Oh to be Young and Foolish! Finding Work in a Tough Environment.
May 29, 2017
Oh to be young and foolish, or at least to have a good excuse for doing something unexpected. When was the last time you dared to stretch your limits or boundaries? (Beer pong would not count in this instance.) I am talking about massive, life changing, career risks. Are you enjoying what you do? What would you do differently with your career if given the chance? Well, I have good news and bad news: The good news is you do not need someone to give you a chance. The bad news is you have to do it for yourself. Today I am considering the courage (or stupidity) it has taken to start my business as well as examining roads less traveled for a while.
At this moment for me, all roads seem extremely well covered! I spend my life zig zagging across the globe and love what I do and learn every day. I speak to a lot of young people just starting out in business and they say things like, “Your job is so fun! I would like to do what you do.” My reply is often something like, “It is fun, however you have to work 12 to 14 hours almost every day, be willing to travel at a pace most people call stupid, and be an expert in something that makes people want to hear what you have to say.” After that I get a crestfallen, “Oh.” Then I say, “If you work you will get there. In the meantime, here is my advice…”
I too was young once (and even remember a little). I once approached a General Manager I admired and said, “I think your life is amazing, and I am so jealous!” He looked me in the eye and said, “Don’t be jealous Kate, earn it.” He was completely right and I continue to earn the life I want -22 years later.
Below are excerpts from emails I have written to college graduates and moms looking for that perfect “first grown up job” or “after baby career return.” It is advice I should have taken myself so if this can help you or someone you know, please pass it on.
What employers are looking for is work experience, then skills (computer, language, or other technical knowledge), then school.
Do not worry about making everything perfect on your résumé, or even finding the perfect job right away. In this market, I suggest doing what is needed to become employed, which means a lot of pavement pounding and applying EVERYWHERE. If you decide you hate the position you get, stick it out while looking for something else. Everything is a learning experience in the beginning. What you are doing is finding your right path through trial and error.
Update your Facebook and LinkedIn profiles so that they work for you. Prospective employers will look you up so be sure that they find your information and it looks professional. LinkedIn is the best way to search for jobs and contacts in your field. Set yourself up (if you have not done so already) with a free profile and use the advanced search techniques to find people you want to meet. Build your contact database and don’t get discouraged. It takes time to get your reputation and career where you want to be.
For people returning to work: Have a valid reason for gaps in your career and be proud or ready to discuss those gaps in an interview.
Think carefully about completely changing gears from one career to another – understand why you are making this choice – the time to “try something new, make more money, or find yourself” should be an internal dialogue in your head, NOT in an interview.
If you chose to do something different from your previous career path or have been out of work for a long time, be ready to take a step backwards in title and salary. This trade-off for changing lanes is a great test to see what you are willing and able to do.
Read my older blog on what to wear in a job interview: “What your clothing says about you” so you are not dismissed on sight.
Keep following your dreams but work to make things happen. A thoughtful approach to a career is a never-ending process but it adds value to the years you will spend working.