EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

As the sailing season begins here in Connecticut my thoughts more and more turn to sailing stories and how they might apply to job search and the management of your career. (Of course, I think about and read sailing stories all the time, but I digress.)

One of the great perils of sailing is falling overboard. I have 3 rules when sailing:

1. Don’t fall overboard
2. Don’t fall overboard
3. Don’t fall overboard

To ensure that this doesn’t happens, especially when sailing at night, I always wear a lifejacket when underway and at night I always clip on. I also clip on when the wind pipes up. No exceptions. These are also the rules for the crew at night. During the day, I don’t make anyone except the grandchildren wear lifejackets AND I have tethers for them that I insist they use. (They are also easier to keep track of that way. They can’t be more than 6 feet from where they are clipped on.)

The problem with falling in the water is that you are hard to retrieve. Yes, it can be done, but assuming you are injured when you fall overboard, you aren’t going to be all that much help to the rescue party. The worst part is that “Mighty Mouse” isn’t necessarily coming to save you. If you are not prepared to participate in your own survival, there isn’t a whole lot of hope.

Much the same is true having to abandon ship. The sailor’s rule is that you step up into a lifeboat. (I’ll let you think about that for a moment.) If your ship isn’t about to disappear under the waves, you are at all times best advised to stay with it. It is larger than you are and therefore easier to spot. Many ships of all sizes have been found floating months after someone panicked and demanded to be taken off by the Coast Guard. (In those cases, “Mighty Mouse” DID come to their rescue, but I wouldn’t count on it.)

If you have been out of work a long time, it is very easy to mentally give up. When your lifeboat has been adrift for a long time, it is easy to come to believe you will never be rescued. Even with unemployment so low now, I’m not going to tell you tonight that the job market is booming, but I will tell you that things ARE starting to pick up. Your ship might even be on the horizon.

What you need to do is shake off your fear of not surviving, pick yourself up and get yourself energized. It is vitally important that you look and feel like a winner. When jobs are again available in reasonable numbers, those who appear beaten won’t get them.

When survivors of shipwrecks are picked up, the rescuers can only have a small appreciation for what those wretched souls have been through. It is probably not worth your telling anyone about your experiences. You don’t want sympathy. You want a job.

Just as the darkest hour is just before dawn, storms end and job droughts end. Hopefully this job drought is now on its last legs. (And, hopefully you will remember to file your taxes on Monday.)

Regards, Matt

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