What Children Can Teach Us About Career Management, Part 3

Girl holding colorful taffyI’m continuing this series on lessons learned from children about the job hunt and career management. Parts One and Two can be found here and here.

6)  Children are tenacious.

Granted, kids get a lot of encouragement from everyone when they are starting to walk or when they approximate words as their speech emerges. But then there are those other times, like when my son continues to scale the heights of our furniture despite many parental reprimands and a few tumbles. He just keeps going back to it again and again, determined to master it no matter who or what stands in his way!

Job hunting and maintaining a good grasp on career management require the same perseverance. Even when it feels like you are not making any headway with your job search or checking to make sure your career is on track feels like a bother, you have to keep at it. These words by Louis Pasteur are very fitting: “Let me tell you the secret that has led me to my goal: my strength lies solely in my tenacity.”

I know — being in the job search for a while or sitting in “maintenance” mode in your career can make it especially challenging to keep the drive alive. Place your goals that you want to achieve at the forefront and remind yourself why they are important. If it helps, you can also motivate yourself with inspirational quotes. These methods can help spur you on to have the same tenacity that my son has!

7)  They have a great capacity to forgive.

As children will do, my kids have their squabbles. If my son has been the offender in the disagreement, he will go up to his sister, apologize, and they will hug. Then my daughter says, “I ‘give you.” And all is right in their world again.

Job loss is a horrible thing to experience. I know how tough it was on my husband and our family as we were trying to make sense of what was happening after he was laid off. But sinking into bitterness and blaming your company, the economy, or yourself not only hurts you personally, it can detrimentally impact your efforts at finding new employment. According to Niki Atherton, an IT Search Executive at Ashley Ellis:

“The problem is that towards the middle or end of an interview, candidates slowly become more negative depending on the type of questions being asked. Their body language and facial expressions change, even if they are trying to remain positive in their words.”

Even saying the words “I forgive you” can provide some mental relief to the anguish you may be feeling.

  • Forgive your former company for letting you go or for creating an environment that required you to leave.  Whether the choices on their end were good or bad, what’s done is done; staying angry at them is not going to make the situation better.
  • Forgive the forces that brought about this awful economy.  The events that have contributed to the current state of affairs are many.  It’s really an exercise in futility to continually curse everyone and everything that brought us to this place.
  • Forgive yourself if you may have had a hand in what is happening at this point in your career.  We all make mistakes.  As I said earlier, what’s done is done.  Beating yourself up about the bad choices you may have made doesn’t benefit you.  Instead, think about the lessons you have learned and how this experience will make you more effective in your career from this point forward.

Is it easy? No, definitely not. Is it necessary? Absolutely.

Sometimes forgiveness is one of those things where you have have to “fake it ’til you make it.” It may not come right away, but over time, there can be a decrease in the negative tapes that play in your head, and that will help you as you go out to talk to people about opportunities.

8 )  Kids are enthusiastic!

“Mommy, I have to tell you something!” When my girl squeals with delight like that and is so animated that she can’t be contained, I know it’s good. Her smile lights up her face and her dark eyes sparkle in anticipation of the story she is about to share with me.

I found a great article at the website of the CPCU Society that talked about how attitude and enthusiasm conveyed during an interview can be a significant help in landing a job. This quote from the article really hit home for me: “What makes for a ‘good’ story – what ‘holds’ the audience’s attention? Add your attitude and enthusiasm – it’s all in the ‘how’ you tell the details.”

Just as my daughter’s unbridled excitement makes her stories all the more captivating, your passion toward whatever topic you are covering in an interview will draw in whomever is screening you. Let them see that you are not only knowledgeable about the subject at hand, but that there is something inside you that drives you to excel, that you possess an enthusiasm that you will bring to the job every day.

What lessons have you learned about job hunting and career management, from your kids or other facets of life?

Image courtesy of D Sharon Pruitt

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