One step at a time

Published on May 05, 2022 by Matt Bud, The FENG
Being Out of Work

Taking life one step at a time is never easy. There is something about tasks undone that are just plain hard to take. Still, eating an elephant is best done one bite at a time.

For those embarking on a job search, the number of things that need to be done can seem daunting. There are resumes to be written, networking lists to be developed, and knowledge to be acquired.

Unfortunately there is no one best way to get started. A lot depends on your current state and what “improvements” you need to make to ensure your campaign is successful.

I am a big fan of starting in the middle and working your way out to the sides. If you think about the component parts of a job search, each of them can be viewed as somewhat parallel tasks.

What I am suggesting here is to compartmentalize the tasks to be performed and work on each of them to some degree every day. What you are fighting here is the mental fatigue associated with effectively beating your head against a wall.

Let’s take that resume for example. Sure, you could spend days or weeks on it, writing and rewriting it. And, you probably need to. However, if you get it to a state where it is at least a competent document, you can put it aside for a week and work on one of the other tasks related to your job search. You will find that when you return to it you may even have a new perspective on it and some fresh ideas.

Even accumulating your networking contacts is a project to which you need to apply an initial burst of energy, but then you can put it aside for a day or two and “let it cook.” If you make phone calls to lots of folks on any one day, the return phone calls will likely be spread out over the next several. You just don’t want to be sitting there waiting for the phone to ring.

The knowledge required to do an effective job search is also a valuable activity and you need to set aside time for that as well. My all time favorite book and most frequently recommended is John Lucht’s “Rites of Passage.” If you are not familiar with this classic, go out and buy it. (It may be a little dated at this point, as John died in 2015, but there is still a lot of good stuff in it.)

The only problem with any of the books on job search is their length. Again, you really need to slog completely through whatever tome you select, but you will find that even the real page turners in this genre are not best read in one sitting.

In fact, it is my belief that you should make one quick pass through most of them and then go back into them and reread sections appropriate to what you are working on at the moment. John Lucht is quite clear in his book that he wants you to read it from cover to cover. I agree with that. I am only suggesting that you do it quickly to understand the breath of knowledge being transmitted, and go back to gain the depth.

Divide and conquer is always the best approach. Viewing anything as complex as job search as one task will make it appear overwhelming. Break it into bite size pieces and that elephant will disappear in short order. (However, be sure to have some Pepto-Bismol handy.)

Regards, Matt