The Importance of Job Search When You Are Not Searching

Last week I wrote about trends that had occurred over the last 30 years in the career and job market.  I specifically identified the newest flash of social media opportunities.  My goal was not to encourage everyone into the social media marketplace, but to make a point of the changes in trends according to our culture and the world and that we must be forward thinking in our plans for future success.

Whether you are a college graduate, a high school student deciding on college, or have chosen a path of vocational training, it is important to look ahead and pay attention to job and career trends even when you are not looking for a job.  Click here to take a look at the lists in the 2011 Top Ten and the Worst Ten Jobs.  More important, pay attention to how the lists were developed.  Income alone is not a reason to select a career field.  Satisfaction with your career is comprised of other elements that include but are not limited to stress factors, time off, and professional development opportunities.

Just like Capital One asks, “What’s in your wallet,” are you asking yourself, “What’s in my future?”

Evaluate Your Needs

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.  The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks and then starting on the first one.”  –  Mark Twain

This quote rings true with me each time I hear someone ask, “Where do I start?”  My response is always, “Break it down.”  Unfortunately, that’s where a lot of people break down.  They have a fleeting idea of a goal; an immediate reaction to how to get there, and then an impulse act that they hope will bring about the end result they originally imagined.  Creating that successful summer experience requires that you have a plan though, not just an act of impulse.  Whether you are a high school student or a college student, you are on a path that can provide enormous opportunity and create background experiences that set you up for success.  So, as part of the plan, begin by evaluating your needs.

As a student, there are four “needs” to consider when planning your summer.  Keep in mind, your plan may include parallel paths to meet these needs.

1. Financial Need – Do you need to make money for spending cash or are you in need of making money to be able to make expenses when you return to school?  Do you need to make money to pay for college?  If “financial need” is a primary concern for your summer, then getting started on your pursuit of summer employment is immediate and last week’s blog included some informative and helpful websites for that search.

2. Experience Need – Experience presents itself in many forms.  It can be an internship, externship, or participation with an organization.  Internships may be with or without pay, but the big payoff is experience with a company that can build toward future employment with them or at least the benefit of learning what you do or don’t want to do in your future.  Participation with an organization may be in the form of an athletic team and building skills and stats toward college or professional opportunities.  Either way, the experience is your primary need.

3. Volunteer Need – This one is of particular importance to high school students but should not be dismissed by the college student.  Volunteering speaks to your character.  Many high schools require community service as part of their graduation requirements.  Universities look at volunteerism as one element of consideration when admitting students.  Companies look at your community involvement as commitment, community outreach and opportunities to be seen as a positive extension of their own business.  Assess your schedule and your need to increase your volunteer capacity.

4. Education Need – Do you need to take summer courses?  Does your graduation date indicate that you are on track with completing your diploma or degree on-time?  Do you want to get ahead on your timeline?  Assessing your summer needs for education requires that you know where you are today in your plan, seeing the end-date, and working backward on the calendar to ensure an on-time completion.

With these four identified needs, evaluating your potential summer activities now becomes more focused and allows you to take the steps essential to creating great opportunities.  Your path may be consumed by one of these “Needs” or you may be able to combine paths if you have multiple needs and a schedule that will accomodate.  Either way, by planning now you can design a unique opportunity setting yourself up for future success.

Remember, ” The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks…”  Need help breaking it down?  Contact me.

Playing and Planning for Success

A retired educator, I wish I had a penny for every student I have ever heard say, “I want to be a professional athlete.”  Not that I would be so wealthy, but the sheer volume would be impressive.  That volume struck me profoundly this week as I watched an HBO special sports presentation made by Bryant Gumbel.  During the hour long piece, he chronicled the lives of two athletes who had played in the NFL.

The athletes had each played for more than 4 years and each had contracts of over 5 million dollars per year in the 1990’s and early 2000.  Over 5 years, they had both made in excess of 20 million dollars.  However, both had since lost all of their money and one had filed for bankruptcy.  Neither had careers to fall back on and neither had a plan for moving forward.  Even more astounding was the frequency this story is repeated across the NFL.  Gumbel reported that over 60% of NFL players lose their fortune after retirement and most do not have a plan to recover.  Many have not completed their education so an immediate transition to another career is not even an option.

Imagine, 60% of retired NFL players lose their entire fortune.  That’s just the NFL.  What about the numbers in other sports?  How can that happen?  How can individuals perform at that level and then lose everything with no means to replace even part of their once highly lucrative earning power?

Students, this is the message I want you to hear loud and clear today.  Plan for your future.  Live your dreams, set your goals and have a plan for your future.  Your education is the key to transitioning throughout your life.  It can provide a satisfying and rewarding lifestyle and open doors when otherwise you may have thought them to be closed.  If you are a high school or college athlete dreaming and working hard to go professional, enjoy the ride.  Just remember, at some point, the ride comes to an end for everyone.  Your plan will provide the next opportunity and help to protect you from being an economic casualty.  It will provide your next great ride!