I ran the New York Marathon in 1990 and discovered what in meant to hit “the wall” while running the race. Somewhere between crossing over into The Bronx and running through Harlem, I couldn’t think clearly, my feet started to shuffle, I started to cry thinking that I was going to finish the race. I immediately realized I was in trouble. I hung on to finish that hot day with heat stroke . . . but finished running 26.2 miles on a day where it was 78 degrees out (extremely warm for a marathon).
People often find the wall during their job search, too. They are not getting results, things are falling apart and they are back at feels like square one . . . again.
If that ever happens to you, here are a few things you can do.
1. Refocus your search
OK. You’re back at the beginning. What worked? What didn’t? Who could you ask for advice or information? Where did you drop the ball and let something fall between the cracks. Stir up the pot with everyone you know or are connected with and make things happen again.
3. Network better.
Circle back to your connections and see who else you might contact. When applying for a position, see whether any of your LinkedIn connections will introduce you to a hiring manager. Ask them if they’ll introduce you to someone with more information. Go to a network group meeting or a trade conference in your field. Work the room.
4. Take a break
I know this is counterintuitive and I sometimes struggle following my own advice about this. Then I remember coaching I did with a former employee many years ago. She would commute to NYC from the Jersey Shore getting in early and getting home late. Eat a slice of pizza. Make some phone calls at night. Fall asleep and then do the same thing the next day. She came into my office in tears. My advice? You’re working too hard. Ease up on yourself and you’ll get better results . . .and she did.
5. Hire me to coach you
No matter how much you read and how much you try, no matter how many times you’ve changed jobs, you are an amateur doing battle with a bunch of pros. It’s like visiting the IRS without a lawyer or an accountant. You’re screwing yourself.
Feeling cheap and don’t want to spend the money?
You’re entitled to make that mistake.
Don’t have the money?
Whichever you do, don’t be a fool and do nothing, fumbling away opportunities you can’t afford to drop.
There is an old joke about a poor man who begs G-d to help him win the lottery. This goes on for months. Suddenly, lightening and thunder erupt from what was otherwise a sunny sky and a booming voice that only he can hear says, “Meet me half way and buy a lottery ticket.”
When you are the problem, you need to change to become the solution.
Get organized and don’t waste referrals from people.
Improve your interview skills.
Add some fun to your life. It doesn’t have to be expensive. Take a walk. Go for a hike. Take time off with your family. Go to the gym and work out.