“Dr. Phil”McGraw became a cultural icon when he was thrust upon the American television viewing audience through the Oprah Winfrey show. As some may know, Dr. Phil would listen to someone talk about a problem or a married couple sharing issues they are having, all the time with a thoughtful look on his face and his attention on the individual/s. The person/s would then share what he/she/they are trying in order to solve the problem and then Dr. Phil would ask one of his favorite questions, “Well, how’s that working for you?”
This question is tough for anyone to hear (just see the reactions of the guests on the Dr. Phil show) but when one takes an honest look at their situation, they usually can see their problem and the causes. This type of tough-love is good for all of us in our careers whether employed or in the midst of a job search. The critical piece is to take an honest look at ourselves, our situations, our efforts, etc. and find the root cause of the issue/s.
I had an alum tell me “networking is a joke, it does not work”. And yes, it was not working for this individual – but instead of casting off the entire job search technique, I challenged him to look at his efforts and practices when it came to networking and then consider the “How is that working for you?” approach. Networking was not the issue, it was the individual’s approach (in this case he would cold-email individuals and only ask for job leads) that was the issue. The approach was not working for him and he needed to change.
On a personal note, to show that this type of self-introspection is for everyone, I realized I have an issue with interviewing. I don’t listen to my own advice as my answers to questions tend to ramble on too long. I need to address this if I want to move forward in my career. Are there issues at your job (your supervision, communication, decision-making skills, lack of a profile within the company, etc.) that are causing/could cause you problems in advancing to a new role? What can you do to alter this? What have you been trying and “How is that working for you?”
Finally, when you ask yourself the “How is that working for you?” question and you realize there is an issue, you need to seek the advice of others to help you through the problem. Knowing your best efforts/ideas to address the issue are not cutting it – you must tap the expertise of friends, co-workers, mentors, etc. to help think through the issue. Don’t try to go alone as it will only add to frustration levels.
Go ahead and ask yourself, “How’s that working for you?”, be honest with your answer, and then reach out to a friend and ask for help.