Sometimes I feel like my odds of finding a new job are about the same as my odds were of winning the Mega Millions lottery a couple of weeks ago. (I didn’t win.)
But other times, I’ll come across a really interesting-sounding position and realize that someone who knows me well works at that company. I’ll make some contacts and send in my application and sometimes I’ll get a prompt email or other message in response. At those times, I still feel those old stirrings of hope, the sense that I may just be on the verge of finding that job I’ve been meant to find. It’s a great feeling and I enjoy the fleeting sense that all may, in fact, be right with the world.
Still, these moments have been few and far between lately. Most of the time it’s difficult to get too charged up about any particular job possibility. I feel like there’s a constant internal push-and-pull going on between competing inner voices inside me. One of them, the defeatist, says, “Why bother? What’s the use? Nothing will come of my efforts.” The other one is more of a Pollyanna type. “I can’t get the job if I don’t try. The job for me is out there – I just haven’t found it yet.” Their struggle wears me out.
Truthfully, I’d rather listen to Pollyanna’s advice than dwell on, say, the latest news about unemployment. For example, I’ve heard that our sluggish economy’s unemployment impact is worse for Baby Boomers in my age bracket and of my gender. I’ve been reading about things like “structural unemployment.” This kind of news isn’t helpful when I’m looking for inspiration.
I think I need something to relight my job-search fire; so tonight I’ve been trying to find new sources of information, new connections, new ideas, something that might spark my thought processes or jumpstart my imagination. I need to inject some novelty into this process.
It doesn’t have to be off-the-wall avant-garde, like speed-job interviewing (is there even such a thing?), just different from what I’ve been doing. For example – not that this is exactly cutting edge – I went to a job fair a few weeks ago. That was interesting and new for me.
Tonight I searched through news groups to join on LinkedIn and found some to try: “Baby Boomers’ Career Network” and “Boomer Job Tips” and the “Boomer Job Club.” (Are you sensing a theme here?) While I was on LinkedIn, I studied a list of people I know and sent out a bunch of requests to "Connect.” You never know where you’ll see something or meet someone or learn something new that will make a difference to you.
What I do know is that I can’t see the future. And I know that I feel more optimistic when I’m trying something new and when I’m not giving up. Conversely, I know I’d feel bad if I just quit on myself. So I think that’s what makes doing these things, even after all this time and maybe against all odds, still worthwhile for me.