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In Between Employment: From Apathy to Opportunity – Part I

In Eclipse on October 15, 2009 at 2:11 pm

With recent unemployment rates spiking to ten percent, many job seekers have adopted the question, “Why did this happen to me?”  Times of my job searching have been filled with frantic behaviors, compulsive online applications, disregarding positions for paychecks and choosing shallow reading over research.  Some people may find themselves unemployed and desperately seeking their next position.  Others of you may be in a job and would like to create a plan to start something new.  In this series of posts, I will share movements that can transform us in the job search process.

From Apathy to Opportunity

“What do you want to do?”  It is a common starting question to a job search or job transition.  How many of us find ourselves responding, “I don’t know” or “I’m not sure”?  I am familiar with both of these phrases.  At times, I have used them to avoid the question.  Essentially, my response suggests, “Don’t look too closely at me…there is nothing interesting here.  There is nothing to be amazed about.  I’m no one special.”  Funny, how we can avoid the question with our apathy, and yet we also long for it.  Consider the following quotation from Marianne Williamson:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.”

So, let’s suppose for just a minute that a response of “I don’t know” is a beacon.  It is a flashing light on a dashboard or an alarm going off in an empty hallway.  Let’s suppose that “I don’t know” is an invitation to wonder about ourselves.  What keeps me from being fascinated about my unique interests in life?  In his book, What Color is My Parachute?, Richard Bolles writes, “Most employers believe that the way I’m job hunting is the way I’ll work.”  If that is true, then our indifference will speak volumes to future employers.

How can we shift from being indifferent to seeing opportunity?  This may be a resourceful question.  Rather than considering ourselves as merely unemployed (or unhappily employed), we can shift to being ‘In transition’.  Our current situation, however frustrated and anxious we may be (believe me, I relate), can actually be an opportunity to get clear on our passions and the skill sets we want to use in our next position.

In the spirit of resourcefulness, I’ve compiled the following list as a starting point.  These are some resources available to help you get clear on next steps in career:

Resources
Career Counselors
Community in which you are involved
Social networks (Facebook, Linked-In, Blogs, Twitter, Websites)
Your imagination/visualization
Your body (gives feedback about the activity/work in which you are involved)  Tense?  Anxious?  What is your body telling you?

Art
Literature
Favorite Paintings
Music
Plays
Film

Books
Interest Inventories
Personality Profiles
Career Outlook Resources
Newspapers
Classifieds
Interest group websites
Local offerings

Institutions
Library career resources
Family Members
Previous employers
Churches/Religious groups
Organizations/Hobby groups
Previous employers – feedback about what you did well
Pastors, Teachers, Instructors that know you
Local Community Colleges

Listen to what inspires you.  Notice places where you love spending time.  Observe who you enjoy partnering/working with.  This shift from apathy to opportunity will leave you with a greater sense of urgency.  In the next post we will explore the shift from Inaction to Momentum.

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