The side of the desk on which you find yourself, whether it’s as an employee or someone looking for work, really boils down to one very simple thing in the end, and I think it is absolutely indisputable. Now that’s an extremely challenging kind of statement to make; that whether you are unemployed or employed it all boils down to just one thing? I really believe that. So what is it?
The one thing is D E C I S I O N S ; decisions you’ve made in the past, being made in the present and the ones you have yet to make in your future. Add up the decisions along the way and you’ll find that those who are out of work made decisions which although they may have seemed logical and right at the time, history has bourne out proof that those decisions were poorly made, be they to drop out of school, graduate in a program with little employability, turn down an offer of employment and take a summer to ‘find yourself’, or quit a job to try your hand at self-employment. While such decisions might be right for some people, in your own particular case, they were poor decisions for you personally.
Conversely, you’re employed and happy, and you can trace your present job back to a decision you made to continue with your studies, stay at a job you didn’t like because you could see a path to a better job, worked in many different entry-level jobs to get a broad range of experience, hey maybe even married the right person.
Now already I can sense some readers are fuming, already contemplating the rebuttals, the ‘how dare you blame me for my trouble, you don’t even know me’s’, etc. Hold on and read on. Some of those decisions you made that didn’t pan out in the end were actually the right decisions – at the time. However, suppose you had made a decision to work at a job that had a promising future, but the company shut down because the owner made some poor decisions and went bankrupt. Hardly your bad decision that led to your unemployment. Okay so this past decision to work there didn’t work out but now it’s the present, and what are you doing in the here and now? What decisions are you contemplating today to improve your situation and what ACTION are you taking today based on those decisions?
I’ve made decisions that didn’t pan out like anyone else. Sometimes it’s useful to review past decisions to review what alternatives you passed on so you can learn from the error and not repeat it by making similar bad decisions. However, looking in the rear view mirror of your life is only helpful if you do it for short periods of time. After all, if your car is moving forward, glancing occasionally in rear view mirror is a wise practice so you can see what’s coming up behind you, but try driving any distance when you are spending 80% of your time looking in the rear view mirror; you’ll either drive so slowly you won’t get far fast, or you’ll leave the road and head on down some path you didn’t intend. Same thing in life.
This week and next I’m facilitating an intensive job searching class, meant to result in interviews and job interviews for the unemployed. A small group of twelve were all contacted individually and confirmed their attendance. Yesterday being the first day, nine showed up. Two called with very lame excuses, and one never bothered to show up or call to explain. The decision they made, and the decision made by the nine who did show up is but one decision but could have significant impact on their individual employability.
Going hand-in-hand with decisions you make is the responsibility for those decisions. Take that responsibility instead of blaming others. When your decisions don’t work out, take the blame if that’s appropriate, and when they do, take all the credit too; that’s only fair. Anyone who gets a job with my help usually thanks me, and I turn around and say they deserve all the credit because they made a decision to seek help, made a decision to listen and accept constructive criticism, and made a decision to implement some of the ideas, (if not all) that were given to them. Some people aren’t used to giving themselves praise after being discouraged and losing their self-esteem for so long via unemployment. Take it when it comes, you deserve it!
Think carefully about the decisions you make, and if those decisions run counter to advice or suggestions you get from others who are successfully employed, consider a re-think. If you continue to make the kind of decisions you have made in the past, there is a great possibility that your future will remain unchanged. Shake it up, and make some changes in what you base your decisions on.
Something to consider.