Hey, Long-Term Jobseekers…Humble Up!
So how’s that job hunting advice you’re getting from every corner of the world working out for you? There are so many “experts” out there telling you how to find a job it must make you sick. And I bet most of the advice you’ve been given you already knew…’cause you’re smart, because you’ve looked for jobs before, and because you’re used to being employed. So check it out: Your challenge finding a job has very little to do with your qualifications and experiences; it most likely has nothing to do with how you’re interviewing or how your resume looks; and it’s certainly not because you’re not trying; in fact, you’ve been hustling your ass off. So WTF? Well I think it really just comes down to one thing: The odds are against you, my unemployed friend. And you unfortunately have very little control over those odds. Sure, you can increase your chances…and you should definitely keep working it. But there are just too many people out there looking for work right now. So here’s what I have to say – and I know I’m going to catch some heat for this one:
Suck it up, tighten your chin strap, and pray for some humility. You may not ever get back the job you once had…the job you really want. So do something else…anything…just do it, though. Ever wanted to learn a trade? Become an electrician, become a plumber…they make coin. Always wanted to travel? Get your truck hauler’s license and jump the big rig. Do you support a cause, have passion for a not-for-profit? Offer your services to them at a rate that doesn’t even come close to “market.” Were you a Director? Apply for Senior Manager roles, or even Manager roles. Worried about degradation? There is no such thing right now. If it were me, I’d go work at Starbucks, or Boarders, or Home Depot. Shit, I’d flip burgers or wash dishes at Denny’s if I had to. And don’t tell me that’s “easy for you to say because you have a job.” Bullshit! I’ve washed dishes before and it’s good honest work. It doesn’t pay diddly, but it pays a hell of a lot more than what ever you’re making sitting at home watching Ellen.
What’s the worst that can happen? You make some money, you get out the house, you get some benefits. I’m sure you realize this, but the longer you’re unemployed the more your social and mental health will deteriorate (see recent article, “How a New Jobless Era Will Transform America”, in The Atlantic). Your pride is also getting in the way of the economy’s recovery. Your continued dip into savings doesn’t help anything – any wage you earn, irrespective of how small, stimulates the very fabric of our economic engine. Hell, you might even learn something about yourself in your new endeavor that’s powerful in ways you never imagined. But above all else, you will have something to show for your time away – your time “in transition.” You’ll show your determination, your spirit, and your humility. And those are all great competencies for a prospective job candidate in my book.