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‘My Exciting Career’ – The next bit.
If you haven’t read the previous post then now is a good time to do that.
In Part 1 I mentioned that the job market consists of both the VISIBLE MARKET (that which you can see online of employment opportunities like SEEK or advertised generally) and the HIDDEN MARKET (that which is below the surface and is never or rarely advertised). I also mentioned the beginning of the process by being sure in your mind of what you will not do as opposed to finding the answer to what you will do. To some it can be clear what they will do but my experience tells me that the majority have no idea let alone how they will do it.
So, this time around we will explore how you might begin to crack that hidden market and how you respond to the question people will ask you, ‘what are you going to do?’
For a start make a list of all your contacts regardless of how you know them or their relationship with you.
Begin with an ‘A’ GROUP. This is the relatively small group of people who you regard as very close to you, either friends or relatives who you have very regular contact with. Make a note of where they work if you know or find out if you don’t. Remember all these people know people who work somewhere even your grandmother! I remember once someone had been trying to get into see a CEO of a company to little or no avail. At a family BBQ she mentioned her frustration to others and on mentioning the CEO’s name it turned out that her grandmother, a long retired secondary teacher, exclaimed that if it was the ‘little Freddie’ she knew then he was a former student of hers. ‘Use my name” she apparently said and it worked, she managed to get her foot in the door and speak to this guy. True story.
Next will be a ‘B’ GROUP. This is a list of people who you know quite well but who do not reside in your ‘A’ Group. In other words they are not very close but one step out from that. These normally comprise a larger number and are people who you may know through your social circle, church connection, sport, schooling, former work colleagues, people in small business you know well, etc.
You may even have a ‘C’ GROUP of people and these can be those more distant. People you may have attended some classes with, or long ago school friends that you recall or may have kept in contact with. Maybe former customers or suppliers of business. Make a note.
Almost everyone will tell me that they do not know many people but again, my experience here is that we tend to know more people that we give ourselves credit for and once you get the brain working it can be amazing how a name will pop back into your head as you are walking down the street or watching TV. Write them down.
Now, the question “Julie, I hear that you are on your own these days, what are you up to? What are you going to do? Are you working?” The answer typically is a throw up of anger, frustration, panic, or cold sweat etc., the dog’s going to die, the roses are going to fall over, how the hell do I know what I am going to do. Who’s going to employ a 50 year old? And so on, and so on.
Strangely this is one of the most important questions you can face and almost everyone shoots themselves in the foot with the answer as they are NOT LISTENING to what people are saying to them and they are NOT LISTENING to what they are saying to people.
Imagine a scenario. I know you through some manner. I run a business and I have heard of the issues you have been through and I am thinking to myself ‘Gee, I wonder of Julie would be interested in working for me as I need someone to help me organise X because of a new contract and it may assist her as well.’ This does happen I can guarantee you.
But because I don’t know what it is you may have planned I am unlikely to just jump in and say ‘Wow Julie, have I got a job for you!’ It is going to be more like ‘What are you up to? What are you going to do? After all you could be packing the bags and heading interstate or running off with the toy boy or whatever, Just joking!
Now, here it is. If your response is full of negative stuff, full of personal anguish, the ‘nobody loves me’ kicking the stones approach then the message to me is that Julie is not ready for work. At best I say ‘good luck, hope it all works out for you’ and a possible job walks away with me and you don’t even know about it. Worse, I walk down the road and run into someone else who knows you and who says, ‘How is Julie going?’ And I say ‘god don’t go there as you will get an earful.’
So, you have to see yourself as a blip on everyone’s radar screen and how can you keep that blip alive. Sure, you may be wrenching inside but if you are going to kick the cat, kick it at home, not outside.
Now our scenario again. “Julie, I hear that you are on your own these days, what are you up to? What are you going to do?”
Here is the tip. Kick the question back at me “Jenny, that is a pretty interesting question. One thing I am not going to do is fall in a heap. I am moving on and part of that is to get into the workforce, so I would be very interested in hearing what you think I could do? What happens in your business or industry? I need information on what is going on out there to help me get direction? Would you help me?”
By kicking the question back you allow me to come into your world. ‘Well, have you ever thought of… Would you consider…..Yes, why don’t we have a chat about that?’
You need to get the eyes and ears of people you know working for you. I can guarantee you that good employers are looking for good reliable people all the time. In my years in my business I have never advertised for anyone. I have had people come to me or I have put the word out and sooner rather than later the right person appears.
Also, people who know you often will have an opinion of you that you cannot see or are not aware of. ‘Boy that Julie, she had such a great personality. I could really use someone like that in my sales area. Someone who my customers can relate to. I wonder if she would consider working for me?’
The BLIP I mentioned is that even if I do not have a job on my mind I may be talking to a business colleague who says that he needs someone in the sales area who has a vibrant personality and how hard it is to get good staff. What I am going to do is indicate that I know someone and maybe he should have a discussion with you. Believe me ladies, when I say that this is exactly what happens in business, as a discussion with you could save thousands of dollars in advertising and interviewing time lost.
Okay, I hear you say, that is all very well but you don’t know what your skills are or what you can sell and maybe you have not done a Resume for a thousand years etc. Well, this is very normal I have to tell you. Nothing strange about it.
Most people have more skills that they are aware of. You drive a car – that is a skill and it can be somewhere to start. Look around your local library or bookshop there are hundreds of books about examining your skills and competencies and I am not talking about tests either.
Go back to the tips in Part 1 about tapping into your natural god given abilities that you take for granted too.
Share your thoughts, comments, personal story or suggestions – we are here to help you.
With love and gratitude
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