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A job is a point in time.  A career is an investment over a lifetime.

Heightened anxiety, stress, fear, and depression are expected emotions for people under the stressors of what I will loosely call “employment failure.”  To explain, employment failure comes in one of several nuanced packages:

  • I don’t like my job.  I am disengaged but haven’t left yet.
  • I hate the work but love the people and/or the pay.
  • My performance is poor and my supervisor is beginning to push me to get better.
  • The company is in trouble and the job is in jeopardy by issues beyond my control.
  • I got fired.
  • I quit.

When we find ourselves in any of these employment failure scenarios, we generally respond by looking at the employment posts and boards and throwing our resume on ANYTHING that moves.  I asked one coaching client I worked with how many resumes he was putting out each week.  With pride, he said, “50.”  After picking my chin up off the floor I asked him to sign an agreement with me that he would STOP that immediately.  He changed his mind set to career versus job, and he was employed in a high professional job within about five months.

Evaluate what your PERFECT JOB looks like within the trajectory of your IDEAL CAREER PATH

Career mind-set demands that, before we ever look at the job boards, we have a definitive description of the perfect job we are seeking.  Conditions, geography, hours of work, type of work, pay and benefits, culture of the employer are all factors that must be carefully described.  This also includes a listing of preferred employers and the list of employers that are must-avoids.

Once that is done, a question screen is developed that prioritizes all the elements necessary in a possible job opportunity.

Then the trip to the employment ads can begin.  With question screen in hand, candidates can carefully select the best opportunities that complement their desired career path.  Picking no more than three, they can spend the six to 10 hours researching the company, customizing letter of application and resume, and preparing their network of people for the “perfect fit” of references they will include in their application.

By this detailed customization, they can get their high-quality resume to the top of the pile.  Then they can sell themselves in an interview.

Even now I can’t image the life of my client the eight months before he came to me.  Fifty resumes a week.  Thirty-five of whom never called him back at all.  Fifteen “to bad, so sad” denials.  It must have been hell. Don’t waste your time or energy throwing things at the wall to see what sticks. Make an intentional investment in securing a well-fitting job that will guide you down a fruitful career path.

Next week, we will touch a bit on resiliency and keeping your wits about you.  As I have been quoted often saying, “when you are under stress, it bleeds out your pores.”  You must be at your best to do your best when on the hunt for the perfect job.

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Leading in the Moment is produced by Margaret Sumption of Sumption & Wyland. Margaret has over thirty-five years of experience assisting hospitals, nonprofits, and other organizations move their business forward. She is a popular, dynamic, and effective speaker for nonprofit professionals, associations, and policy makers. Margaret is frequently sought after as an executive coach, serving leaders in hospitals and nonprofit organizations.
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