July 29, 2011
What if this is an opportunity?
In my monthly career seminars, I ask who among the participants is unemployed. When most folks raise their hands, I congratulate them. Why? Because few people love what they do. If you're unemployed, this is your opportunity to find your dream job or create your ideal environment.
I had a client named Kevin who got a job two weeks into attending my boot camp. Six weeks later, he came back, looking defeated. I asked him what he was doing there, and he said, "I got laid off!" The company had run into a financial crisis and couldn't afford to pay Kevin or all the other new hires, so it let them go.
"That's not the worst part," he added. "When I got the offer, I actually had an offer from another company; I called them to see if that job was still on the table, and they said 'no.' So now I've lost two opportunities."
I asked Kevin, "What if this is an opportunity?"
Looking puzzled, he yelled: "I just lost two jobs! Why can't you be sympathetic and share my pain?"
I told him I did feel his pain, but I wanted to get him back on the right track. I asked him: "What do you want?"
He said he wanted to live on a beach -- maybe in Hawaii. I asked if his plan was realistic; he said, "Well, my house is paid for and both kids are gone. If my wife and I had nice jobs, I think we could pull it off."
So we got to work. Kevin found a former colleague on LinkedIn who was living and working in Hawaii. He discovered that the job market there wasn't as glamorous as he had hoped, but that there was an opening at his friend's company.
The internal referral put Kevin's résumé on top of the pile and got him an interview over Skype. Two interviews later, he offered to fly to Hawaii, knowing he couldn't build as much rapport over a webcam as he could in person. To maximize his trip, he reached out to similar companies there and set up informational interviews.
Long story short: Kevin got the job with his former colleague's company and is now living his dream.
Early this year, he called to let me know that he was asked to speak at the University of Hawaii on how to find a job out of state. During the speech, he finally understood my questions.
If you're reading this, chances are you're looking for work or a better position. What if this is an opportunity? What do you want? What is your dream?
finding your passion
Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl, a career guide based on her 59 jobs over 40 years in 22 cities.
Lisa Quast is a certified career coach, mentor, business consultant, former corporate executive and author based in the Seattle area.
Randy Woods writes about job-search tools, networking techniques and other tips to help you land your dream job.
Matt Youngquist is the president of Career Horizons, a career counseling firm.
Natalie Singer is a Seattle writer, editor and small-business owner.
Michelle Goodman is the author of "My So-Called Freelance Life" and "The Anti 9-to-5 Guide."
Paul Anderson helps professionals in transition find their desired employment.
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