The Project ended this week. Like many things, it did not go as I planned. I thought I would spend some enjoyable time discovering what I wanted to do for a living, identify a few companies to speak to about my plans, secure an exciting high paying job in a non-traditional manner, save the world a little while I was at it, and write about my progress, which would be fun for me, and inspiring for you. I was willing to be flexible on saving the world and inspiring you. Plans don’t get any easier.
In my defense, all my previous experience in securing employment lead me to believe this was entirely reasonable. I created a schedule of articles detailing the process, all based on the idea that I knew where things would end up. I could plow through them, but that would be boring to write, and to read. When the plan comes unraveled, it’s time for a new one, so I am going to bring you up to speed right now.
I enlisted a dozen people to do the exercises in What Color Is Your Parachute. I wanted to gauge the value of self-help activities in general, and job seeking processes in particular. I learned something, but it is not what I expected.
Navel gazing is hard work, and few people find the time or the energy to do it. Of my 12 volunteers, only a few finished the book. Each one began with enthusiasm, or obligation, in the case of my sisters, but that rarely brought anyone through the whole process. I am not judging the participants of my experiment. If I was not unemployed, I may not have tackled it with much relish either.
It indicates something interesting though. Few people ever try guided self-improvement. I cannot speak for anyone else, but I think that is unfortunate, because I found the experience worthwhile. The book directed me to create a diagram identifying work I want, and will do well. I used the information to create a different sort of resume. I am extremely pleased with it.
It is tempting to ignore the idea that you can make major improvements in your life just by being introspective. A routine of commitments and obligations can propel you across decades if you don’t look around occasionally. You can accomplish a surprising amount by sitting down at your kitchen table with a pen and paper, and asking yourself, “What do I want?”
Dream jobs are not advertised in the paper, so I phone target companies and contacts. Setting up meetings with people who do not know your name is not easy, but I meet with decent success. The meetings are varied, and produce a few interesting discussions, but nothing else, yet. I continue to pursue this method because I feel it holds the most promise.
Submitting resumes to HR departments in response to job postings is a crapshoot at the best of times, and these are not the best of times. Then again, you never know, so I have sent a few out, and will continue to do so.
The Project did not wrap up into a nice neat package like I had envisioned, and the completion date has past without a major success, but I continue to work on it. I am writing copy for a website, developing on-line training and a software idea, looking for a way into residential or environmental construction, seeking work in various industries, and writing. The pursuit of enjoyable work does not have a definitive end date. As it turns out, my dream job is an evolving project.