Monday, July 30, 2012

Your Career and You: "It's about 'Time'"

The Rolling Stones had a great hit in the ‘60s called “Time is on my side.” It was all about “the world is my oyster and sooner or later things will go my way.”

Good concept. Bad for the working world…especially for those who are (or should be) looking for jobs/internships.

I’m constantly on my undergraduate Communication students at Curry College, where I head the Public Relations Concentration and teach most of the PR courses, as well as my graduate students at Regis College, where I teach in the graduate Organizational and Professional Communication area, to act now.

Take the ol' bull by the horns. Don’t wait for someone else to make the first move.

What brought this to mind was, in the course of one week, receiving four different messages from four different students in which timing has been or will be a factor in the outcome of their efforts.

1.    One student asked for help drafting an internship application letter.
2.    One student wanted to meet to discuss some internship opportunities.
3.    One student wanted to meet to schedule a “catch-up-on-life” meeting.
4.    One student was following up on internship application progress.

“Exhibit A” took exactly one week to respond to my suggestions on the letter.

“Exhibit B” hasn’t responded…four days after asking to meet…to my response.

“Exhibit C”forgot” to check Facebook (on which the request was sent).

“Exhibit D” acted on my recommendations, applied for the internship, and has an interview scheduled.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist (or ditch digger…or school teacher) to figure out which of the above stands a snowball’s chance in Hades of realizing success.

The point to all this is that time…that elusive, fleeting, amorphous thing that is always looking over our shoulder and is never around when needed…is a major player in life’s successes.

The annoying thing about time is that it doesn’t sit around waiting for you to act. It moves on.

And, if you don’t make your own move, you will be a fading memory in time’s rearview mirror.

Thomas Jefferson…one of history’s master time-users…came up with this take on time: Never put off tomorrow what you can do today.”

“Today,” of course, has morphed into a nearly unrecognizable concept with the advent of intercontinental, interactive communication. When I write to my niece in Taipei today, it’s already tomorrow for her…which makes wishing a “Happy Birthday” a bit of a trick!

But we’re talking about here and now…your response or reaction to a situation.

I’m absolutely not suggesting kneejerk responses. But I am suggesting…when the situation arises…that you start thinking about what you'll do…and start planning your response.

Then…act…immediately if possible (and feasible) but at least within 24 hours…unless there are some really complicating factors.

The point (again) is that someone on the other end of the communication loop is waiting to hear/see what you think/are going to do.

In some cases, they can’t act until they know what you are going to do.

In other cases, they’re not going to act until they hear from you.

Think about this if you’re applying for a job or an internship.

“Often do the spirits
Of great events stride on before the events.
And in today already walks tomorrow.”
Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller
“Wallenstein,” [1799-1800] pt. II, act V, sc. i

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