Thursday, March 4, 2010

Safe Is The Risky Path For Candidates


Two days ago, I posted an article suggesting that job seekers take responsibility for their own search, rather than blame others, blame the economy, blame anyone but themselves (see: http://recareered.blogspot.com/2010/03/job-seekers-its-not-just-economy-its.html).


Sadly, I got many responses that just contained more whining, more blaming others, with not very many taking responsibility for their own job search.


I'm not alone in this observation. Seth Godin, one of the great marketing minds of our time, and author of 13 marketing books, has some interesting thoughts on taking the safe path.

Read more ...

Seth writes in his blog, discussing a recent trip to a college campus:

"It reminded me of my days as an undergrad (at a lesser school, natch), browsing through the catalog, realizing I could learn whatever I wanted. That not only could I take classes but I could start a business, organize a protest movement, live in a garret off campus, whatever. It was a tremendous gift, this ability to choose.

Yet most of my classmates refused to choose. Instead, they treated college like an extension of high school. They took the most mainstream courses, did the minimum amount they needed to get an A, tried not to get into "trouble" with the professor or face the uncertainty of the unknowable. They were the ones who spent six hours a day in the library, reading their textbooks.

The best part of college is that you could become whatever you wanted to become, but most people just do what they think they must.

Is this a metaphor? Sure. But it's a worthwhile one. You have more freedom at work than you think (hey, you're reading this on company time!) but most people do nothing with that freedom but try to get an A.

Do you work with people who are still in high school? Job seekers only willing to interview with the folks who come on campus? Executives who are trying to make their boss happy above all else? It's pretty clear that the thing that's wrong with this system is high school, not the rest of the world.

Cut class. Take a seminar on french literature. Interview off campus. Safe is risky."

Seth Godin - On self determination

Many of today's unemployed took the safe path, believing that their employers would have more loyalty to them than to their shareholders. A large number of today's unemployed, believing they were safe and had "guaranteed employment" didn't expand their skills or education, because they mistakenly felt safe.


It's turned out to be much more risky than they thought.

I've talked to countless people who had been with the same company for 10, 20, even 30 years, and now find that their skills are much less valuable on the open market than they were to their old employer. In a sense, they allowed their career to get too employer-specific, because they took the safe path.

It's interesting to hear the comments of some of these candidates, and how they vent their frustration with the job market:

  • Blaming employers - stating the interesting idea that it's a company's job to hire them, and if the candidate can't find work, it's the company's fault
  • Blaming the economy - claiming it's the economy's fault they can't find a job, yet they aren't using many of the currently available techniques that can help them stand out in the job market
  • Blaming foreign workers (especially prevalent in Technology) - claiming it's all the fault of foreigners who have come here to steal our jobs (how many generations have had the same excuse?)
  • Blaming hiring managers, recruiters, and HR - blaming hiring managers as being too picky or lazy, when it's often candidates who won't adopt new techniques that are lazy
  • Blaming Wall Street, the stock market, Government ....

Blaming anyone but themselves for taking the safe but risky path.

So how can you take a risky (but safe) path in your job search?

You have the ability to self-determine your future, and the gift of being able to choose. What will you do to assure you don't waste that gift?

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Related Articles:
Step Out of Your Comfort Zone - Why are job seekers are afraid to change?
5 Ways To Get Lucky In Your Job Search

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Source: http://reCareered.blogspot.com

5 comments:

Ralph said...

Accountability is definitely no longer en vogue.

by Elise Miller (c)2002-2010 said...

I have a problem with your logic. I have always taken the risky path. Started a business, learned the latest technology, taken real estate, ski instructor, and acting classes outside of work. Written blogs for eight years winning a marketing award first time out. I am unemployed. What am I doing after 8 months I finally got a grant for paralegal certification. Took the FAstTrac Entrepreneur course. I have excelled at everything I have done not by studying but by doing. Still I am emphatically drowning. Why is that? It does most definitely have to do with the government, the age discrimination and the wall streeters who stole from the 401K that I have borrowed from to keep from drowning. You make the dilemma way way too easy. It is not.

Phil Rosenberg said...

Elise,

I never once said it was easy ... it's not.

I did say that your career is in your hands, not the government's, not Wall Street's. They did make things more difficult, but in the end, your career is what you make it.

If you have been a fan of the path less followed, than you'll likely find some ideas in this blog that will make sense to you in your search for a new job - this blog contains tactics to approach your search differently than most of your competition.

Lawrence said...

Great Article Phil. I previously blamed everyone under the sun for my job hunting troubles, and got the same result i.e. = squat. When I finally shut my trap and realized I was the blame that created, by natural extension, different job hunting strategies. I am still on the hunt, but more people open up to network once you realize who the real blame is i.e. oneself and just do what you got to do and network. Keep the good info coming.

Thanks

Lawrence said...

Great Article Phil. I previously blamed everyone under the sun for my job hunting troubles, and got the same result i.e. = squat. When I finally shut my trap and realized I was the blame that created, by natural extension, different job hunting strategies. I am still on the hunt, but more people open up to network once you realize who the real blame is i.e. oneself and just do what you got to do and network. Keep the good info coming.

Thanks again.