No Job? Now What?

No Job? – There could be any number of reasons for not having a job. The fact that you have found yourself in this particular situation at this point in time combined with the fact that you are unhappy with your current situation simply means that it is about time that you do something about it. Understand that you are not alone. Also understand that the same models and techniques that are used in managing corporations can also be used and applied to your situation.

Peter Drucker is a scholar, author, and is often described as the ‘father of modern management’. He believed that most employees are intelligent, rational and hardworking people. He also believed that if organizations had problems, it was often because those in management had outdated ideas, had too narrow a view of what the real problem was, or that the people within the organization were not communicating their needs clearly. Among the many fundamental teachings of Drucker, you will find the following truisms, “The best way to predict the future is to create it;” and that, “What gets measured gets done.”

However you choose to take on the challenge of finding a new job or a new career, it is critical that you do it, as Drucker suggests, in a SMART manner. Your plans need to be, Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound.

Step One: Understand that you are in a position of tremendous opportunity. Take the time to clarify, in as much detail as possible, exactly what it is that you seek. Recall your personal history and ask yourself the only real question that matters, and that is, “What brings you joy?” Understand that there is no correct or incorrect answer to this question. Once you can answer this question for yourself, and fully understand that only YOU have the answer to this question, the next step is to identify the necessary actions that will bring you closer to that which you seek. Set a SMART goal for yourself.

To illustrate, the goal statement that, “I want a job” is not a SMART goal. A good example of a SMART goal could be, “I want to earn X amount of take home income [per hour, week, month, year per annum] by working number of hours [per day, week, month or year] doing task Y.” Although it is easy to identify a SMART goal, creating a personal SMART goal can be far more challenging. The key lays in being able to answer any question that relates to the SMART goal with either a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’. To be effective, all questions related to the SMART goal need to be answered with a ‘Yes’. The desire to earn X amount of money for doing a particular task in a fixed amount of time is very clear, and can be answered with either a ‘Yes’ or a ‘No.’

Step Two: Ask yourself the following question,” Do I have the necessary skills and/or training to perform the desired task?” If the answer to this question is ‘Yes’, move on to Step Three. If the answer is, ‘No’, then you need to identify the SMART goals that will give you those necessary skills. Understand that these SMART goals need not necessarily be identify as immediate or short-term goals. Also understand that you own these goals and that all goals, including SMART ones can change according to your specific needs. If you find it necessary to change any of your original SMART goals, don’t panic.

Change is good. Your ability to deal the need to modify your original SMART goals only enforces the fact that you are a wise individual who is capable of setting or readjusting priorities. The ability to set or readjust priorities is an extremely valuable life skill to have. This ability is an acquired skill and you need to consider yourself as being among the ‘higher thinkers’ in your community. Once you have set for yourself new and improved SMART goals, move on to Step Three.

Step Three: This is the pre-implementation stage of your SMART goal. During this stage, you need to identify the manner in which you are going to ‘plan the work’ and ‘work the plan’. Let’s go back to Step Two for a moment. Let’s agree that you already possess the necessary skills to perform the task and that you just need to find the opportunity to do so. Perhaps, on some level, you have convinced yourself that finding that particular opportunity is all about luck.

The reality is that luck has little to do with anything. Luck appears when opportunity meets preparation. Lack of preparation equals lack of opportunity. It is a very simple fact of life. When you properly prepare for opportunities, success will follow. It needs to be thought of as inevitable. It is a natural law that can be like to the Law of Gravity. There is really no way to escape it.

Step Four: This is implementation stage of your SMART goal. This is the stage where you gather all of the elements necessary to move you towards your SMART goal and put the plan in motion. Let’s go back to your SMART goal. I want to earn X amount of take home pay for doing task Y. Let’s assume that you also have the necessary skill set and established that the remuneration you expect for doing task Y is not unreasonable.

Now, the next step in the implementation process is to attach a realistic timeline to your SMART goal. This is also the stage when you remind yourself of. And strengthen your resolve to, the priorities that you set for yourself in Step One. This is also the stage when most people change their priorities. The reason why priorities change is really not as important. Understand that typically, these priorities change because they were not ‘realistic’ in the first place. That said; let’s move on to Step Five.

Step Five: This is the ‘evaluation’ stage of your job search exercise. In this phase you need to ask yourself if your plan is working or not. If your plan is working, you will have the job or career you seek within the timeframe you have set for yourself. If you have yet to achieve your SMART goal. Then you need to figure out why, and address the ‘why’ accordingly. Some questions you may ask yourself during this stage include the following:

  • Was the timeline I set for myself unreasonable?
  • Am I getting the number of calls for interviews that I had expected?
  • Do I have the tools I need for a successful job search?

– A resume that showcases my knowledge, experience and skill set
– A cover letter that is target at a specific employer
– A Good job search strategy

If you take away nothing else from this article. At least understand and know the following: You are an intelligent person. Intelligent people ask for help when they deem it necessary. If your job search is not working, you need to ask yourself, “Why? Something is not working with the manner in which you have constructed your plan. You are not alone. Ask for help. Help is out there. It is a close as your local resource centre. All you need to do is ask!

To paraphrase a famous quote by Lord Chesterfield, “Whatever you do, do it with purpose and do it thoroughly. Anything half done or half known is neither done nor known at all. What’s worse is that it can lead you far astray.”