It’s tough not to be inspired by the Olympic athletes. I have been keeping a running list of topics that seem like perfect “career” messages for job seekers. Without fail, they are the type of messages that have to do with “keeping your head in the game,” “persevering despite all obstacles,” “overcoming significant challenges” and “fortitude, endurance and courage.”
Have you considered how many athletes are at the Olympics who don’t have much of a chance of distinguishing themselves in their sport? With over 5000 athletes and only several hundred medals to be awarded, the chances of winning are pretty slim for the majority of the participants. However, they come and try their hardest to make themselves and their countries proud of their efforts.
Lucky for job seekers, your chances are much better! I don’t mean the ratio of jobs to applicants (as that really depends on your situation), or the statistical chances of landing a job. I’m thinking of the percentage of your job search that is in your hands.
To consider in the category of “be glad job search is not an Olympic sport”
Think about the partner sports…It’s you and one other person. You need to rely on your partner to keep up his or her end. An injury, a mistake on that person’s part, and the pair’s Olympic dreams can go up in smoke. Wouldn’t you hate it if you had to job search in pairs?
How about if a bad interview meant you needed to wait 4 years for another try? How many stories are out there of Olympians who had an injury or a bad run in Torino. Think about Hannah Kearney, who won a gold medal in women’s moguls last week after failing to qualify four years ago, even though she was the defending world champion.
What about the margin of victories? A tweet from @resumestrategy noted: Difference between 1st and 13th in the men’s giant slolom: 9/10th of a second -> talk about difficult performance metrics. It seems almost cruel that people work their whole lives and their dream can be lost in such a small margin. Granted, they chose a sport and know the stakes. But, so many sports involve outside influences beyond the athlete’s control, it is amazing that so many people devote themselves to it.
I know that many job seekers will read these thoughts and think – this is JUST like job search – things turn on a dime, control lies elsewhere and all you can do is hold your breath and hope. I take a different approach. I really believe job seekers CAN and DO control their own destinies, and that there is much about the search that is in the job seekers’ hands. Yes, there are “judges” (interviewers) and there are sometimes small margins of difference between you and the next candidate, but comparatively speaking, I believe your hard work and dedication to your career and job search is much more in your control than you may think!
In the category of – “this may inspire you”
Did you hear the story of Chinese figure skaters, Shen Xue and Zhao Honbo? They came out of retirement to win the gold medal in pairs figure skating that eluded them. Married, they have been living dormatory style and training, putting “real life” on hold At 31 and 36, they are ancient by skating standards.Ã‚Â They remind us that “what you do in-between” is important. So true – job search, similarly, is not really something that you should be doing only when you are looking for a job. It is equally important to manage your career and your time “in between.”
Who did not hear the heartbreaking story of Joannie Rochette, the figure skater from Canada? Her mother died of a heart attack on the day she and Joannie’s father arrived at the Olympics. Joannie skated beautiful programs in spite of her grief and won a bronze medal. Grace under pressure seems an understatement – an athlete favored to possibly win the gold, with the hopes of her country riding on her shoulders…She still managed to skate well and make the most of her Olympic experience.
Don’t forget about the men’s figure skater gold medalist, Evan Lysacek. When asked in an interview what he had given up to achieve his gold medal dream, he paused, took a breath and replied, “Everything.” Wow…The commitment and endurance it took for Evan to put his life on hold to pursue a dream…A slippery one (no pun intended), that relies on talent, effort, and – let’s be honest – a little luck.
Keep some of these stories in mind the next time you get discouraged about your job search…I hope they will inspire you to keep going with gusto!
photo by selihpxe8