A Tale from Real Life
I include this story about my friend Mike because it demonstrates how perseverance and networking lead to success. I first met Mike when I made a call on him to do a marketing search for an HMO for which he was working as COO outside of Detroit. While we didn't get the search, Mike and I remained in contact on an occasional basis. In 1986, the group that owned the HMO decided to restructure the company and Mike, as COO, was out of a job. Mike began his networking and soon landed a job with the group health services division of a major health care company in the Southwest. Things went well for him until the parent company disbanded that division in 1987. He had been there exactly one year. Mike then resumed his networking and diligently made his phone calls. He made notes for following up and sent resumes to everyone. His networking was low key, but effective. Within a few months, Mike accepted a position in the Midwest as the director of National PPO Contracting for the planned start up of a national managed care network for a major insurance company. Mike had been on the job for one week when the insurance company reorganized internally, and Mike was left high and dry. Needless to say, he was feeling a little like Job in the Old Testament, when he asked why he had been singled out for misfortune.
Here Mike had just sent letters to all his network members, thanking everyone for helping and announcing his new job, only to find himself out of that very position! Dutifully, Mike picked up the phone and called his contacts to get his network back in motion. Within three months, Mike had a new job, his third in two years. He found a job as the CEO of a for profit HMO in the Midwest, where he worked for four years.
Now Mike is much like you and me in many ways. But, in one area, Mike excels he networks like a champion. In addition, Mike is the kind of person who refuses to let losing two jobs in one year through no fault of his own get him down. Surely, you can be as hard a worker at networking as Mike is.
And what does Mike have to say about his adventures in getting another job? "Finding a job is not the most pleasant situation, particularly when it results from a company restructuring. The best advice I would give anyone in this situation is to have confidence in yourself and seek out the support of your family and friends. If you focus on getting your next job and treat it as being your current job, you will succeed."
Religion as a Source of Inspiration
Many of us look to religion to comfort us in difficult times. No matter what religion we believe in, religious teachings can help us to keep our perspective. When things aren't going well, your faith may make all the difference.
In my own struggles with failure and misfortune, I often turn to the Bible for inspiration and hope. For Christians, worry is a special type of problem because worry connotes a lack of faith in God's teachings. There are plenty of indications in the Bible that worry is not appropriate for believers.
A Lighthearted Look at Worry
Why worry? There are only two reasons to worry. Either you are sick or you are well. If you are well, there is no reason to worry, but if you are sick, you again have only two things to worry about. You are either going to get better or you are going to die. If you are going to get better, there is nothing to worry about. If, on the other hand, you are going to die, then you have two things to worry about. You are either going to heaven or to hell. If you go to heaven, you have nothing to worry about. But, if you go to hell, you will be so busy saying hello to all your friends that you won't have time to worry. So, why worry?
Some Practical Advice, or, the Only Way Out Is Through
Perhaps you are reading this chapter because you have had a series of opportunities that did not pan out or you have recently been rejected for a position that you really wanted. Now you have to pick yourself up and really get back to the grindstone of networking. I have found that candidates often get a mental boost by calling a few familiar and friendly contacts. Try recreating the scene of earlier success by calling some of the people you have worked closely with. You can often receive that vital reassurance that helps repair the ego damage and moves you ahead into making those tough networking calls to strangers. Look over your list to see if there are any people you have already talked to who need a follow up call.
And, try to get a good laugh. See a funny movie. Buy a book of cartoons. (My favorite is Calvin and Hobbes.) Listen to a funny radio station. Visit a comedy club, whatever, but find something to make you laugh. Quite seriously, laughing dispels self defeating thoughts, puts things in perspective, and can get your job search back on track.