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Job Seeker: Be Patient Even When You Think You Can’t

patience

By Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter

It is amazing the patience you learn when you don’t want to be patient.

Buying a house and landing a new job are two life-altering events where your patience is tested, sometimes to exhaustion.

  • Buying a house requires you create a financial resume to support you through the extensive approval process. This means amassing a volume of personal documents that are assessed by critical eyes. Your history of financial achievements and perhaps even a few missteps are splayed out for the financial interviewer to review.
  • Similarly, in job search, you are required to deep-dive into your past achievements and other career stories that put a spotlight on what you did well, and what you didn’t do so well at your current and past jobs. You create a resume story that, if polished and buffed, will make your accomplishments take center stage and downplay flaws, job gaps or other inconsistencies in your track record.
  • Buying a house requires you to be interviewed by financial institutions to a level of scrutiny you may not have endured for years, or ever, if you are a first-time home purchaser. Your ability to be authentic and truthful without over-sharing (i.e., inviting concern) about your own areas of insecurity are vital to build confidence with your home lender while also keeping the interview process chugging along. Even so, you may not be successful in the first round of interviews. You may even realize you need to take more time to shore up resources and your financial portfolio before you invest in your home transition.
  • Similarly, job seekers undergo an often grueling interview process, being hammered by unusual and mind-splitting questions that will make even the most confident cool person squirm. An interviewer’s knack for asking you about job details that you haven’t thought about in months, or even years, may spur beads of sweat on your normally coiffed brow. You may even leave the interview wondering what the heck happened and feeling that you are so under-qualified for the opportunity that you may as well give up. Instead, though, a rough interview patch often is just a clear signal to adjust your sails and plot out a new course.
  • Buying a house requires you to interview homes, and once you’ve found a fit, to negotiate an offer. This back-and-forth dance is expected, but stressful. The seller wants to feel he is getting what the house is worth; the buyer doesn’t want to pay more than it’s worth. If either the buyer or seller feels their needs are not met, they walk. If this happens, the grueling house interview process begins anew.
  • Once a job seeker has encountered a mutually amenable job opportunity, a salary offer is made. If done well, the negotiation tango begins and concludes with just the right finesse to ensure both the job seeker and hiring decision maker feel they won, or that they at least were treated fairly and gained needed value in the end. If this balance isn’t struck, generally the two parties part ways and begin their searches anew.
  • When buying a home, even after the offer is made and accepted, a third-party lender must reference check the purchase through a rigorous appraisal and surveying process. So, even when the buyer and seller have decided this is a marriage made in heaven, the deal could still be squelched. Alternatively, this arm of the process may serve to propel the process forward.
  • Similarly, job seekers and hiring decision makers may determine a durable connection that they are eager to act upon only to be impeded by those pesky background and reference checks that have a reputation for being able to turn a “yes” into a “no,” or vice versa, reinforcing the decision to go forward.
  • Buying a house requires patience that often is tested once, tested twice and tested multiply until the buyer feels he can be tested no more. But then you awake, feeling anew, and continue tilling the soil aspiring to create the home garden of your dreams, with hope and determination. Eventually, with tenacity and a bit of patience, you achieve your ultimate goal. What you initially thought would be a one- or two-month house-purchasing journey may have turned into several months, or even a year or more to arrive at your new destination. 
  • Similarly, job seekers often go feet-first into the job-change process without a full understanding of the complexity and rough seas you may encounter. What may seem like it should be a straight course from shore to new shore is wrought with storms, winds and navigational challenges like none you have ever faced. Even if you are not initially prepared for the choppy waters of job search, respond to the storms with a tenacious attitude, weave in a bit of positivity and move ahead, with as much grace and calm as you can. Despite the storms, you WILL reach your new job-search shore!

Jimmy Buffett and Your Career

image: nolimitsyachts.com

By Robert P. Poindexter

‘Waiting for the sails to fill’ is a line from one of my favorite Jimmy Buffett songs. The image it conjures up can be applied to so many of the moments in life that require patience. Each time I hear this song, I am reminded of the days I’ve sat becalmed beneath sails hanging limp for want of a breeze, the only sound being the halyards slapping against the mast as they are upset by the rocking motion of the boat.

Usually during these times, I am constantly scanning the water’s surface for ‘cat paws.’ Those little ripples that cause such a contrast on the water also cause quite a contrast in my mood. My spirits are suddenly buoyed as I take my place at the controls and prepare for sweet release from the irons that have kept me motionless.

As the ‘paws’ draw closer, my sails begin to come alive. No longer hanging loose, they begin to flutter and eventually take shape as the boat heels to leeward, and a wake begins forming off the fantail. Suddenly, the music sounds sweeter, and life has new meaning for me.

If I were not willing to wait for the wind, I could have simply stowed my sails, started the engine and driven around the lake or back to the marina. But that wasn’t the point of being here to begin with.

If you are currently waiting for the wind to fill your career sails, I don’t have to tell how hard it is to be patient.

Before I ever venture out onto the water, I check my sails for tears and make sure the ropes and winches and other necessary equipment are up to the task. I liken this step to the resume review. What is it about this current resume that may be holding the client back? Are there holes that need to be patched? Is the structure strong enough to move the career? Is failure imminent if the wind (hiring process) gets too stiff?

Next comes moving the boat away from the dock and out of the marina. I use the engine here to position the boat in the wind and out of the way of any dangerous obstacles. This would be the worksheet part of the resume building process. The writer will take this worksheet and begin to maneuver the resume into the place it is most likely to catch career wind with enough leeway for a successful career search.

An extensive interview will help narrow down what direction the wind is coming from, and what direction the client would like to go.

Once all of these pieces are in place, you can start looking for the cat paws on your career waters.

As the blanks are filled in, the career sails begin to fill. This is when you take control and use that wind to your best advantage by steering your vessel towards success.

Be patient, be deliberate, be aware and be successful.

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