The Job Hunter
By Rabbi Mordechai Kruger
Feeling lost? A lot of job hunters do. One moment ago they were living a cozy, predictable life. Whether they were in yeshiva or in school, working at home or at a job, something changed. Student, homemaker, or employee, suddenly they were propelled into a strange place where they have to find something new. Problem is, they don’t know exactly what it is they are looking for, they don’t know where it is, they don’t even know which road leads in the right direction. Might be worth learning from a slightly different “hunter” who was in a similar predicament a few years back. I’m thinking, of course, of Dorothy, that displaced worker, who was looking for the wizard whose magic would whisk her right back to the job she wanted most, back on the farm in Kansas, working with Aunt Em.
Like many job hunters, Dorothy got lots of advice from well-meaning people. Just follow that Yellow Brick Road, talk to the wizard, and all will be well. And with amazing stick-to-itiveness, she made it to Oz, where she found that the wizard . . . was a fake. No magic at all.
At least today’s job hunters don’t have to face wicked witches. But a lot of job hunters are looking for a wizard. That business owner who davens in your shul. That friend of your uncle’s who is surely willing to give you a chance. That job counselor who gets jobs for lots (thousands!) of people. Sorry to tell y’all . . . there’s not a drop of magic in any of them. No one, but no one, can “get” you a job. And no one will “give” you one, either. But you can get hired when you convince someone that you can do the job that needs to be done by solving problems and creating value for the employer. And the only person who can do that convincing is you.
When a job hunter comes to me at Pathways, the first thing I tell him is that there is no magical path to a job. There is work that can be done, work that requires focus and maturity. Work that isn’t obvious to most job hunters. And although I can teach you the steps you should be taking, I definitely won’t tell where those steps will lead you. Because there are many Yellow Brick Roads, all leading to Success in different ways. And your road? Sometimes you will find it easily, sometimes it’s hard, and sometimes you have to build your own.
I’d love to be a wizard. I’ve had clients tell me, “I don’t have time (or patience, or interest) to do your kind of job search. I just want a job!” If only I could just whisk them right to their new employer’s door!
But that would actually be about the worst thing I could do. A job hunter builds a connection to an employer by focusing on the value he can produce and the problems he can solve. He needs to do that to get a job, and keep doing it every day afterwards.
So if you are looking for help in finding a job, don’t look for a wizard. Learn how to bring out the magic that is inside of you. v
Rabbi Mordechai Kruger is the founder and director of Pathways to Parnassa, an organization providing job-search and career coaching to our community. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.