As September hurtles towards October, I am turning a big corner for me. Not just the change of the weather and a calendar inching ever closer to my favorite holiday combination-All Hallows Eve and Dia de los Muertos. But also the end of my 3rd month of my career exploration. My outplacement service will conclude and I will be responsible for creating my own structure.
I really connected to Pulitzer Prize Winner Tim Page’s interview with Robert Siegel on “All Things Considered.” Page talked about his Asperger’s diagnosis in his book “Parallel Play.” In the interview he mentioned staring out the school window when the subject matter no longer interested him. And it struck me. Sometimes it only takes one statement. One sentence can capture an entire feeling that took decades to articulate.
I do not have Asperger’s, but I can completely relate to that inability to focus. Each of us is a completely special individual. My ex used to say “in a short bus way.” Well, truthfully, our baskets are all different, but yes we are many different kinds of basketcases. Following that metaphor, there’s the biblical admonition not to hide our lights under a basket, but to show God’s glory with our lights. I like to think of this as a diversity statement. The most obvious connection being “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” but deeper than that.
Each of us a flickering candle. With many flickering candles at once, the texture of the light is soothing and soft. It also means that someone is usually shining when someone else loses their flame to a sudden breeze and we can help relight each other’s candles. Without going too far into the land of metaphor, I return to the employment reality.
Anecdotally, I am seeing many help wanted signs. There is a part of me that wants to leap up and start applying. Then I stop and remember that there is a process now. Employers don’t just want workers, they want people who are really passionate about what they do.
Even though there’s a pet store opening up next to my home, I set foot in a pet store alone for the first time last Friday to get a doggie card for a friend’s dog. As in “Love me, love my dog.” Yes, so even though they are hiring, and I have the skills to be a manager, I really am not a pet person and thus not the person they want to hire.
Such examples remind me that I have a plan to stick to. One that is more successful than throwing applications at employers whose job it is to recognize that I have no interest in them or their company let alone their customers or their passion as a company. Research, network, research, follow-up, discipline.
Following a process for a job that has yet to be announced requires diligence and patience. Temptation lurks on job boards. But many of the jobs are obsolete the minute they are announced. How many of us have known people who were perfect for a job they were training for and being groomed for? All they had to do was wait for the job to be posted so that they could be applicant #1. The company had no intention of hiring anyone else, but was required to post the position.
That’s what it boils down to: discipline. My next phase is going to be about creating my own structure. Structure supports discipline. To get up in the morning, work out, and begin paddling my little boat through the tidal wave of details created by effective networking. The most important ingredient for successful discipline, structure and follow-through…Sleep.
Speaking of which, I have a very important mission tonight.