by J. Michael DeAngelis
The week before winter break is typically a very quiet one here in Career Services. Most of our students are either in finals or already off campus and our employer contacts are similarly enjoying a brief respite before the New Year. I suspect that my colleagues, much like myself, were expecting a very quiet day around the office today. So imagine my surprise when we came into work this morning and found this:
It seems that Grandfather Winter was wreaking a little havoc in the Career Services conference room and On Campus Recruiting offices over the weekend. Perhaps he’s frustrated he didn’t get a pre-select slot with Goldman Sachs or just jealous that Mother Nature is always stealing his thunder. Regardless of the reason, we’ve spent the better part of the day bailing out our offices, trying to salvage important paperwork and cherished personal items before the ever growing flood waters wash them away.
Our dreams of a peaceful morning went down the drain. Thankfully, however, we are a high spirited staff. Moans and groans quickly turned into laughter and smiles. Those of us with good boots teamed up and waded through the water to move boxes of files and personal effects to higher, drier ground. Though as I write this the water is still pouring in, there’s little more we can do except wait for things to dry out.
It may sound cliché, but there are parallels here to your entry on the job market. As you go through the job search process, you are no doubt hearing about what a difficult task lies ahead and great proclamations about the shaky state of the economy. As time marches on without the security of employment, it can indeed feel like the flood waters are rising. Still, you have to press on. Let’s use today’s actual flood as an example of how to cope:
1. As the late Douglas Adams famously stated: DON’T PANIC. Any lifeguard will tell you that panicking in an emergency is a one way ticket to drowning. Keep your head about you. No matter how bad things may seem, panic and worry aren’t going to help. Make a game plan and set goals that will keep you high and dry – for example, set aside dedicated time to work on your job search and use it wisely. This can mean applying to jobs, revising your resume, searching resources like PAC Net, or even consulting with Career Services over break. Focus your energy instead of trying to swim without direction.
2. MOVE AWAY FROM RISING WATERS. Much like there is little point in me standing in the OCR office while icy waters rise up above my ankles, it’s equally important for you to set aside time where you are not focused on your job hunt. Go for a walk, read a book, wait in line for hours to see Avatar, finish that one last essay that you promised you’d complete over break…just step away for a moment. Though we obviously want you to stay committed to your search, becoming overwhelmed isn’t going to help you. Make sure that you use at least some of your break as an actual vacation!
3. DON’T KICK LEO OFF THE RAFT. Titanic – the timeless love story of a girl, a boy and the icy waters that came between them. Yes, we all swooned when Leo bravely plunged into the murky depths so that Kate Winslet could live, but let’s face it – she’s probably not a factor in your job search (If she is, please let us know how in the comment section!).
Just as the Career Services staff teamed up this morning to clear out the water damaged sections of our office, you should remember that you don’t have to fight your flood alone either. Many of your peers are going through the same thing you are – draw on them for support, encouragement and advice. Don’t kick your friends off the proverbial raft – even if you are competing for the same jobs. Celebrate each others’ successes and carry each other through difficult times. Career Services is here to help as well – tossing you a life preserver if you need it through resume and cover letter reviews and job search guidance…even during the break.
4. WEAR REALLY GOOD SHOES. A good pair of gortex boots will keep your feet dry during a flood and a tough, positive attitude will get you through your job search. Not only will it do you a world of good to stay optimistic, but potential employers are more likely to respond to someone with a “can do” attitude rather than someone who acts as if they’ve lost the job before they even get it.
As you can tell, it’s been an interesting Monday. Have a safe break – and we promise to dry out before you get back! In the meantime, as you traverse your own flood waters, feel free to call or e-mail us over the break – we’ll re-open on January 4th…come hell or high water!