In 2017 I had the good fortune of doing my first ever job search.
While I’ve been professionally employed for more than twenty [mumble] years, my past job acquisition process can be most accurately described as: occasionally agreeing to go work for someone else.
Before I start my next big opportunity (more on that later), I want to take a moment to reflect on what I learned and share one big idea that anyone can do to help with a friends job search.
For context, here are some stats and observations on my funployment
- 14 months to find a fit that both excited me and wanted to hire me — this probably shouldn’t have been a surprise… but it was.
- I met/called/connected/engaged about 400 people
- I had coffee/meetings 2-3 times a week
- I pursued about 40 awesome jobs
- Bias is alive and well and shows up in very subtle ways
- My network is amazing — I had more than 75% response with LinkedIn messages I sent out asking for leads
- Many people went way above and beyond with helpfulness — brainstorming, connecting and recommending me
In retrospect, the smartest thing I did was to create structure, community and accomplishment into this unstructured time. I shifted my energy to improving my positivity and health, and as a result, I came through both mentally and physically stronger. Huge shoutout to Angie at I Am Fitness and all my Sweatheart friends at DanceSweatSmile for making this fun.
Of course, every kind of help is appreciated in a job search: encouragement, coffee, lunch, brainstorming, job leads, etc. But I learned that one thing a few people did had an outsized impact, reminding me of my unique strengths.
This helped in two ways
- Gave me words to describe my work.
- Helped me stay positive in a time of waiting, rejection and extraversion overload.
Some amazing things people took the time to say:
- you were tough, intelligent and had vision – I miss that
- you have a great understanding of dependencies and how they are designed and deployed
- you are such a bright, dynamic and interesting person
- transformational leadership is your strength
- you are always looking at how to create, disrupt and build the most effective organizations and teams
- When you were leading we were at “peak collaboration and cohesiveness”. I appreciated that we were always working towards a strategic goal.
- I am a huge fan and I would love to work for you again
- Superpowers include pioneering new things, thriving amidst uncertainty, taking risks and building great teams
It is with great gratitude and humility that I wrap up this chapter, and extreme excitement that I begin my new impactful journey.
To all my friends, associates and colleagues, I am blessed to know you. I would be honored to have a chance to share my observations of your uniquely awesome superpowers. Put me on your list of people to alert when you are searching for your next job.