Try a little urgency

March 1st, 2017 by Sherri Edwards in Business, Individual

It’s never been a practice of mine to blow smoke up someone’s rear so they can feel better about being unemployed. My approach is a pretty pragmatic one. If you’re not working, aren’t financially independent and have full responsibility for taking care of yourself, then you need to make some money and/or get a job. For most people, their level of urgency is inherently driven by their financial circumstances. If you don’t have a source of income and need one, then waiting for a perfect job doesn’t really make sense. Your circumstances require urgent attention. Another reason to make a case for urgency is that, typically, the longer someone stays unemployed, the longer it takes to get reemployed. Like perishable goods, your value diminishes with time.

The goal here is easy enough to figure out, but a strategy is required, and your plan for reaching your goal needs to be carried out. Wishing for a job, hoping you will get one or only talking about what you want, doesn’t make it happen. Developing a strategy for getting where you want to be will lead to the development of your plan. Although the exact details may not yet be clear, you can start by moving random thoughts from your head into something tangible. First assess your finances and know what you need to earn and when. (Not what you want, mind you, what you need.) Then assess your interests, skills and marketability. If you don’t know how marketable your skills are, you can research this on your own or get help from a career coach or mentor. Next, outline some options and research the validity of each. This research needs to be planned with your end goal in mind. Break your plan into actionable items that can be accomplished each day and enter these tasks into your calendar. Then take action immediately!

Wishing for a job, hoping you will get one or only talking about what you want, doesn’t make it happen.

While you are conducting your research, other options outside of what you have considered may surface. You could receive suggestions about possible roles that have not yet been on your radar. Having a strategy and a plan can show you what generally makes sense. Although urgency is good, recklessness and desperation are not. Taking absolutely anything when it is not connected to where you want to go can lead you away from your long-term goals. If not connected in some way to your long-term goals, the wrong role can cause intense dissatisfaction that ultimately leads to more unemployment. There really needs to be a connection between your need for income, what you do about it and how it relates to your longer-term goals. If something very relevant, doable and immediate presents itself, you need to act right away. For someone who is serious about changing their circumstances, it means making hay while the sun shines (how corny is that?) and jumping on every strong lead as if it is the only one. Why? Because you can’t turn down work or a job that hasn’t been offered! Taking your time to respond may lead to a missed opportunity.

Focusing on how a role could in some way lead to perfect is far more productive than being stuck on the fact that it is not perfect. You may not be ready or marketable for your idea of a “perfect job.” Waiting around until one turns up is wasting time. It’s much easier to move yourself in the right direction once you are off the bench and in the game. (I don’t think I’ve seen any sports teams pull people from the stands and onto the field when it was time to press forward.) That means you need to be up, prepared and on top of each lead before the next 500 people respond. It means you need to turn over every rock and give every possibility your best shot. It is only after you get an offer that you have a choice about what happens next. Once that is accomplished, you can move forward with the rest of your plan.

If you think responding with “urgency” is a few days or weeks after you learn of something, think again. It’s always been a curious thing to me that unemployed people may sleep until noon and take Mondays, Fridays and weekends off when they are down to their last dime. It’s even more curious when they have broadcast their desire for a job to anyone who will listen but end up taking days to respond to an email from someone who has offered helpful information. If this sounds like anything you could be guilty of, please rethink what you need and what you expect. Your demonstration of urgency is far more likely to gain the help of others, and your excitement to respond to an employer’s need may put you ahead of the pack. Waiting until you are done with your long weekend or vacation, or procrastinating while you “think about it,” could make your response no longer relevant.

Finally, if you are simply stuck, get help. Don’t languish in your own confusion. The clock is ticking.


Fuel your job search with a goal and a sense of urgency

November 1st, 2014 by Sherri Edwards in Business, Individual

If the last bus was leaving in two minutes and you were still contemplating where you were going, how long would it take you to make a decision whether to get on that bus? If you did get on the bus, what’s the likelihood you would be on the right bus headed in the right direction? It seems to me that most people would no sooner jump on a bus without a destination in mind than drive with their eyes closed. Why, then, do people engage in a job search without a target or a plan, and without a sense of urgency, expecting the outcome to miraculously meet all of their needs?

Goals_11-1-14_RM BlogThere are two issues I typically run across when someone comes to me for help with a stalled or unsuccessful search: They don’t have a plan and they have been relying solely on job postings to determine where they will work. Often they’ve also waited until they are on their last dime to hunt for work, and for them, it is miles beyond the last bus stop. Looking for work without a plan or being lackadaisical about your approach can extend the length of your search unnecessarily. A passive approach and a lack of urgency can lead people off track.

The “any job will do” notion has outlived its time. What you do for work has to be attached to your values and your life goals. Finding satisfying work that meets all of your needs requires a strategy and a plan, along with considerably more information than what may appear in a job posting.

Applying for posted jobs may lead to an interview, but without a solid understanding of the employer’s needs and a plausible story for why you want to work there, the interview is not likely to lead to an offer. Even if the interview does result in an offer of employment, it can just as easily lead to a new misery. Without context for the role and knowledge of the circumstances — e.g., company dynamics, internal politics, unspoken expectations or difficult personalities— the candidate could be walking into a snake pit.

An improved economy does not necessarily mean that everyone can be employed in their dream jobs or that getting a great job is easy. It takes a goal, a plan, a commitment to working the plan and a sense of urgency to come close to finding the “perfect” job. It also takes resiliency to weather the disappointments that can arise and flexibility to adjust your plan when it isn’t working.

An improved economy does not necessarily mean that everyone can be employed in their dream jobs or that getting a great job is easy.

Blaming the economy or job market for your unemployment or passively waiting around for your ideal job to materialize won’t change anything. Changing your approach can make a big difference in the results you get.