Angling For Employment

I get summoned in to my manager's office one morning (Late Feb) and am advised that today is my unlucky day. Effective as soon as I can get boxed up, I am hereby severed. Last official day would be March 2nd. Have a nice weekend. The HR rep says that maybe now would be a good time to take a much deserved vacation after all of the years of service. I didn't respond.

As I cleaned out my office I must admit it was liberating to get all those "important" papers I'd been hoarding over the years and blindly throw them all in the secure shredder. Not my issue any longer. Besides, "big brother" has everything backed up on a server somewhere anyway. I wish I could be a fly on the wall when he attempts to make sense of my file naming conventions.

So, I notified my wife, and headed home. Upon my arrival, I opened 2 cold Corona's - no need open the fridge twice in such a short amount of time. See, I'm already saving money.

Over the following weekend, I didn't even ponder getting employed again. I had some mental purging to do, and to help accomplish that, we went to the beach. However, the wheels kept turning, so even that trip was cut short out of boredom and anticipation. Now THAT is something to be sad about.

Upon hearing the news, one of my buddies couldn't understand why I didn't take a few weeks off, clear my head by way of spending some time on the water, chasing fish, paddling my boat. As tempting as that sounds, I knew I'd never be able to truly relax knowing that I'm unemployed, and someone could be getting my dream job while I'm out on the water. I had actually planned to take a buddy out today (Monday) for a day of paddling and fishing. He got severed from the same place months ago, still looking for work. The plan consisted of a day of not thinking about what had been consuming both of us recently, but instead, some time in the sun, a few laughs, and who knows, maybe even a tug on a line. No, it didn't happen. See, I actually accepted a job a couple weeks ago that is out of my field, twice as far away from my front door, for half the money, and not even 40 hours a week. After you factor in the expense for gas, I'd be better off collecting unemployment and searching for a better job. So, I called him Saturday (after work) and advised that today I would be job hunting, with all of my heart and soul, and I'd need to issue a rain check. As it turned out today was cool, misty rain, and a little breezy. Any one of those conditions would have kept this fair weather angler in port anyway. See, this "trash fish" I hooked in to could be keeping me from making all the casts I can at "trophy fish".

You know me, I'm going to find a parallel between unlike things. Events remind me of songs, clouds look like bunnies, unless they're storm clouds. Those remind me of corporate greed and myopia, selling off American souls to a foreign land at a bargain rate. I'm just sayin'...

So today, I began to look at this job search in a different way than most. Landing a job is much like landing a fish. I don't have any fishing tips this time around. But hopefully I can share a few things in my job search that will help some of you that have found yourself in the same boat.

START WITH GOOD GEAR: You don't go on the quest for fish without making sure your gear is in good working order. In this case, your most important piece of gear is your resume. Your hooks should be strong - your job data should be complete yet concise, with dates that make sense throughout. Your line should be strong enough to reel in the big one - make sure your contact info is correct so prospective employers can connect with you. Finally, spell check and spell check again. The first cast in a new honey hole needs to be dead on the money - you only get one chance to make a first impression with that resume. Secure those references and letters of recommendation as well.

SCENTED BAITS / THE COVER LETTER: Sometimes, even the best lures need a little help. It's not cheating. It's making the best presentation possible. As with all of those spray scents, the cover letter should be tailored for the specific target.

FAN CASTING / BLINDLY SENDING RESUMES: If you're just looking for nibbles, then fan casting will suffice. Same goes for tossing generic resumes out with no meaningful cover letter. Remember, the goal here isn't sport. Look at the job search as you would if you were fishing for your dinner, because in the grand scheme of things, you are.

CASTING PRACTICE / INTERVIEWS FOR FUN: When was the last time you went on an interview? For me, it's been 8 years since I interviewed with another company. Internal interviews don't count as much because you can buy those folks lunch. So, some practice may be in order. Should your "casts" produce an interview for a job that may not be ideal, what the heck - go for it. What's the worst that could happen?

KEEP CHUMMING / UPDATING THE RESUME ON MONSTER: In order to keep fish in the mood to bite sometimes you need to keep the buffet open by chumming. If you have a resume on Monster, you can keep those employers interested by updating the resume weekly. See, they search resumes by "most recently updated", which let's them know who is truly trying to get employed. You simply change a word, or punctuation, that constitutes an update.

HOLE JUMPERS / NETWORKING: In angling, even the best of buddies rarely share their favorite spots. However, in a job search environment, buddies are certainly allowed to share. For me, I tossed out my resume to friends via e-mail. You simply never know who knows who, and who might be hiring. And, you can also enroll in LinkedIn, which is a job shoppers Face Book.

HIRE A GUIDE / RECRUITERS: We all could probably use a little professional help. Sometimes there is great benefit in using someone that does this stuff for a living. A guide can put you on fish for a fee. The same tact can be used with a recruiter (only someone else usually pays the fee). It never hurts to have a hired line in the water alongside yours, especially if they're fishing for your benefit.

MAKE THE BEST OF IDLE TIME: Even with the best lures, the best location, and perfect weather, sometimes you simply must wait on the fish to feed. If you don't get any nibbles, hang in there. Times are tough, no mystery there. But you can still stay productive by using resources available to you. The unemployment office truly wants you back in the boat. Mine offers free aid with job searching, resume writing, and mock interviewing. There are also some training classes available. Speaking of unemployment, keep good records so that the checks will keep coming to you while you wait to reel in that keeper. You've earned this, and have probably been paying in to it for years. You won't get rich, but it's still better than having a treble hook lodged in your thumb.

At some point you do have to step away from the computer and get some down time. For me, I'm to the point now where I *think* I can relax a bit, knowing that I've done all I know to do in order to secure another job. Weather permitting, that will happen next Monday when my wife and I get the boats wet. Of course I'll have my cell phone in case someone calls, and I can check my e-mail from there as well.

All we can do at this point is make history, since we can't change it. Consider the door that closed as an ideal place to lean back while you look on the other side of it. I must remember (as should you) that, "the secret of success is not how well you DO, it's how well you RECOVER."

Tight lines, new business cards.

See you out on the water!

"Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after" ~ Henry David Thoreau

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