By Rabbi Mordechai Kruger
Whether you are job hunting because you just finished school, or you were downsized, your job was shipped overseas, or you just plain got fired, you need to realize that you automatically have a job assigned to you. This job is called “job hunting.” And it is the one job that just about everyone needs to do very well. Statistics show that, like it or not, it is the one job that just about everyone will need to do several times during their working lifetime.
The common perception is that it didn’t used to be this way. In the middle-class Jewish world of businessmen and professionals where I, and most people I know, grew up, people had jobs and they stayed with them. Or so I thought. Thinking about this article made me realize that my father had at least three working careers, and a fourth as a volunteer in retirement that was totally unrelated to anything he had done before. His best friend would today be called a serial entrepreneur. In those days they blamed it on ants. So that common perception may be pretty far from reality.
Today’s reality is that the average working person will hold more than ten jobs during his lifetime, and even college graduates can expect to experience several periods of extended unemployment. For the skillful job hunter, these changes will be challenges to be handled, and some of them will become steps forward to unanticipated opportunities for growth and success. For those who remain passive, e-mailing résumés in response to want ads as they bemoan their sad situation, these changes will bring stress and disruption to their personal lives, at a terrible cost to their families and communities.
Today, we often look at a job hunter the way we look at someone with a terrible disease caused by irresponsible behavior. And the job hunter often feels the same way. But there is no reason why this should be the case. Job hunting is an equal-opportunity employer. Just about everyone will need to do it, probably several times. There’s nothing shameful or embarrassing about it.
Success at job hunting requires focus and hard work. But there are also methods and skills that greatly increase the chances of success. These skills can be learned, and they often make the difference between finding new opportunities and total frustration. Anyone starting a job hunt should begin by reading a good book, like the newest edition of What Color Is Your Parachute? by Richard N. Bolles, or speaking to a job-search coach. Be persistent, assertive, and proactive. Learning the skill of job hunting well will help you get your next job, help you be successful, and help you be ready for the next challenge whenever it comes. 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.