Over the course of my employable life (that being two decades – no I’m not really that old, just started young), I have had been employed in many different fields ranging from retail/business sales, tourism, manufacturing, lodging, post secondary higher learning institutions, banking, and the service industry (I think that covers most). I have been reading several different blogs and other informative documents on how to land the idea job, beef up the resume, and give the stellar interview. Well, that helps, but what I want to note is not really for the faint of heart (or sometimes even my own heart). Being a person of reflection and hindsight, there has been seven different areas of insight that I have personally experienced in my employable life that determines if I land the job or not. Being rejected for a job or interview is the only true life refining process that will work. It’s a priceless experience that is free and is open to everyone and is non-discriminatory. Unfortunately, it hurts and is painful, but the heart will heal and with the right mindset, heal stronger than it was before.
So you are now asking, what rights have been given to me to open this discussion? Let’s go back a couple of decades (really, I’m not that old). In high school, I remember wanting a summer job and going out to so many different businesses and talking to people and filling out those pesky little job applications. Back then, online internet applications and even computers did not exist for HR type functions other than skill or personality type testing. I remember filling out 30+ plus applications early that summer, and the job that I landed was well, a place where the family had contacts. Afterwards, I gave up on filling out job applications and just networked with family and friends of family for employment opportunities.
Now fast forward another decade and I’m in post college days. It is after graduation and no clue where the wind was going to take me next having a BBA with a concentration in accounting and political science. My first major full-time professional job came about working in public accounting and the rollercoaster employment olympics began. Even this profession is subject to outsourcing, off-shoring, practices loosing business, not so successful management decisions, etc. Trust me, I’ve seen it all.
Over the past five or so years, I have begun a period of self reflection of why am I landing so many unique jobs that have a tendency to fade out? The answer can only be found below!
Who Are You? After investigation, I soon discovered that for one reason, I’m not the typical accountant. Who should I blame this on? To many pre-college, college, and post college days in sales and working with the public I guess. Another one, I love change – and that’s why I picked the accounting areas of tax and audit when I was in the public sector, then in the private sector, have been assigned to many ad-hoc type projects rather than the routine process of accounting. That’s been a temporary compromise so the mundane would not bore me to tears. The real take away here: make sure you know who you are and the things you naturally gravitate to is what you are pursing. Oh, I didn’t mention, that with every job post college (and even pre), I was always given the responsibility of training or “breaking in the new people”. Hint: what is my true strength and natural ability? Others saw it before me, is that true of you?
Passion Redefining? Since I my last job working in the public accounting sector in 2004, I took a break and went back into sales. Soon after, I ended back into accounting realizing that sales is ok for me, but I want to do more in regards to my interaction with people other than a present moment challenge resolution. I began to realize that I am more into development, growth, and people management as this was one of my highlights while working with Kimberly Clark. Therefore, I was assigned too many intense projects that required not only a technical skillset, but also a human/relational management aspect. After my last project at KC ended, I dreaded the search for traditional accounting functions again. Through a little guidance by the outplacement services of KC, I soon realize other opportunities that exist for me. I took interest in those and landed at Marriott International. The take away: make sure your passion is not vague or it will be redefined for you by the marketplace.
What is your true goal? For me, through the past several years, I have been wanting to migrate to a role in management and to a career that is more people oriented than technical oriented. With that goal in mind, it has taken me many years of persistence to accomplish this. Our takeaway: find your ultimate need or goal and plaster that on your head, mirror, and desk – it will never be forgotten until you are passed away (and then you might be remembered after your deceased). Having this one simple goal has really open the doors for so many opportunities as I have touched so many people’s lives. I reflect back a few times of the special thank you notes I received from those that completed the internship programs that I coordinate. That’s a real life!!!
You’re qualified, but do you really want it? Have you ever seen an opportunity come across your desk and say yes I want it! It would be perfect! Two months later when you were not accepted for the opportunity, you ask yourself, did I truly want that? Three months later you realized, nope, this would not really fit in the plan that I have for my life. Please take this away: rejection is not a bad thing, it may be karma keeping you on track!!
Landing here, but what next? Ok, so you are now saying to yourself I have to accept where I am in order to move on. Well that’s true. However, I have learned that accepting things in life never provided much success. The real take away: accepting where you are can only be a starting point to take you where you want to go.
Can I really stand spending most of my day with these folks? I have to say that I have spent some time on several interviews and truly say that I get along with just about anyone. In the past, I have realized at times the interviewer can be a different type person in the office vs the interview. It is sad, but there are those that have not learned transparency. Early on in my career, I did not realize this had any type of impact on me, either performance or satisfaction. Take away: be sure you are capable of spending most of your day with your boss or teammates, it will have a major impact, just wait!!! Ensure you understand the types of people that you work best with and have the capability to resolve very intense conflicts or disagreements with them peacefully – then go find them!
When one door closes, are you truly standing in the right building? Take away speaks for itself: should you have taken the other fork in the road or the road that has not even been traveled? It is not to late to make change. I remember in college someone a lady in her sixties was finishing her bachelors degree. Just recently, I saw on the news somewhere a ninety-four year old lady just graduated from high school. If doors of opportunity continue to close, ask self, am I standing in the right building in front of the right doors? Kind of reminds me my sophomore year in college of being paranoid going to a class for fear they have changed rooms or canceled the class and I did not see this posted when only 2 or 3 show up. Take a moment and look at the walls that are around the doors you are knocking on, if walls could talk, the answers to all of life would be revealed. Instead, they give us clues – make sure you have all the clues for the puzzle of life.
While one may not be able to obtain the desired job today, there are other opportunities that do exist that will still support your passion and to accomplish your goals. I never thought that taking on a business finance application manager role would have open up the doors to perform the training and development activities that I have been a part of during my time here at this employer or to make a connection to a friend obtaining a doctorate in this field. I have learned that nothing in life works like the way it “looks like it should”. If it did, the world would be even a more interesting place to live and accidents and challenges would not exist. How boring??? It is amazing too the connections that I have made and kept over the years from those stop gap jobs taken to keep bills paid and to buy a few meals. Remember, goals are accomplishable; do not forget to enjoy life during the process!!!