How Goes the Fight?

After attending a funeral service this morning, I walked across the windswept parking lot and briefly spoke to a friend. His greeting was, "How goes the fight?"

He was referring to the challenge of the job market. For job hunters, every day is a fight in a war that seems to have no end.

If you are seeking a job, or know someone who is searching, the big question is: How are you surviving and thriving in today's difficult job market?

Back in 2008 and 2009 when this Great Recession blew in like an arctic storm, freezing millions out of work, the story of Charles Pixley stood out like a beacon. A courageous soul, Pixley did something quite creative. I had to blog about it. Here is that entry, from November of 2009, re-posted:

In getting ready to teach job hunters how to make the most of LinkedIn as a tool in their job search, I came across the article about Charles Pixley. He's the investment banker who, after losing his job in the recession, decided to market himself by wearing a sandwich board and standing at the corner of Broadway and Wall Street until he got an offer.

Pixley said: "Believe in yourself, improve yourself, put yourself out there. Have yourself seen. You resume will go into a pile. It's just another resume, just more words. There's no color. These posters provided my soul. It says everything in one lump page."

Take a close look at his poster. It says in part: "Investment Banker. 30+ years. Enlightened Leadership. Mission Driven."

Wow. What a great elevator pitch in visual form. Tenacious Pixley shows us how to put yourself out there and be more visible to employers and business partners.

Since then, in working with job hunters, I have often retold the Pixley story and conveyed his three points. Even now, as 2011 is drawing to a close, with 14 million still out of work, we need his example, and his three points.

Last year, in 2010, Doug Shaw, a UK-based consultant that I met via The Employee Engagement Network, asked, What are you doing to survive and thrive? He gave three points of his own, and then invited others to weigh in. You can read the entire wise compilation here.

Here are a few nuggets that I want to highlight because I believe they might be helpful to anyone who is struggling to find work.

Craig Althof said: "Re-assess yourself on a regular basis. Set your priorities, act on them. Surviving and thriving will follow."

Bill Lamphear said: "Every day is a gift. Keep learning. Be a friend and mentor."

Hilary Jeanes said: "Reduce your stress. Identify what causes you stress and how to alleviate it. You will be in a better place to cope with whatever life throws your way."

Karen Drury said: "Take comfort in friends."

Ian Sutherland said: "Accept what has happened. Face your fears. Live your dreams."

Shereen Qutob Cabral said: "It take a whole lot of patience and faith."

And finally, Doug Shaw's three points are worth highlighting: "Love your network. Focus on the future. Be positive."

Amen, brother.

Addendum: So we had a very engaging session of the St. Matthias Employment Ministry this Saturday morning. On the question about Surviving and Thriving in today's job market, the group offered much wisdom:
- Be positive
- Assess yourself
- Let go/ Accept and release the past
- Don't let the "shoulds" hold you back
- Don't let negative people get you down
- Follow what you enjoy most
- Laugh/Keep your sense of humor
- Be creative
- Reduce expenses
- Join meet-up groups
- Be social
- Love your network
- Go to professional gatherings
- Volunteer
- Do pro bono work
- Be optimistic
- Love your librarian
- Don't give up
- Take a breather
- Be disciplined
- Distinguish yourself
- Reinvent yourself
- Be open to doing something different, new

Posted by Terrence Seamon on Friday November 11, 2011


Andrea Gordon said…
I like how you began this post by mentioning two negative things, a funeral and the beyond-tough economic job environment, and ended the post with a long list of positives. Not only listing positives, but simple calls to action.

As a 2011 college graduate I am personally feeling the hardship of the job market and economy right now. Thanks for posting an uplifting story and giving everyone some simple but positive things to do besides sitting on our thumbs waiting for the economy to improve :)

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