I like this analogy about the ideal attitude for job seekers and jobs. We must remain in control of our careers to pursue jobs we want and need.
I wrote a blog post a couple of years ago using a story told by Ellie Wiesel who is a holocaust survivor, journalist, and professor. This story has remained with me for years. Although I did not put the thought into the post, the story he told means more now than ever:
The Perils of Indifference (An Excerpt)
The White House, April 12, 1999
The story is that, once upon a time, there was an emperor, and the emperor heard that in his empire there was a man, a wise man with occult powers. He had all the powers in the world. He knew when the wind was blowing what messages it would carry from one country to another.He read the clouds and he realized that the clouds had a design. He knew the meaning of that design.
He heard the birds. He understood the language of the birds; the chirping of the birds carried messages. And then he heard there was a man who also knew how to read another person’s mind. I want to see him, said the emperor. They found him. They brought him to the emperor.Is it true that you know how to read the clouds? Yes, Majesty. Is it true you know the language of the birds? Yes, Majesty. What about the wind? Yes, I know.Okay, says the emperor. I have in my hands behind my back a bird. Tell me, is it alive or not?
And the wise man was so afraid that whatever he would say would be a tragedy, that if he were to say that the bird is alive,the emperor, in spite, would kill it. So he looked at the emperor for a longtime, smiled, and said, Majesty, the answer is in your hands. It’s always in our hands.
The outcome of employment is in our hands. It is easy to blame government, big companies, or our last employer for the lack of hiring.
What are 5 things that are in each of our hands that we control?
1. Give 100% effort. Putting 100% effort in using the tools at our disposal. Use 8 hours a day to scan job boards, network with new people, contact the people we know, research companies where we want to work, and call for informational interviews will bring us closer to employment.
2. Work while we are waiting for work. Temporary work is an option for everyone, and everybody to earn money while waiting for the job we want.
3. Volunteer. These are opportunities that can help us keep our skills up and possible learn new skills. If you have attended a computer class at the library, an opportunity to use new learned skills is in your hands.
4. Help others with their job search. The job search is not about you completely. It helps to pass on what you know, even if it is not reciprocated, but underestimate what you can learn in the process.
5. Aid us while re-tooling. There are books on self-improvement, resume and cover letter writing, networking, and grammar that are useful to increase employment value.
The answer is in our hands with ways to make a difference today. We decide the outcome with what we do with our hands.