Looking for a job is a lot like buying a house really. You lie back in your sofa in your current home, just after switching off 'Grand Designs' where Kevin McCloud has once again waffled on about the architectural narrative remaining coherent ('I think it does'), finish your second bottle of wine and decide to move to the house of your dreams.
But you have to remember that for most of us buying a house follows this inevitable sequence:
What you want.
What you will accept.
What you end up with.
So it is with a job, especially when there are at least 10 applicants for every job, according to the Trades Union Council a few weeks ago. Ten, I should be so lucky, there seem to be the entire population of the Isle of Wight applying for every post that I think looks interesting.
When I last lost my job I once again went through the 'no need to panic, plenty of time, important to find a position that fits my skills, knowledge and interest' rationalisation, then panicked. Nah, I didn't I'm a job seeker vet, man don't panic, man gets on the street does a little hussling, y'know whad I'm sayin?
Well 70 plus unsuccessful applications later I'm beginning to doubt my strategy a little. Having spent all this time carefully targeting selected organisations, finessing my CV to meet the job spec and writing covering letters that Mr. W Shakespeare himself would have been pleased with and to have achieved nothing at all sort of tells me something and this is what it tells me...
If you keep doing the same thing you keep getting the same results.
I was in my school's CCF (Combined Cadet Force), RAF section. They probably have a MI6 section these days. Yes, that sort of school. Anyway we went on mandatory annual camps to military establishments all over Europe where we got to do all sorts of spiffing military stuff like fire big, noisy weapons (must tell you about the Bloodhound missile I fired at a Russian jet sometime) and get cruelly bullied by the regular squaddies who had very innovative uses for Kiwi boot polish. At one camp we had the task, as a teams of five, to cross the mythical bottomless ravine using only two planks, a teddy bear, tube of toothpaste, four sticking plasters, 10 foot length of rope, three oil cans, a woman's bra, (empty, pity) and a copy of yesterdays Daily Mail. I learned two valuable lessons here, apart from never volunteer and just how hard boot polish is to remove from the body:
- Sometimes it is possible, with imagination, teamwork, innovation, planning and not quite enough time, to figure out how to get the team safely across the bottomless ravine.
- Sometimes, no matter how imaginative you are, how well you work as a team, how superb your planning and despite having more than enough time it is actually not possible, with the equipment to hand, to cross the bottomless ravine.
So now we have two concepts to consider. I just like to get you thinking.
- If you keep doing the same thing you keep getting the same results.
- Intelligent Capitulation.
The problem comes back to process of buying a house. Do I now abandon my dream of having a replacement job with a salary that was similar to one I had? Do I dilute my expectations to that of looking for a job that is somewhat less than the package I had? Do I just accept anything at just about any salary as long as there is some income coming in? What do I tell the Job Centre when I sign on? Shall I tell them about my theory of intelligent capitulation and see if they still want to pay the Job Seekers allowance?
Or do I just accept that with my background , skills and qualifications then hell will freeze over before any one offers me a job with a significantly lower salary than I used to have and I might as well stop bothering applying for circular meat patty high temperature rotating operative jobs.
Answers on a postcard please.
Now then, I still have the bear, bra and one plank left - just place it on the Teddy Bear's head and tie it tightly. I'm sure we can cross the ravine that way.