In Times of Job Uncertainy…Posted: May 18, 2009
Don’t run (or search) scared .
As scary as it can be to have no clear idea of what is next job-wise, I believe the worst thing you can do is engage in a mad dash for security by taking the next job that presents itself.
I get it because I’ve been there.
It’s comforting to have a title, “college student,” law student”, “summer associate,” etc., that, by our societal standards means you’re doing “all right.”
However, attaching yourself to the first thing that is available while quelling short-term anxieties, only does a disservice to you in the long-run.
The feelings of anxiety are tied to fear, which in certain circumstances will save you, but not in guiding your career.
Fear is firmly rooted in emotion and not common sense. For example, when I was seven I spent the summer taking swimming lessons. The night before we started learning to dive in the deep end I watched Jaws.
Now having spent nearly all summer in that pool I knew, logically, there was nothing lurking beneath the water. Still when I jumped off the diving board and into the 12 feet of water beneath me believe I was up and out of the pool before the swim instructor could help me out.
Fear is an effective tool to survive, not necessarily to succeed.
Relax, Realign, Focus and GO!
Everyone has their process for approaching challenges in their lives. I have found in times of uncertainty, in school and in my burgeoning professional life, these steps have aided me.
When I am relaxed I am not reactive. Meaning I’m not simply moving my legs because I’m being pushed. Being relaxed means you’re more likely to see things objectively and not on the worst case scenario.
When I know clearly what challenges are before me and my mind is cleared, I can then move to asses the best course of action or actions and move accordingly. Often this means taking a hard look at your core goals and adjusting where necessary (Note: Not giving up, but shifting priorities).
During my senior year at Wake Forest I was advised that it is best to view the goals in your life in a non-linear fashion. That is, don’t assume because you get to point A that point B is next. You may have to go to Point C first and then detour back.
To borrow a business term you must maintain operational flexibility. Fairness in life is a myth. The world is not a fair place, and you cannot expect things to happen the way and time you want them to go. Remaining static in the face of uncertainty is like a deer caught in head lights. The deer should move, but fear freezes it in place.
Realignment is a necessity for career survival.
With a clear picture of the situation the task now moves to focusing on implementing action to overcome, or a the very least, weather the storm.
Then you move. Don’t get hampered by over thinking the situation. Often people get caught up waiting for the “right” moment when that moment was NOW. At some point you do have to make a decision and GO!