One reason I resist getting on the job-seeking trail is that I get totally sucked into a job once I get one. For me, there is no such thing as a 9 to 5. I become completely loyal to the job and the institution so that there is no separation of work and play. Work is play.
Perhaps that’s why I am deliberately taking time off, not networking or applying for jobs. Unlike my friends in the US who typically find a job while they are still gainfully employed, I seem to prefer to take time off in-between jobs so I can follow my own agenda and return to the work place refreshed and ready to follow someone else’s agenda.
After writing my first LinkedIn article yesterday, I find myself thinking about the different ways I have gotten myself hired.
Ride a horse to find a horse (qi ma zhao ma)
Get a job to find a job, also known as the foot in the door technique, comes from the Chinese saying which I’m sure exists elsewhere. I’ve done this a couple of times: from consultant to magazine editor at Platts; from math to music teacher at UH Maui College. There is always more information inside a company that’s not known in advance or advertised.
Pursuit of the dream job
Write down the characteristics of your dream job and then set about looking for it. After finishing my doctorate research on planning under uncertainty, I was keen to test concepts of flexibility in the real world, that is, in energy, post-deregulation. I wanted to travel, work with brilliant colleagues, and have opportunities to grow. I thought I found my dream job at Enron. Little did I know that the company would disappear a few years later.
Pro Bono: volunteer to get the experience
One step beyond “work like you don’t need the money” is to work without getting paid. There are times when you need the experience but don’t want the accountability. This could be a way to get into a new field by acquiring the experience first. Producing concerts gave me the experience in marketing, promoting, and organizing events. Writing reviews gave me writing experience.
Get paid to get trained
Think hard about what it is you want to get trained on and get a job where you get paid to learn. I got paid to create new courses to teach, hence the saying “the person who learns the most in the classroom is the teacher.”