It’s that time of year when, thanks to the calendar, we naturally look back at the events of the past 12 months and ponder what may lie ahead in the next 12.
It’s useful to spend a little time in reflection and introspection. What kind of year did we have in 2011? What did we do that was good and what could we have done better?
If you’ve been job-hunting for awhile, like me, it’s a good time to think about whether you’re in a rut. It’s too easy to fall into job search routines that don’t require too much thought or effort, but which also don’t make much difference.
Let’s say you’ve been out of work all year. Are you any closer to a new job now than you were last January? I don’t think I am. To me this means that it’s time to change my “comfortable” routines and come up with some different strategies. What’s the point in continuing to do what’s not working?
I mean, some things have worked. I’d say I’ve had maybe a dozen interviews in the past year: about one a month. I want to take a look at those applications that resulted in interviews. Did they have anything in common? Was there anything about them -- from what I said in my cover letters or resumes, to what the requirements of the jobs were, to where I found the jobs -- that was different from my applications that didn’t result in interviews? What role, if any, did people in my networks play in my obtaining those interviews?
Maybe a little retrospective analysis is called for, some semi-scientific study that could give me a few clues to successful applications (“success” being defined as applications that resulted in interviews). Maybe I’ll learn something valuable that will help me focus my job search efforts in a more productive direction in 2012.
As I look back more broadly on 2011, I’ve come to understand that I am so much more than an unemployed person. I realize that I am many other, even more important things too: a loving girlfriend and mother, a good friend and neighbor, a devoted sister, cousin and niece, a conscientious volunteer. I play multiple roles in multiple people’s lives and these roles seem to have taken on even more meaning for me in the past year.
I think I learned this year that paid work doesn’t define who I am. To put it another way, I don’t cease to be a person of value because I don’t have a job. There are so many other meaningful aspects of my life that contribute in a positive way, I believe, to the lives of others. I feel peaceful about my development as a caring human being in 2011. I have a healthier perspective on things now than I did a year ago; I see things more clearly.
In fact -- and I don't think I would have said this a year ago -- even without a new job, and with all its ups and downs, I think that it’s actually been a pretty good year.
Happy New Year!