Become a Nowist in your job search

I just watched a great 13 minute TED Talk from Joi Ito: Want to innovate? Become a “now-ist.”  He is speaking about innovation, but this applies to all parts of our lives, including your job search.  Don’t plan, do!

  • Don’t spend time worrying about what are you going to do when the recruiter calls, start applying for jobs.
  • Don’t worry about how someone will respond when you ask for an informational interview, call or email them now.
  • Don’t spend 50 hours on your resume, start asking for feedback from others.
  • Don’t focus on what you don’t have, can’t do or don’t know… focus on what you do have, can do and what you know.

Don’t worry about the HOW, do the NOW.

Joi Ito lays out a great argument for a few things that will make us successful in the PI (post-internet) era:

be CONNECTED: Why do we continue to try to do things alone?  As humans we are made to work together and we usually do it very well.  Find others to connect with where you can help them and they can help you.  I think we use to call that synergy.  LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and other social media can be utilized for way more than just learning new recipes and who is doing what with whom.  These are your social networks, invest in expanding and contributing to them.

always LEARNING: I love that he says “Learn over Education.”  I totally admit that I have skin in this one.  My 2.48 BA in Criminal Justice did not open many doors for me.  GPAs do not predict long-term performance.  They do however, predict what college you will get into, so don’t ignore them.  You do not need to pay a fee, fill out an application, make a request or join a group to learn.  Innovators like MIT,, Coursera, and many others have made learning fun, easy and cheap.  One question many interviewers ask is “How do you/have you improved professionally?”  Life is not static, you are either moving forward or you are being left behind.

be fully AWARE: This includes being self-aware.  If we do not see the opportunities for us to improve or make a change, nothing will happen.  Think of the TV show Fear the Walking Dead (Yes, I am a Dead-Head) Travis, his family and the Salazars have figured out what is happening so they are leaving their neighborhood.  As they drive by we see  other families having a quiet dinner, unaware of the real situation.  Many times we see the sign posts in life but do we pay attention.  Many of us do not move over when the road sign says “lane ending.”  We drive until we run out of road.  What do you need to do today?

be super PRESENT:  Stop worrying about that will happen tomorrow, next week, or next year: What if I lose my job? What will we do when the kids grow up? How will we pay tuition next year?  I am not saying don’t plan at all, but don’t prioritize planning over action.  Here is an example from Beth Moore of what happens when we keep thinking “if this happens, then what?”  Start living in the now and making things happen.  You can fall into analysis paralysis very easily in life and your job search.  I’ll throw another one at you: how do you eat an elephant?…  yep, one bite at a time.  Won’t worry about eating the whole elephant, start taking bites.

have a COMPASS:  We need to know where we are going but we don’t need to have the entire route planned out.  “Compass over Maps” lets us move and figure it out along the way.  You rarely find yourself without resources along the way to somewhere so don’t worry about what will happen, get busy making it happen.  You hear about a moral compass but I have never heard of a moral map.  We need a job search, career and personal compass.

We need to work on being NOWISTs.  I know that investors, banks, boards of directors and other “business” people do not like going without a plan, but some of the biggest and best results are from being a Nowist.

One example of this was during Katrina.  The Coast Guard did not wait around making plans like the Federal Government did.  They headed to New Orleans and made things happen.  They saved more than 33,500 people including rescuing from peril 24,135 lives and evacuating 9,409 medical patients to safety.  This was from action, not planning.  They were able to do this because they stayed connected, had learned through cross-training, they were aware of the issues, and they were super-present in the moment.

What are going to do today as a Nowist?


P.S. This article may not be the best-written, most grammatically correct written piece but I got my butt out of bed at 6am on Saturday, made my coffee, turned on the computer, started reading my Twitter feed, watched Joi Ito's Ted Talk, and started writing.

Doing what needs to be done may not make you happy, but it will make you great.
George Bernard Shaw