Get comfortable being uncomfortable in your job search

Most of us take the path of least resistance in our job search.  Unfortunately, that is usually the longest path and it may have the greatest cost.  Taking the most direct path to any goal is usually the most difficult and the most uncomfortable.  But taking the easy and comfortable road can cost you in your job search.  Ever heard of opportunity cost?

op·por·tu·ni·ty cost

noun: opportunity cost; plural noun: opportunity costs

the loss of potential gain from other alternatives when one alternative is chosen.

The cost of NOT doing something is often times much greater than doing it.  For instance, in your job search.  How many people have you NOT connected with on LinkedIn?  How many friends have you NOT told you were looking for a job?  That can have a REAL cost.  I have known plenty of people that have missed out on opportunities because they were late to the game.  Even the lowest hanging fruit of all in your job search, job postings, have an opportunity cost.  I personally have only posted some positions for only 24 hours while others have dragged on for months.  Companies fill some openings before the current employee works out their two week notice.  What are you NOT doing that is costing you?

Just Do It!

Nike made that phrase famous but we all need to keep it in mind.  Any time you think about contacting someone… Just Do It!  Yes, it can feel awkward and uncomfortable but what is the worst that can happen?  The could say no.  Big deal.  Bigger deal… they could say YES!  Get creative when looking for people to connect with.  I encourage job seekers to find the people that have the type of job they want then look how those people got there.

Do you have a superficial attachment to what others think?

Tim Ferriss often references stoic teachings in his podcast and this is one that hit me between the eyes.  How many times do we not do something just because we wonder “what would other people think?”  We need to be ashamed of the things only worth being ashamed of.  Is contacting a hiring manager directly worth being ashamed of?  No.  Remember that article you read about the candidate that took their resume to the company directly and asked if the hiring manager was available?  Have you done that?  But to overcome this superficial attachment we have to what others think we need to practice.

Intentional practice getting comfortable being uncomfortable

Some of the ways to practice can be VERY helpful and quite simple.

  • Ask for a discount EVERY TIME you buy something – I heard one guy asking a clerk “do you have a good guy discount?”
  • If something, do something about it – I often times see people walk by trash on the floor and not pick it up.  Unless you work in a union environment, pick it up!
  • Instead of searching for that item at the store, ask someone – yes gentlemen, I am speaking to you!
  • Ask people to borrow things – that neighbor who has an awesome saw you could use… ask to borrow it.
  • Help people – If you see someone unloading a grocery cart as you are headed into the store, tell them you will take it back in for them.

If you start looking for these things you will realize there are opportunities EVERYWHERE!  The most uncomfortable thing I have done lately?  An older gentleman was unloading his groceries from his Walmart scooter into his car.  I told him I would return it for him.  That was the longest trip into Walmart!  As a bonus, I felt great about it the rest of the day.

Have your really tried everything in your job search?

I hear people say this a lot in their job search.  Maybe you have, but I bet you haven’t or haven’t tried it for very long.  The more money you want to make or the more specific the position, the longer the job search is likely to take and the more effort it will take.   If you find yourself saying “that will never work” when someone gives you some job search advise then you have not tried everything.  Keep in mind you do want to start with things that have the greatest ROI.  Handing out resumes at your subway stop might work but if you have not already spent time networking you can spend your time more wisely.

Do. Or do not. There is no try.

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