Transition: Did I Fail?

In my previous post I started writing about a Career Transition talk I attended called “Unemployment: It’s About More Than Just Finding Your Next Job.” Al Gustafson, founder and past president of the Career Transition Center, asked us to consider seven questions while we were in this period of Transition. The questions were so thought-provoking that I thought I’d share them with you.

Previous questions I covered in earlier posts:
*Are you Working on Purpose?
*How Much is Enough?
*What Courageous Act Am I Called to Take?

In this post, I’d like to share the next three questions with you…

Fourth Question: Did I Fail?

A tough question. He followed it up with two others: Can you learn? And can you admit that you failed? For me, I have to admit that my failure to take action after I saw the writing on the wall has led me here. On the other hand, I also have to admit that this has probably been the best thing that has ever happened to me. I have taken risks, traveled and learned considerably more about myself and others than if I had survived yet another layoff.

To close out this question, he shared a quote from Ed Kodak with us: “A mistake is an event that the full benefit of which has not yet been turned to our advantage.”

The question is – did you fail? But more importantly, did you learn from it?

Fifth Question: Who Deserves Thanks?

He reminded us that we are dependent on others throughout our lives, but especially during a Transition. A priest in a parish that he grew up in would sit down every Friday and write a thank you note to someone who helped him that previous week. His example is something we should remember, he said because we are made up of the relationships of our lives.
I have received a lot of coaching, job leads and advice from people in my network and complete strangers. The question is to you, who deserves thanks?

Six Question: How are you feeding your non-professional life?

Sitting in front a computer or being on the phone 8 hours a day looking for a job is a quick way to reach burn out. Are we thinking of our job search as a marathon or as a sprint? Marathon runners, he pointed out, reserve energy to go for the long haul, but they often look like they’ve been through a wringer – they are thin and not that healthy-looking. Sprinters on the other hand, like Carl Lewis, know they have to go all out for a short distance, so they train to be able to release large bursts of energy at once.

We should look at our job search as a sprint, not a marathon, and give ourselves plenty of time to recharge. Volunteer, pick up that hobby you didn’t have time for before, or work through list of books you promised yourself you’d read. After feeding your non-professional life for a few hours, you’ll be fresh enough to focus on the job hunt.

During my Transition, I’ve been learning Japanese and reading books that I would only have been able to glance at before. A few hours a day of intense focus on something other than “I must find a job” has relieved much of the anxiety and stress of the job hunt. What are you doing to feed your non-professional life?

I’ll finish up with the last question in my next post.


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