For many executive professionals their latest job has been the job search itself. I have heard countless talented individuals complain how hard it is to stay motivated in their job search. This “job search” job doesn’t pay a salary, no commission, no draw against commission. This job can break you. But it can also build you up. Looking at the glass as half full, you have a new opportunity to reinvent yourself, discover skills you didn’t know you have and reconnect to the original vision that you had for yourself, only now you can do it with the experience of knowing what has worked and what hasn’t.
1) Start with an MPS (Meaning, Pleasure, Skills) Analysis as described by Harvard professor Dr Tal Ben-Shahar in his book, “Happier.
- “Make a list of all things that add meaning to your life. This is the “why” in your life. It is your belief system of what’s important. Perhaps you value family, or education, or innovation or health.
- Make a list of “what” activities you do that give you pleasure, either because they come natural or because you enjoy the challenge. For example, perhaps you enjoy playing guitar, or working out, or surfing the internet, or reading the wall street journal or teaching your kids how to cook.
- Make a list of “how” you best accomplish your goals, i.e. your skill sets. First list your technical skills. These are skills in which you have special training, expertise or have gained over time. Then, because we often cannot see ourselves objectively, ask others what they feel are your strongest soft skills. Do you listen attentively? Do you manage time efficiently? Are you empathetic? Are you a leader?
2) Know your job! Find the common thread between the three lists above and create a picture in your mind of the perfect job that incorporates all three areas; why you are who you are, what you enjoy doing, and how you best do it. Your new job is to find that job!
3) Start networking. One site I personally recommend is Meetup.com. Join a group with people who have similar values or hobbies as you. Join a networking group of professionals in the industry that you targeting. Don’t get stuck behind a computer. You are in sales now and business development is all about relationships. Spend your evenings researching on LinkedIn. Your days must be spent networking and meeting people with similar goals and ideas. Have a networking strategy.
4) Create a business card. Since so many jobs today are on a 1099 basis, I recommend having two cards. One is to be given out to promote your service as an independent contractor. If you continue to work on a consulting basis, this card may be the first step in branding your new consulting firm. The other card should be given out to promote your value as an employee, such as when you meet with recruiters or HR professionals. On VistaPrint you can design and order both cards at very reasonable prices. You can even add your picture, so people can match a name to a face, which I highly recommend on the card you give out for potential W2 work.
5) Keep an activity log for two weeks. Mark each action item (I color coordinate them through Google calendar) as either something that was urgent or discretionary. Some items may have been planned and some may have come up unexpectedly. Separate personal action items from work related tasks. Your activity log will have 4 colors. Mine looks like this:
- Red = urgent personal related (a doctors exam)
- Yellow = discretionary personal related (watching a movie)
- Green = urgent work related
- Blue = discretionary work related
(Since I have kids, I also use purple for kid related urgent events…being a parent is also a job)
Once you have an idea as to how you spend your time, you will be able to plan and manage your future time more efficiently and succeed at this new job. Note, that I consider sending out resumes to online job applications and writing this blog to be leisure activities. Networking and “staying in traffic”, as a friend of mine who makes a fortune in sales says, is top urgent.
6) A top urgent personal concern is your health, both mental and physical. Make time in your schedule to work out at least 45 minutes, three times a week. If you are pressed for money, I suggest you check into whether there is a Planet Fitness nearby. For $10 a month you can maintain tip top shape. That is a steal! For mental health, make sacred time to be with friends and family. Have a date night with your significant other. That is also top urgent personal time.
7) Form strategic alliances. Simply put, start helping others. Be of service to everyone you meet. Pay it forward. Say thank you when others send you a referral. When there is not a networking event, call someone and meet them for coffee at Starbucks and ask “how can I help you?” Even just going to Starbucks and using the free WiFi will get you out of the house and you would be surprised to see how many people go there just to meet people like you.
8) Get informed. Spend time reading. Knowledge is power. If you cannot afford an actual course, go to the library and get educated regarding your new mission. The more you learn, the more you can have an intelligent conversation, the more you can help others and the closer you get to actualize your vision for yourself.
The above steps will point you in a good direction. There will be rejection along the way and you may often hear lines such as “we are not deciding too quickly on how to proceed”. Do not take it personally or as a reflection of your worth. Middle management is overworked today and finding it hard to effectively fill positions. If it is a not for profit, trying to get the board of directors together to make a decision is often an exercise of frustration and logistics. Just keep doing your job, keep searching with a plan and the doors will open for you to be happier and more successful than you ever imagined.
A professional Strategic Planning Consultant can guide you through the initial process of your career transition. Abe Rotbart, founder and CEO of Creating8 has experience working with individuals and entrepreneurs helping them convert their dreams into reality. To contact Abe click here.
Written by Abe Rotbart. © Creating8, Inc 2014. All rights reserved.