Thursday, September 17, 2009
What to Do When You've Run Off Into a Career Ditch
If I could leave you with one thought today, it would be this: You are a work in progress.
Rather you're trying to get a job, starting a new career, in mid-career, or thinking about retiring, you can never write the ending to your story. Because once you do, you lose sight of what you've accomplished and enthusiasm for what is still out there.
I see job seekers become demoralized when someone asks them, "So, what do you do?" They stammer around and then say something like, "Well, I used to be a pilot for a major airline, but I got laid off. And now there are no jobs and no one wants to hire me."
Or, I see people in mid-career who believe in this bad job market they are "stuck" in jobs that cause them to lose sleep and snap at their kids when they get home at night. Even those nearing retirement are sometimes on auto-pilot in the later days of their career, believing there's nothing new for them to learn, no new paths waiting to be explored.
Even some college graduates who can't get a job have lost confidence in their abilities, believing they have nothing special to offer employers.
To all of you I say: Don't write yourself off yet.
If you're a college graduate, it wasn't a piece of cake to get that degree was it? If you were a pilot, didn't it take thousands of hours of training and self-discipline to fly a plane? If you're mid-career, you didn't walk in off the street and get that job, did you?
Look at your past. Think back to what it felt like when you failed, and what you did to recover. Think about what it felt like when you succeeded -- what did it take for you to achieve that goal? Those are all abilities that are unique to you. No one else did exactly what you did in the same way.
What would your life have been like if you'd never had those experiences, those chapters in your life? That's how you need to look at your career: as chapters to be written, as a work that will progress with time.
Don't ever think your skills and abilities aren't worth telling others about, and that you don't have something worthwhile to offer. Once you show others you're ready to reach for the next experience with enthusiasm, they'll be more interested in helping you so they can see how the story turns out.
How do you keep yourself enthused about your career or job hunt?