Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Boring, boring, boring...wham!

Looking for a job is, too often, like this:

boring, boring, boring...wham!

It is not usually fun to look for a job. It's exhausting and boring.

Exhausting because you must constantly engage your imagination to project yourself into a job in a place that you may or may not know well. You have to imagine your desk, your colleagues, the window in your office, the cafeteria, your boss, the Human Resources Department, the parking lot/public transportation, your salary, and what you will actually do each day.

Until you do all this brain work, you can't write an effective cover letter or resume, and you can't be part of a successful interview. It's an exhausting process.

It's also boring. All job seaches have long stretches where nothing much happens. You research companies, organizations and institutions. You pinpoint jobs. You think hard about what the job might look like.You tailor your written communications accordingly. Then you wait. That's boring.

In spite of the boredom, you keep at it. More research, more communications, and on and on, with very little feedback and no real end in sight.

Until...wham! A sign of interest! An email or text message, a job interview appointment, a job offer! When something finally happens, it often happens so quickly that you can hardly think straight. That's why you spent so much time in the imagination phase--to be mentally prepared for fast action when the time is right.

So looking for a job is always not exactly fun. It's a bit easier if you have a specific organization in mind, one that you already know something about or where a friend is working. These situations make it less exhausting and boring, thought you still have to wait for the wham to hit.

Sara had a very fortunate job seach experience a few months ago. She was asked to work as a consultant in a school for two months, giving her the chance to know and be known by the school. Then she got a job offer from the school; she skipped the exhausting and boring parts, and went straight for the wham.

You can do the same thing by volunteering or interning in an organization that interests you. It's a whole lot easier to imagine yourself somewhere when you actually know what that somewhere looks like!

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