Hey, Long-Term Jobseekers…Humble Up!

So how’s that job hunting advice you’re getting from every corner of the world working out for you? There are so many “experts” out there telling you how to find a job it must make you sick.  And I bet most of the advice you’ve been given you already knew…’cause you’re smart, because you’ve looked for jobs before, and because you’re used to being employed.  So check it out: Your challenge finding a job has very little to do with your qualifications and experiences; it most likely has nothing to do with how you’re interviewing or how your resume looks;  and it’s certainly not because you’re not trying; in fact, you’ve been hustling your ass off.  So WTF? Well I think it really just comes down to one thing: The odds are against you, my unemployed friend. And you unfortunately have very little control over those odds.  Sure, you can increase your chances…and you should definitely keep working it.  But there are just too many people out there looking for work right now.  So here’s what I have to say – and I know I’m going to catch some heat for this one:

Suck it up, tighten your chin strap, and pray for some humility.  You may not ever get back the job you once had…the job you really want.  So do something else…anything…just do it, though.    Ever wanted to learn a trade? Become an electrician, become a plumber…they make coin.  Always wanted to travel? Get your truck hauler’s license and jump the big rig.  Do you support a cause, have passion for a not-for-profit? Offer your services to them at a rate that doesn’t even come close to ”market.”  Were you a Director? Apply for Senior Manager roles, or even Manager roles.  Worried about degradation?  There is no such thing right now.  If it were me, I’d go work at Starbucks, or Boarders, or Home Depot.  Shit, I’d flip burgers or wash dishes at Denny’s if I had to.  And don’t tell me that’s “easy for you to say because you have a job.” Bullshit!  I’ve washed dishes before and it’s good honest work.  It doesn’t pay diddly, but it pays a hell of a lot more than what ever you’re making sitting at home watching Ellen.

What’s the worst that can happen?  You make some money, you get out the house, you get some benefits.  I’m sure you realize this, but the longer you’re unemployed the more your social and mental health will deteriorate (see recent article, “How a New Jobless Era Will Transform America”, in The Atlantic).  Your pride is also getting in the way of the economy’s recovery.  Your continued dip into savings doesn’t help anything – any wage you earn, irrespective of how small, stimulates the very fabric of our economic engine.  Hell, you might even learn something about yourself in your new endeavor that’s powerful in ways you never imagined.  But above all else, you will have something to show for your time away – your time ”in transition.” You’ll show your determination, your spirit, and your humility.  And those are all great competencies for a prospective job candidate in my book.

5 Responses to Hey, Long-Term Jobseekers…Humble Up!
  1. Paul Smith
    March 5, 2010 | 1:41 pm

    Maybe a little harsh around the edges. But if they don’t like it…don’t come back to the fishbowl, is what I say.
    Aside from that, this reminds me of the advice I have always heard, “it’s easier to get a job, if you already have one.” I don’t know if this statistically accurate. But I think there is some validity to it. Recently my partner was out of work & unemployment was gone. He worked odd jobs until he landed what he wanted. These odd jobs were not perfect. But it kept him interviewing, interacting with others, some networking & tired from working. And since the jobs did not consume the whole day, he was available to interview at a moment’s notice. Essentially I think he was sharp and prepared so when the right opportunity came along, he was able to take it.
    Of course, he misses Days Of Our Lives and Wendy Williams show. But now that he’s working again, he can waste the money on a Tivo for those “intellectual” pursuits.

  2. Charlie Judy
    March 5, 2010 | 1:47 pm

    see, paul, that’s a perfect example. “odd jobs” suddenly don’t seem so “odd” any more. and you are absolutely right – much easier to get a job when you have one. i’ve always been a little “rough around the edges” and i gave up trying to file those sharp points down a long time ago (as have most who know and love me). thanks, as always, for the comments!

  3. thehrd
    March 8, 2010 | 3:20 am

    I’d add to this that msot great entrepreneurs have in their past a number of failed ventures. They didn’t sit and mope about it but got on with the next idea, starting small and working back up.

  4. Richard Blackburn
    June 21, 2010 | 1:22 pm

    On the whole I agree with all the points here.
    But I do think you’re missing one point – many employers won’t consider candidates (employed or otherwise) if they have more senior positions in their past. The employer thinks (probably correctly) that the individual will jump ship as soon as things pick up again.

  5. Charlie
    June 22, 2010 | 9:12 am

    @Richard – Thanks for the comment. I think this might be changing, though. Many employers see this as an opportunity to pick up talent they may not ordinarily have access to and many senior leaders, in turn, see this as an opportunity to “take a step back” and slow down a bit. If the two can link up, then it might work. It’s worth a try at least. Again, thanks for chiming in!

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