Friday, July 16, 2010
Your Career and You..."Keeping It in Perspective"
Today marks the end of a three-week "what the hell else can happen?" streak for my household.
Starting for my wife with a bout of shingles...proceeding to her drastically reduced sodium level that led to a sojourn in a hospital emergency room...and wrapping up with my own root canal today...I am tempted to think, as New Yorker editor Harold Ross reputedly did (according to Brendan Gill in his wonderful book "Here at the New Yorker"), that this was all because of "something I did to God."
There have been times like that in my own career progression, when things began to spin out of control and I felt like the world was coming to an end. I was tempted to think that, somehow, it was all my fault and this was the penance I had to pay.
Sent out 500 resumes and only got 3 responses? Been there; done that.
Went through three rounds of interviews and talked with close to a dozen team players, but nada? Yep, got that one checked off, too.
Finally I realized, as I have today as the Novocain wears off and I pop Advils like Cheerios, that it wasn't about me and it certainly wasn't my fault.
The 50o-resume episode? Early 90s, when the economy was in a shambles and everyone was hunkering down for the long run. Ditto the interview routine.
I've been in touch with recent graduates, both bachelor's degree at Curry College where I oversee the Public Relations concentration and teach most of the PR-specific courses, and master's degree at Regis College where I'm adjunct faculty teaching Conflict Resolution and Negotiation and Health Communication Management.
Some of them have landed great starting jobs, or have either moved up in their current workplace or moved on to a more challenging and rewarding position elsewhere.
Others are still looking...some for more than a year. The ones who have been looking the longest haven't been goofing off. They've been pounding the pavement while holding down temporary or part-time jobs...or internships...to keep the creative juices flowing and (to some extent) the money coming.
I assure them, as I have said in numerous previous posts, that things will get better, but it's going to take time. I also remind them that I'm tracking their progress because I believe in them and their capabilities.
I tell them that they have to keep things in perspective. It's still a crappy economy, and companies are going to move slowly and cautiously in their hiring...and they're not going to hire unless the short-term prospects of a positive revenue stream are good.
More than anything, I assure these talented men and women that they are not the only ones mired in this predicament. Some very senior professionals are in the same canoe. We've all been there at least once...some of us more than once!...and we survived and thrived.
Secrets? There are none.
Suggestions? Don't crawl into your shell and hide waiting for better days.
Stay out. Stay active. Talk to friends, colleagues, neighbors, whoever crosses your path. Communicate like you've never communicated before.
Better times are ahead, and opportunities will arise. If you believe in yourself, and you believe that you have the skills and talents that are going to be of value to the right employer...it will happen.
"We have only to believe. And the more threatening and irreducible reality appears, the more firmly and desperately must we believe. Then, little by little, we shall see the universal horror unbend, and then smile upon us, and then take us in its more than human arms." Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, "The Divine Milieu"