My son is 7 months old and is trying to crawl. His ultimate goal is to cross the carpet the requisite 3 feet to reach the remote control that is currently on the floor. It is a noble goal and one that he is very motivated to achieve. He has learned how to situate himself in the proper position – on his stomach and his head and chest off the ground – appearing to be ready to accomplish the task. And then he tries to propel himself forward by using his arms. His clumsy effort results in him pushing his body even further away from the desired goal. He tries again…with the same result. Frustration sets in.
This scene is a metaphor for many of us in our job search. We have a goal of a particular job with a certain employer and we are very motivated to accomplish this goal. We appear to put ourselves in the correct position by tailoring our application materials, conducting research about the role and employer, and even networking with key individuals who may be able to put in a good word with decision makers. We are ready to go. But failure comes – we are not offered an interview or are told, “We appreciate your interest but at this time cannot offer you the position.” Frustration sets in.
The next day my son sees the remote again on the floor. Not letting yesterday’s failure affect him, he proceeds to try again. On his stomach, head and shoulders propped off the floor, and go. He propels himself…backwards. Again. Just as frustration is about to take hold, he kicks his arms and rolls over a couple of times. When he stops he sees that he is closer to the remote. He continues to roll – only to roll past the remote. He shifts his body and rolls back, again missing the remote but missing by a lesser margin. Finally, he shifts his body again, rolls toward the remote, and is rewarded with the sweet taste of molded plastic in his mouth.
What does this have to do with your job search? Consider the example – you set yourself up for success only to fail. You attempt again using the same approach, and fail. You can give up or try to find new techniques to reach your goal. And like my son, it may take multiple efforts with course corrections along the way in order to reach your goal. I just hope the success tastes better than a remote control.
Today, my son now just shy of nine months old. If a remote control is left on the floor he does his best Seal Team Six impersonation as he crawls across the floor quickly and quietly. He operates in complete stealth mode and before I can react, he is changing the television from ESPN to Disney by way of chewing on the remote. Just as my son has become adept, possibly an expert, at achieving his goal so will you with time and effort. Keep your eyes on the prize and don’t let setbacks derail your efforts.