The phone calls and emails are amazing. Friends and family all touching base with me, to make sure I ™m OK. Let's meet for coffee! Let's go to lunch! I ™ll bring you a meal! OK, that last one's an exaggeration. But everyone has good intentions to support me through the world of unemployment and job search.
At first, it's like a great flood. My calendar is booked with all sorts of Starbucks get-togethers and net-working lunches. I never knew I had so many friends. What a great person I must be!
Then, just like tabloid news, it gets old. The calls become fewer and far between. Suddenly it's radio silence.
Hellooooo? Is anybody out there? I still like coffee and am available for lunch. Anyone?
Has everyone abandoned me? Of course not! I have one of the BEST support networks anywhere. The reality is my friends have very busy lives already, just like I did when I was juggling a full-time job and home life. Most importantly, I ™m responsible for my job search and social calendar, not them.
And the last time I checked, social networks go two ways. I could contact people as well, ya know.
Yet in my attempt to find meaning in this world of unemployment, the computer has become like a drug, making me cocoon inside the office, creating ways to stay busy. I ™ve become addicted to staring at the screen, staring into nothingness. The more I stay home in front of the computer the more reclusive I become. Very odd for an outgoing social butterfly like me.
What to do, what to do. How do I get out of this rut?
Several options come to mind:
¢ Set up a welcome table at Starbucks to recruit new friends. Seems sort of stalkerish to me.
¢ Become a mall-walker. All day. Every day. Also high in the creepy factor, especially for store employees who ™d see me daily.
¢ Fix the backyard fence. Seems like that might be tough on my nails “ no pun intended.
¢ Work in the yard. LOL! OK, that's not gonna happen.
¢ Become a world-champion computer solitaire player. Is there money in this?
Or how about a completely passive approach? Surely if I sit here long enough the phone will ring. After all, I ™m completely up to speed on the latest celebrity gossip from reading People. That's got to be of value to someone.
After much thought and too many Mrs. Field's cookies (the mall-walking thing was not a good idea), I come up with the only truly viable option: use my MBA mind to develop a business strategy that will pave the way to my next opportunity. Just like I would do in any corporate business situation.
As a dear friend once told me, the cavalry isn't coming .
Are you sure, I ask him? I look out the window. After all, what if they are just down the street?
Of course they're not coming. Even here in Texas, where cowboys and boots and horses are common.
The cavalry is actually waiting for me to call them. I have to get out and make my own destiny. Seize each and every opportunity to network, follow up on leads, improve my skills by taking classes “ in other words, apply my hard-earned knowledge, do the work and find the next opportunity myself.
Many people I know have succumbed to idleness, waiting for opportunity to ring the doorbell, send a text, friend them on Facebook, Tweet them a new job. In fact, these people have become masters at waiting. It's a routine that's easy to fall into when we don't have a job to go to. The hardest part is to keep the momentum going and resist lapsing into laziness.
I believe most of us in the job hunt want to find work and be productive, yet our approach lacks a strategy. Yes, occasionally a recruiter will call out of the blue, but isn't it better to be productive? Waiting for the phone is about as motivating as watching paint dry.
This is not good news for some folks. They want the next job handed to them on a silver platter. Oh boy, have I got news for them.
What is that, you say? You think I ™m being too harsh? My point is that we “ you and I “ need to take responsibility for our situation and go on the attack. Be aggressive in our job searches. Develop a strategy. Plan the work and work the plan. Network like there's no tomorrow. Keep putting one foot in front of the other. Never give up. The cavalry's out there to help us; we just have to send them a signal.
I ™ve got my cowboy boots on and am ready to go. Are you?