When Your Job Search is Finally Over… What Have You Learned?

About a year ago, I severely hurt my back at my volunteer job. For several months, I could barely walk and I was terrified that I would spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair.

As I finally started to see some improvement, I said to myself: “That was the worst experience of my life! Once I’m better and actually participating in life again… what will I have learned from this experience?”

Many job seekers have struggles that make them feel helpless and frustrated; like they have no idea how they got into their present situation – or how to get out of it; how long before they will feel whole again – or if they ever will feel whole again!

When you finally do reach that destination of getting a new job  – and you will… what will you have learned from this experience?

Will you, as you have in the past, meet people and accept their business card, tossing them in a desk drawer never to be seen again? Or, will you take with you what you learned about the value of networking – and regularly maintain your contacts and relationships?

Will you settle into your new job, and – now that everything is alright again, you’re caught up on your bills and the stress is over – get complacent? Or will you regularly and consciously remind yourself of the frustration you once felt – the angst of saying to yourself, “If someone would just hire me, I will bust my ass every single day at that job!” – and use that as motivation to excel in your new position?

Will you dutifully put in your 9-to-5… passing the time, barely getting your work done… some days just “mailing in” your performance? Or will you develop a relationship with a mentor, take personal development classes, join a networking group and regularly read industry-related blogs so your skill-set stays sharp… sharper than your competition’s should you ever find yourself again looking for work?

Will you “reward” yourself for surviving your job seeking ordeal by buying yourself some expensive toys? You earned it, right? Or will you keep with you the burning memory of debt and juggling your bills; wondering if your dwindling savings will last until you have a new job? And you’ll religiously save 10% of every paycheck, pay off those credit card bills and as you quote Scarlett O’Hara from “Gone with the Wind”… “As God is my witness… I’ll never be hungry again!”

(Okay, I admit… the Scarlett reference is a bit dramatic. The point is still valid).

When you find yourself in a difficult place, and you recover, you’d better become stronger. Keep with you the lessons learned and the promises made – to yourself, your family, and the friends and mentors who helped you through a difficult time. If you don’t… you’re going to find yourself there again.

As for my situation, I’m doing better (thanks for asking). After a lot of work, I can walk almost trouble-free again. But in my smartphone I keep a picture of my car that I took back when I couldn’t walk the 100 feet to actually reach the car. (Back then, that may as well have been 100 miles). That picture reminds me of what I’ve overcome so far – and I keep it remind myself to do absolutely whatever it takes to avoid that situation again.

When you get your new job, and you find yourself in a better place – and you will – will you have learned from your job search experience?


About the Author: Dave Ellis is an original member of the YouTern team and instrumental to its success… in fact, he’s so awesome there wouldn’t be a YouTern without him (and he might have written this bio himself). In his spare time, Dave volunteers, rescuing and rehabilitating sea lions and baby elephant seals. Follow Dave on Twitter!

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