Br’er Rabbit, the Tar Baby and Your Career
Issue 3 | Number 4 | 10 November 2012
Next week I find out where my career is heading - staying with my current employer or becoming one of those mature aged workers restarting their career after an organisational restructuring exercise. I was used to restructures as they were happening every 3-5 years and I did not have to worry about my future. Now, it is time to get focused.
Thanks to Antonio Neves founder of THINQACTION. I found this blog post that has become timely for myself and those other 14,000 looking for a new job. It is called “5-ways-to-get-through-that-rough-patch-before-you-find-a-job”. If you find yourself in this position, here are a few recommendations to get through this patch with Br’er Rabbit - and thrive when you come out of it:
1. Do what you got to do. Here’s the deal. Unless you have a trust fund or substantial savings, you may have to take a short-term job that you don’t necessarily love. Why? To pay the bills and get by until the job you do want arrives. During rough patches early in my career, I worked temp jobs, retail, catering gigs, bartending gigs and more. What I didn’t do was take a staff job that was “good enough.” Those are the jobs you can get stuck in, and before you know it, two years have passed and you realize you’re not doing what you want to do. In the interim, do what you got to do.
2. Get focused. This down time without a job is a great time to get focused and really identify exactly what type of career that you want to pursue. This includes defining your goals and vision for the life you want to lead, starting now. This is also a good time to identify what you don’t want.
3. Networking 101. Like OutKast rhymed, “You got to get up/get out and do something/don’t let the days of your life pass you by.” Do all you can to network, meet new people, conduct informational interviews and get your face out there. The key is not to seem desperate. People can smell desperation from a mile away. It’s all about exposure and creating value. Also, make sure your personal brand is in order with your website, resume and more.
4. Work for free. If paid work is hard to come by, one thing that isn’t is volunteer work. I can’t tell you how many projects I’ve worked on for free, and the payoff has been pretty awesome. These gigs led to paid gigs and the expanding of my network and influence. Plus, it helps to add current projects to your resume. For those of you with a solid professional background, check out pro bono opportunities with Catchafire. Craving meaningful work? Check out ReWork.
5. Grab a team of supporters. When you’re not working, it can be tough, so it’s important to have a good supporting cast around you. This is your team that support you and vice versa. If you find yourself down, reach out for encouragement and return the favor. A solid team will get you though a rough patch and by the way, they’re also good when the sun is shining.
So stay optimistic, stay focused and most importantly, be proactive. Lastly, do your best to have enjoy yourself during your job search. When you do land that job and are working like crazy, you’ll wish you enjoyed this downtime more.
Antonio Neves is a career coach, speaker and award-winning business journalist. He is the founder of THINQACTION where he works with young professionals to produce exceptional results in their careers.
If you find these updates useful, feel free to forward on to a work colleague or friend.
About the Author To fulfil his professional and personal career aspirations, Tony Wiggins created ‘The HR Architect’ brand in 2009. With a well-grounded focus and passion for HR, he thrives on working across his networks as a thought leader in ‘making a difference’ in the HR arena.
Tony Wiggins is the Founder and UX Editor of Saturday Shoutout!!!and The HR Architect Spends 5 Minutes with ….Tony utilises the blog ‘The HR Architect’ as a social media network and platform that empowers HR professionals to network, assist and support one another, spanning different countries, subcultures and niches.