we are on this writing adventure.
As in all these matters, a form of writing to the prompt is an element of shaping subsequent content. I have opted to keep this very informal and will use the rubric of questions and answers to move us along in the narrative.
Who? The audience is that of Angie’s Diary, and I am the designated author – with a bit of background in addressing the job search in the USA and my use of social networking tools, e.g., LinkedIn and Twitter.
What? We are limiting the context to that of professional job search for those in transition. Transition being those who are unemployed, underemployed, and not satisfactorily employed. That pretty much covers all of us – even those who are quite content may have some interest in this material, as the job market is very dynamic and volatile – so things change.
How? I have come to the conclusion that this professional job search matter is one best encountered using a well articulated and executed process. A process is nothing more than a set of ordered steps – do this and then that, and repeat.
Why? I simply dispose of this why question by stating it is a necessary part of working for a living and an element of life.
Where? Well, everywhere – this professional job search process is applicable wherever we might be. The details may well change, but the key elements are transferable and in that sense, transcendent of circumstances. Hence, the ubiquitous process may be a fun handle to describe this undertaking. A synonym for this may be networking. Networking has the time sense of past, present, and future.
When? This picks up on the past, present, and future idea. Whatever we have done in our ubiquitous process – whether eclectic or formally structured – we do bring to the table our presuppositions and the expostulations which follow along. Our presuppositions are what we have in mind coming into looking for a professional position. Our expostulations are the arguments – whether internal to our thinking or evident in our interactions with others. Those arguments may be anywhere from the exceptionally unfounded to well thought out and strongly held. My view, therefore, on when is past, present, and future for looking for a professional position.
How long? And one may well ask – how long should I be “doing” this process. My conviction is this is a lifelong endeavor. I maintain that to look for a professional position is based on healthy interpersonal relationships. For such a relationship to be healthy it must be fed – maintained. If it is a valued interpersonal relationship, then why should it not be a lifelong one? I personally continue to maintain and enjoy interpersonal relationships that date to my youth! For that, I am very fortunate. I trust your experience either has been or will be lifelong.
How much? Elements of this how much looking for a professional position should be in a day, week, month, or year are:
- Constant. This professional search process is so important that is must be done poorly. This is not an error – far better a poorly executed process than no process at all!
- Attitude. I have chewed on this a bit. Here is a take on attitude. Failure must be the starting point. Failure is always present. It is what we do before, during, and after a failure that is important.
I have put this thought out as a trial balloon before – in writing. The responses that I have received show that a significant number of people insist on not wanting to embrace failure. Why not? We all fail, do we not? So why try to suppress the obvious. Again, it is not the failure that defines us, it is what we do before, during, and after the failure that is important. The failure event is painful, so why wallow in the pain? Experience the pain – and move on. There will be other failures to practice with.
Incidentally, a professional search process does not guarantee success. There is absolutely no causal relationship between great professional search process and success. The process does not guarantee success. Process mitigates against failure. Eclectic actions may result in success. It is very reasonable to see that process gives a better path to success than eclectic methods. There is nothing mysterious here – think it though!
- Take a break. Nothing is more disheartening than despair. My encouragement is not to wind up being in despair directly attributed to a world-class professional job search process! That is like catching the cure to the disease. Take a break!!
- Crisis. Expect a crisis. Better yet, expect a series of them! Life is not fair – get over it! What really is a crisis? A crisis is a dangerous opportunity. The danger in a crisis is all may be lost. The opportunity in a crisis is there is potential for great gain. Stated in other words – negative is chaos; positive is an opportunity to make a positive change – for the good. Here we go again – the positive change is a solid process to be employed or put in place. What are the elements of change?
- Move past denial. De-Nile is not a river in Egypt! Yes, we have a problem here – deal with it!
- Recognize blame is a waste of time – simply don’t do that! Blame does not accomplish anything. Our target of blame is most likely wrong. We are all culpable! If we are in a crisis, we are part of the crisis – we are culpable. If you say – I don’t like crises; I concur. But, we all will have ample opportunity to practice with a crisis. A crisis is not to be managed; a crisis is to be resolved. Remember: no crisis will be managed well; work to resolve the crisis. What was in place before the crisis did not prevent the crisis. Work to resolve these matters – this is the opportunity side of crisis – not the danger side in view here.
Frankly, if any of this stuff seems easy to implement – wrong! Any easy solution that comes to mind that is easy, quick, cheap, and painless to implement is most likely the wrong approach. But, that is ok, the easy, quick, cheap, and painless changes will be the breeding ground for the next crisis – so we will have time again to practice.
And finally – how often? Daily, but relax, this is neither a sprint nor a marathon. This is more like a stroll along a path. Take time to enjoy the flowers and the distractions along the way. This is not a test – this is part of living.
Smile – all of the above comments are intended to be a strong encouragement. We are all in this together – this is not the road to perfection.