Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Last Thing I Heard Today

On my way out of the office today, I ran into a student whom I had seen a couple of months ago. We chatted for a few minutes and he said he understood that the economy was really bad and that he was discouraged about his job hunt. He wanted me to look at his resume to give him some tips that would get him a interview. As we talked it became very obvious that he felt that there was something “wrong” with him or his presentation that was making it difficult to find a job. I reflected all of this back to him in this way.

“You admit that you know that the job market is brutal, but you blame yourself for not finding a job. If the first part is true, then it is less likely that the second part is true.”

He smiled and said something like, “Yeah. I know that I am not the only one having trouble, but it is hard to remember that and if I believe that I am the problem, then I can fix it. It is impossible for me to control or fix the job market.”

As we finished our conversation, I pointed out to him that he was right to focus on the things that he could control. Things like effort, focus, discipline, and tenacity. I remain convinced that students who are persistent will find jobs and three years from now will that much farther ahead of those who are choosing to delay graduation, go to graduate school, or other strategies designed to help them avoid a very bad job market. The hardest job out there right now is finding a job.

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