Carly Simon wrote and performed a song back in the last century titled Anticipation. Matter of fact the song became a smash hit as a jingle for a Heinz Ketchup commercial. The song starts out with lyrics that are appropriate for our life on a daily basis and is certainly very appropriate for those currently or are planning for a job search:
We can never know about the days to come but we think about them anyway. And I wonder if I’m really with you now or just chasing after some finer day. Anticipation, Anticipation, Is making me late, Is keeping me waiting.
When you are in transition, everything is hurry up and wait. You are either on the recruiter’s time, the selection committee’s time or the severance time (eventually your parting gifts and cobra are going to run out). You do have some control over what you anticipate for your future but if you are a person who needs to control all aspects of your life, you are not going to enjoy the life of a job searcher.
Deepak Chopra puts it in perfect perspective: Our thinking and our behavior are always in anticipation of a response. It is therefore fear-based. In a job search you are putting your entire being out there for review, for criticism, for potential failure. If you are an individual of low esteem or poor self-confidence – this is not the arena for you to play in.
In any job search you must be prepared for the worst but anticipate the best. You can never get too high in excitement or too depressed due to rejection; and believe me you will be rejected! Even the best of participants in this “eat them up and spit them out” game called job search can have a bad day or two. Those are the days that you thought you were perfect for the job and for whatever reason it just didn’t come to pass.
Experts will tell you not to over-analyze rejection and just move on because if you whine and wallow you will be stuck in a chasm of slow return. We anticipate success and eventually it shall come upon you. You need an attitude that there is always a reason for what happens – you may not understand it now but it will come to you in time.
I have interviewed enough in my career to look back at those job rejections and realize that rejection isn’t always a bad event. I remember one association position that was perfect for me. It was financially strong and had a value proposition that I could buy into. For whatever reason I didn’t get the job. The individual who did receive the nod lasted only a year! It just wasn’t the right time for a change in that organization and frankly I would have been in the same predicament if I was chosen to lead.
A leadership role is very tenuous at best. A great Leader is one with not just great ideas but also has the talents to persuade the followers that he has a path to “the promised land.” The unfortunate circumstances around that path can be catastrophic. A Leader is only as good as the followers are willing to be lead. You might also note that I mentioned “a path to the promised land;” unfortunately many Leaders believe in themselves so much that they promise “the path.”
The inherent issue for all of us who are Association Executives as well as currently being In Transition is that we cannot help but continue to plan. We are PLANNERS – we cannot help ourselves. We are constantly looking for a problem to solve, additional value for our members and anticipating for the future. Job searches are an antithesis of our true being. A job search has too many variables and too many potential land mines.
In many ways being in a job search provides us all a new way to think and a new philosophy on life. We cannot always be in control of our future! We can still anticipate and plan for tomorrow but please be aware of the fact that the telephone calls and e-mails we receive are not always within our time frame and are not always the response we are looking for.
Alfred Hitchcock, the remarkable movie-maker put it in terms we all can relate to in discussing anticipation, “There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it.” The future may indeed be a promised land but don’t forget where you are today and by what means you use to get to tomorrow.
Even in a job search, enjoy what you have and learn from you current situation. Times might indeed be troublesome at present, but in all occasions we can learn and prosper and like the Carly Simon lyrics, don’t be chasing some finer day while others are wondering if you are with them now.
Dan Borschke is a Certified Association Executive who has been a CEO for 3 distinct trade associations in his career. He is one of only 230 Association Executives worldwide who has been granted the prestigious designation of Fellow by the American Society of Association Executives. He currently is between positions and has written more than 50,000 words and 95 blog postings on the topics of job search and career transition. He can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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