It is all too easy, and believe me I speak from personal experience, to sit in front of (or is it behind?) your computer all day, surf Internet job boards, fill out a few online applications for employment and convince yourself that you’re actually ‘looking for work’ and ‘trying to find a job’. But, if we’re honest with ourselves we know that we could in fact be doing much, much more and spending our time far more productively when searching for a new position in these tough times.
This ‘passive’ approach to the job search is linked, I think, with an attitude (which we need to dispense with immediately) that the old rules of the workplace, career and job security still apply and that if we simply play by these tried-and-true regulations we’re sure to land a peachy position with a fat paycheque and not-too-onerous duties. But you and I both know this is b*llshit!
As Seth Godin says frequently, what had previously seemed safe – working for a decades (or century or more) old company, keeping your head down and attempting to blend in and performing at a level that is ‘good enough’ but far from exceptional – is now the risky approach because you’re so much like everyone else. When it comes time for a firm to start cutting staff you want to stand-out rather than be one of the faceless masses ripe for pink-slipping.
This translates over into job hunting as well. In fact, as this article from the Harvard Business Review (Find a Job Using Disruptive Innovation) suggests maybe it shouldn’t be called job hunting or job searching at all but rather job creating. Today, the prize seems increasingly to be going to those who have the guts, the skills and the insight to perceive (and take advantage of) the intersection between their particular talents and what the ‘market’ needs at this particular moment. I think you could certainly do worse than to follow the advice in the disruptive innovation article.
Susan Lewis took an unorthodox approach and instead of looking for a company to hire her set out to hire a boss for herself. She ended up with a job that was a perfect fit not to mention a ton of publicity. Chris Guillebeau’s recent blog post asks ‘Where is your security?’ further reinforcing Godin’s premise that safe is now risky and vice versa. Guillebeau’s solution is similar to that of the HBR article and he’s even offering a book – The $100 Startup – to show you how to do it.
But, you may protest, I’m not ready to take such drastic steps – I’m just looking for something to keep food in the cat’s bowl (and to not have to share it with her). Or maybe you have a job that’s far from a perfect fit but you’re pretty sure it’s a dumb idea to walk away from it in today’s economic climate. Then have a look over the website of Allan Bacon whose ‘Life Experiments’ gave him new perspective on not only his work environment but how he could get more fulfilment out of his everyday experiences.