Perseverance is a Job Search Virtue

Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes once said: “The moment you turn a corner you see another straight stretch ahead and there comes some further challenges to your ambition.”    It may be a bit ironic to take perseverance advice from F. Scott Fitzgerald but: “Vitalty shows in not only the ability to persist but the ability to start over.”   Ralph Waldo Emerson is quoted to say: “The great majority of men are bundles of beginnings.”   Probably the most insightful comment on perseverance comes from Robert Louis Stevenson: “Saints are sinners who kept on going.”

Like anything else in life, a job search is hard work and the ultimate prize is the result of perseverance and “stick-to-it-ness.”  I met with a recruiter yesterday who stated that the only reason he found time to talk with me was because of my perseverance.  I guess that was a compliment!

There is a thin line between perseverance and being a pest and that line is different for every receipient of your phone calls and e-mails.  There is a theory in salesmanship that you should never take no for an answer until the the tenth negative response.  The theory is that the more you make contact the more apt you will be able to make a sale.  The typical salesman, maybe the exception being Arthur Miller’s Willy Lohman or Saul Bellow’s Tommy Wilhelm does not take a negative response personally. 

You can’t take rejection personally because you could find yourself  in a continual down disposition.  A successful salesman always is looking toward that next call or appointment and in many ways, a job seeeker as a salesman of one’s self must always maintain the same approach.  It is so easy for those who write motivational books to tell you that you must keep a stiff-upper lip but there are many out in the job market who are living proof that a positive attitude will always win the job, eventually.

Eventually is certainly the caveat.  Unfortunately for many, the job search can be quite lengthy during these trying times and will try the patience of us all.  The focus must always be the ultimate prize and though the process can be difficult, it is imperative to maintain your networking and touching base on a methodical basis with old and new contacts with the understanding that everyone has their own life to live and you and your job search may not be of  their most  immediate and foremost focus; which by the way might be to your liking.

One of the underlying secrets for those who are in the job search mode is that we don’t always want to talk about the search (unless of course you have a job for me!).  Lord knows there is much going on in the world, and like all your other contacts we certainly can talk about current events, family and maybe even politics, sports and religion. 

Another secret during the search is to expose yourself to postive people and positive things.  Listen to upbeat music and certainly not melancholy death-marches.  Interact with family and friends who can see the rainbow rather than the negative in everything.  How about watching a movie or tv show that has no social meaning; just plain, unadulterated escapism?  We can always find enjoyment and these times certainly demand such.

Perseverance is a personality trait that we pound into our children at an early age.  We certainly encourage our kids not to give up when it becomes difficult so maybe if we are going to succeed we best remember what we told our offsprings when they were questioning whether they should continue.  Finding the right employment position is a hefty task and one none of us take lightly.  We will certainly find ourselves in the doldrumbs on occasion but if we are to succeed it is certainly imperative to look to the positive with the knowledge that tomorrow is  certainly a better day.  If that doesn’t work, how about some dark chocolate –  it is good for your heart!


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