Resiliency- How Do You Measure Up?
This has been a year filled with endings: banks failing, businesses closing their doors, homes going into foreclosure. Everyone has been impacted by the turbulence in the business world, and the need to adjust quickly is greater than ever. If we don’t learn another thing from the economic wake left behind, resiliency is a quality everyone needs to understand and develop to carry on in the years ahead.
The initial thought for this blog came about because of two events. The first to set me off was an article about consumers experiencing mortgage foreclosures. The people interviewed stated the “bank should have known better” than to loan them that much money because their debt to income ratio was so far off. That may be true, but isn’t there a need for someone to know what is reasonable for their own good, rather than allow a bank dictate what they should or shouldn’t do?
The 2nd event, in just so many hours, was an email I received from someone that had been traumatized by an interview. The candidate was so consumed by how awful the experience was and how badly they felt they had been treated, they were canceling attendance at events for the next month, and were still “not sure” how they would be feeling to attend an event six weeks away. It was difficult for me to imagine that an interview could be so paralyzing that it would be necessary to shut down for 4-6 weeks. (A death or great loss, maybe, but an interview?).
Naturally, there are two sides to every story. I happened to be familiar enough with the employer to give them a call and learn their perspective of how the interview had played out. The point I found interesting was that the employer reported the candidate had shown up 15 minutes late, and of course for the recruiter, that had set the tone for the interview to some degree. The employer did acknowledge that one of the others present during the interview was “an odd duck”, but they typically use the person in interviews to determine a candidate’s ability to deal with difficult people.
There were many other points about the interview the employer addressed that revealed it had not gone altogether that badly, including the fact that the employer had not closed the door on this candidate. The point that stuck in my mind most however, was that the candidate never mentioned having arrived late, but only spoke about how humiliated they had felt after the interview. When I mentioned the tardy arrival, it was dismissed as insignificant and the focus remained on the bad behavior of the interviewers. I don’t condone playing “victim”, and have little tolerance for those that won’t help themselves. So from my perspective, it became clear that it seemed easier to this candidate to evaluate what the employer had done wrong, than to admit to any teensy bit of culpability with their own behavior that could have contributed to the situation turning out as badly as they felt it had.
The point to this (rant?) is to address the need to develop resiliency and to learn to be accountable for one’s actions, whether it is about spending money or making money. Since I am not an expert on finance, I’ll address the latter issue, which relates to employment and re-employability. The following are areas to consider if you are either unemployed, facing a change in your current position or in the event your current position is eliminated,
Take responsibility. When things don’t go the way you intended, look for what you can do about things as they are from this point forward. Learn from your mistakes and take a different tact next time. Blaming someone else wastes time and energy and it does not fix the problem. Decide what you will do next to make things happen the way you want. Make sure your expectations are realistic, and do what you can to make things move in the right direction.
Build a strong network. This requires more than randomly adding contacts on LinkedIn. It means paying attention to others. Know what is important to them so you can be a resource before you need one. Ask your contacts what they are interested in, what they enjoy about their work (or don’t). If you are networked with insiders at the companies you are interested in, ask about strong personalities, political issues, and potential “land mines”.
Pay attention. Look around to your company’s other departments and to other companies. Read. Know about changes in your industry as they develop. Ask questions when you see contradictions. Visit companies long in advance of seeking employment with them. The interview should not be your only encounter with them before you make a decision about working there.
Get over yourself. If you have been doing the same things, the same way and not getting results, then perhaps something needs to change. I find that people are always happy to ask strangers about their resumes, and will make 57 changes to it before examining their total approach to their job search. It typically isn’t about the resume needing a change. It is their strategy (or lack of), attitude, and expectations behind the resume that typically need to be changed. When people offer assistance, listen to it. Before you decide you know more, deserve more, or are different than everyone else, determine what you actually have to lose by listening to others’ points of view and trying a different approach to what you are trying to obtain.
Adapt. Move forward when things change, rather than staying stuck in what you hope will last. Change your short term goals and stretch your long term goals. Staying stuck on only what you want, how you want to have it, when you want it, without taking into account outside occurrences that can influence your desired outcomes, leads to blaming and disappointment more frequently than when someone makes adjustments to adapt to the realities of the moment.
Learn new skills. Waiting until you are asked to learn something new means you have waited too long. Seek out opportunities to learn about advances in technology that would benefit your work performance. Be ahead of the curve, so if there is a lay off and a choice is to be made between you and others, you will be perceived as having greater value.
Stop whining and take action. The world isn’t a perfect place. Sitting still and expecting it to change for you is not only a time waster, but it is pretty unrealistic. If you have been left in the dust, lick your wounds, put a plan together and move on.
What about your approach needs changing to help you remain resilient in today’s economy?