Retool yourself to find (or keep) that job

Times are tough out there. Lots of anxiety over the economy. You can’t control the economy, so the anxiety builds. Now is the time to focus on the one thing you do control… you. Here are 3 tips to consider:

Read
The good news? After finishing up a formal college education, most people stop studying. For life. Sure, there might be some Harry Potter in there, but the non-fiction book is pretty rare. Pick a topic of interest to you (better yet, something relevant to your field or the field you’d like to enter) and devour every related text you can find.

You will immediately bring new ideas to the table at your current job and stand out as a thought leader. If you are hunting for a new position, you will make a better first impression and sweat far less during the interview.

Give
Years ago, I got interested in the power of networking. I read several books on the subject (Power Networking for example) and discovered a beautiful, common theme: The most successful network builders give incessantly with absolutely zero expectation to receive.

I set out to practice this habit in the sales world by being constantly on the lookout for sales leads that might help buddies at partner companies. If I found a good match, I would simply forward the lead and immediately forget about it. Eventually, I got to the point where this just became part of my nature. I can honestly say that I never keep score: “Ok Turkey, I’ve sent you 5 awesome leads, now what are you going to do for me?!?”

Eventually, that same principle filtered into everything I do. If I see a way to help someone, I generally try my best to do so… without political motives or personal gain in mind. Paradoxically, if you will focus on un-expectant giving, you will be surprised by massive & unexpected outside help in your times of deepest need.

This habit takes a lot of work. The good news? You can start today. Look for something tiny that you can do to help a coworker in need. Do it. Then work really hard to forget that you did it. Repeat.

This attitude makes you a better person. It is worthwhile in itself and comes with all sorts of side benefits… least of which is a touch of job security and a hard-to-put-your-finger-on aura during interviews.

Get things done
Most people are terribly inefficient and unproductive. It’s easy to get stuck in the same, lifelong habits. Put some effort into getting out of the common personal organization ruts and you’ll immediately get ahead of the pack. While I like Steven Covey’s “7 Habits” approach, I suggest you start with David Allen’s Getting Things Done… today!

If you enjoy listening to podcasts, here’s a related new tip: Subscribe to Merlin Mann’s freshly restarted 43 Folders Podcast. I just listened to his first episode in 2 years and can already tell it will be a weekly favorite. Merlin gives great, down and dirty, foul-mouthed tips on implementing many of the themes inspired by Getting Things Done.

Conclusion
Well, that’s about all I have to say for today. I hope some of it helps out in your life. If it does and you want to thank me, send $100… just kidding 🙂

6 comments

  1. Good advice. I used to teach computer science as an adjunct at the University of Cincinnati. One thing I used to tell students is that we are not teaching languages, we are teaching how to learn languages.

    The young folks would see “JAVA” and think “that is all I need to know”. I, in my 30’s at the time, knew I had averaged a new computer language at LESS than every two years.

    Engineering moves a bit more slowly, but not much.

  2. Good advice. I used to teach computer science as an adjunct at the University of Cincinnati. One thing I used to tell students is that we are not teaching languages, we are teaching how to learn languages.

    The young folks would see “JAVA” and think “that is all I need to know”. I, in my 30’s at the time, knew I had averaged a new computer language at LESS than every two years.

    Engineering moves a bit more slowly, but not much.

  3. I agree, it is excellent advice.

    I long ago adopted the adage that the best way to get an order from a client, was to help him/her get one. This is a long view, but it has worked for me.

    There is a corollary; taking the long view means instilling the discipline of constant learning on your part to survive the long view.

  4. Jeff Waters · ·

    Well said Jerry!

  5. Jeff Waters · ·

    Well said Jerry!

  6. I agree, it is excellent advice. I long ago adopted the adage that the best way to get an order from a client, was to help him/her get one. This is a long view, but it has worked for me.There is a corollary; taking the long view means instilling the discipline of constant learning on your part to survive the long view.