Don’t wait until you are starving to try eating the bugs

2008 was a watershed year in the job market.

After the fall out of the financial crisis the balance of power shifted firmly toward the employer.

Employees are no longer a precious commodity to be wooed, won and cherished. Employees are often seen as replaceable, disposable and a drain on company resources. Surprisingly, this seems to be holding true for employees that have difficult to find skills.

In short – it’s a jungle out there! We don’t have to kill to survive, but we had better be adaptable and resourceful.

 So, you are out of a job and thrust into the jungle. You are on the hunt for a nice juicy job. Hopefully, one that is as meaty and tasty as the one you used to have. You take a look around and see some tasty morsels on various job boards. “Oh”, you say to yourself, “This is not going to be difficult, there are plenty of tasty, satisfying opportunities for me”. You go after a few of them.   Sharpening your resume and cover letters into tools that you think will slice through any obstacle and be deadly enough to slay the competition.

Your pack is full of provisions, more than enough to see you through to the next big conquest. One after another, you shoot your weapons out after tasty looking jobs. One after another, the jobs disperse like mirages. Were they real? They looked real. Where did they go? Never mind there are plenty of provisions in your pack. You keep going, convinced that one of these jobs is bound to be real.

6 months later, you have not yet landed a job. Now your provision pack is empty, or close to empty. Those succulent morsels seem just out of reach – so tantalizing. But now you are really hungry and will starve if you don’t find something soon.

Looking down, you realize that there are smaller, less appetizing options. They have been there all along, but you didn’t see them because you had your eyes on the bigger prize. Now you are forced to sustain yourself with these small morsels – your pack is empty, your safety net is gone. If you had availed yourself of the small morsels from the start, your pack wouldn’t be empty yet. You would still have a safety net and the ability to continue longer in the hunt. You might even have come to realize that the less appetizing morsels are not as bad as you thought. You could have learned to make a real meal out of them by now if you had tried them 6 months ago.

Over the years I’ve seen many job seekers blow through their life savings and use up their unemployment benefits while waiting for a job that exactly matches the one they just left. Only to end up accepting a position later that they could have taken at the beginning of their search. Had they done that, they would have been able to retain their savings, and been on the road to building up to a better position. You don’t have to stop the hunt for something better and you will be in a stronger position if you are job searching while working in another job.

The bugs might not seem all that appetizing and you might have to hold your nose to eat them. However, they will get you through until you can make a decent kill.