Over the weekend, I was looped in (read: dragged in) to a politically charged Facebook thread. It was one of those posts in which the initial author gets everyone revved up and then his responders spend the day trying to enlighten one another (or put one another in their places), in suppppperrr long rants back and forth (think: 500+ word blobs of text).
Always terrific fun.
I admittedly could not, would not, did not read through the entire thread (because: BAKING, PEOPLE. I was baking), but I did catch the gist of why I was being copied into the conversation -- It was a post intending to get small business owners all fired up about the taxes we're unfairly paying and how outrageous the entire system is. If I understood correctly, it was assumed that I was going to jump in and gripe and complain about my hard earned money being wrenched from my clutches and used in stupid ways by the government.
I did not get sucked in. I made one quick response about how I believe I'm here on this earth to support and help others, both through the services I offer and the tax dollars I contribute. And then I went back to my cookie baking.
Does that mean I'm not annoyed when stories of wasteful government hit the media? Nope. Does it mean I'm a Socialist? Nope. Does it mean I don't pay attention to or care about what's going on in my country, in our world? Absolutely not.
It means that I refuse to spend a precious Saturday blowing hot air out onto Facebook, because it doesn't just waste my time ...
... it doesn't do anything to improve the situation.
These characters spent at least half of their Saturday madly attempting to set one another straight (which, as we all know, is not going to happen on FACEBOOK), to get the other guy to "see the light."
And at the end of the day, guess what? Nothing was different, for any of them. Sure, you had a half dozen people feeling significantly more riled up than they had earlier in the day, but from the standpoint of actually making an improvement or change, not one of them made their personal situations any better.
A similar thing plays out sometimes among frustrated job seekers.
When you're trudging through a lengthy job search, it can start feeling tremendously unjust. You may feel angry at HR people for being so impersonal, at hiring managers who judge you unfairly, at the software system that weeds you out without even giving you a chance, at the U.S. government for shipping so many jobs overseas, or at robots for doing things faster, more accurately and cheaper than we mere mortals can. (Don't be mad at robots. They're awesome.)
You may rant and rave to anyone who will hear you out.
And this is understandable. There's a lot to get angry about when you get down to it, because the overall staffing and recruitment system (much like the system that decides on the formulas for who pays what in taxes) is convoluted and imperfect. It's messy. It's overly complicated. It doesn't always deliver fair results. It's a beast.
But guess what? It's the system we're working with right now.
Given this, you really have a few choices:
- Get mad at how the system works and complain and complain about how unfair or bad or stupid it is (a la the Facebook rant),
- Decide that you're not willing to play this game, and find another way to earn a living (e.g. start your own small business, so long as you can deal with the aforementioned "paying taxes" part), or
- Accept that you're dealing with a messy, imperfect system, and figure out strategies that enable you to move forward in spite of its messiness and imperfectness.
I mean, that's really it. Sure, you can commit yourself to helping the universe make a better system -- for both job search and for the tax code -- but that's probably not going to improve your personal situation in the short-term.
So, what are you going to do?
Are you going to spend hours and hours griping about the ugliness of the system, or find tangible ways to improve your situation, take control and roll forward?
I vote the latter all day long.
I'm sure you do, too.
Please know that my heart is truly with every frustrated job seeker. Every one of you. I know it's ridiculously hard and overly complicated. I know that it's not fair. I know it shouldn't be about your age, or what you look like or if match up exactly to the job description or not (because, who does?) And I know that the technology that supports the staffing process benefits the hiring companies much more than the job seeker. (Because, duh, that's where the money is.)
But I also know it's not hopeless. I've worked with and seen so many, many people who have won at this, even when they were quite certain everything was working against them. Even when all they wanted to do was yell and kick and scream about how awful it all is.
I've helped them build strategies. I've redirected their energy toward activities that will actually move them forward. I've helped them negotiate better offers or launch small businesses. And I've raised a glass (both in person and virtually) to celebrate with them when they prevail.
And I will gladly break away from my cookie making to help you do the same.
If you're interested ...
We're just about to begin booking new clients into January 2017. If you want to strategize on your job search (or throw around some ideas to launch your own business in the new year), I invite you to grab one our (few) remaining December consult slots right HERE.
You are not broken, the system is. Let's get you into something great regardless.