December 28, 2009

New Year’s Provides Clean Job Search Slate

I love the New Year. January 1 is my favorite holiday for all the reasons you can imagine: No obligations, no family get-togethers, no gifts to purchase, no fancy dinner to cook.

Just a long, lazy day when no one expects to find you home.

I also love New Year’s for the clean slate it presents. New calendars, new schedules, new opportunities to do things right. Living in Minnesota, I get to experience this newness viscerally – right outside my door is a three-foot blanket of snow, glistening and fresh. And, just to make sure I’m paying attention, right under my feet when I exit that door is a skim-coat of ice, treacherous and slick. If you don’t fall on your rear at least once a winter around here, you’re not getting out enough.

You could say that about job search too, I suppose, or about any task that presents a high expectation of temporary setbacks. As a job seeker told me a few weeks ago, if you’re comfortable in your job search, it’s probably not working. What he meant was that feeling comfortable is probably an indicator that you’re not trying hard enough, or that you’ve settled into a pattern. Comfort is the antithesis of growth and progress.

That’s not a bad maxim to carry into life, I think. And the new year is a good time to apply it. So, let’s see: Are you comfortable with your … finances, spirituality, physical condition, career path, social life, work performance … fill in any category that occurs to you.

If your answer was “no” for one or more categories, how uncomfortable are you? Slightly? Very? Completely miserable?

Using the “discomfort creates progress” theory, you might be in luck if your misery meter is twitching on the high side. This could be your year to zoom forward in some category where you’ve been stalled.

New Year’s is a time of renewal and progress, a time for sleeping bears to stir in their sleep. Look at your list of discomforts, including how to find a job for 2010 and beyond, and pick the worst one. Now envision your life with this problem solved. Draw that picture or store it somehow for inspiration in the year ahead. You’ll need the encouragement for all the times you’re about to slip on the ice. Don’t let the ice keep you inside, though – just put on enough padding and get started on your journey.

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