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Matt's Editorials: Sailing is a Metaphor for Life

Confusing tools with a cure

I saw an article several years ago that went on at length about the dissatisfaction folks had with outplacement firms.

While I’m not a big fan of everything outplacement firms teach, it is vitally important that anyone who wants to work until THEY want to stop learn about this whole job search thing. It’s not that outplacement firms do a bad job, it is more that they don’t exist to find you a job, because they CAN’T. No one can find you a job except you.

All that anyone can do for you, if you are a job seeker, is help educate you on the process.

In part, I think the reason people over value job leads is that they are viewed as a solution, when in fact, it is more likely they are a dead end.

Job search is a lifetime activity. It unfortunately isn’t a one time event. As I say frequently, all jobs are temporary. Just look at your own resume. And, you are never actually working, you are just between searches.

Those among us who do consulting work know the truth about work. We always have to be scouting out that next assignment WHILE we are fully engaged on a current one. If there is one thing I would like all of our members to understand, it is the need to LEARN the job search process and always be doing it.

There is no cure or ultimate solution for what ails you. All solutions for job search are temporary solutions. So, don’t beat up on the outplacement firms. Perhaps they have oversold the value of their product. That said, the major firms do a pretty good job of getting you focused on the process and if you have been fortunate enough, provide you with a place to hang your hat for a period of time.

Once you have been though their educational process, you are ready for the big time. The big time is further educating yourself by reading EVERY book you can find on the subject that you can fit into your schedule. Don’t make it a substitute for finding a job, but you will find inspiration for your daily activities. Rereading books is also a good idea. It is often the case that you are not ready to receive some of the ideas presented early in your search.

Our newsletter provides a daily dose of ideas and inspiration, but I would never claim it is a cure.

The cure for this job search thing lies within you. You are an educated professional. Consider how you acquired all of your knowledge and experience and how hard it was. The tools for success in job search are far easier to learn than anything in your technical areas of expertise.

So have at it and go to it. Success is within your grasp. Just don’t confuse the fine tools you have available with a final solution. There isn’t one anyway.

Regards, Matt

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