There are three stages in the job searching realm. The first stage deals with finding your first “real” job. If your ambitions in life are to work at the mall and move up in your career path there, that’s great. So, your job search would start right after (or during) high school.
If you are going to college and have had previous positions in a different career field in the past (food management- a.k.a one of the familiar chains to make a few extra bucks for college), then your first real job would be the one you want (not get…potentially) out of college.
I call the first stage, “What I think I want to do with my life stage.” In this stage most people determine if they will be content with positions that need or don’t need a college education.
For example, I started working on a farm when I was fourteen; I worked in a local video store and a fast food chain at sixteen until I joined the military when I was seventeen. I then worked full time in the military and also went to college receiving my BS in MIS (Management Information Systems) otherwise known as computer management. So therefore my first “real” job was one that was (hopefully) going to deal with computer management. Many people argue the point that my first “real job” should have been the military job I held. I realized that I wanted to do something in computers and went to school for it. I didn’t want to be in the military for the rest of my life and it was just a way for me to travel and get some money (and some benefits for college) before going to college.
I went on seven interviews three to six months before my enlistment period was up and was offered five computer positions. My first “real” job was one working in a small software shop, where I knew I was going to be able to learn the ropes and wear multiple hats. I wanted to gain experience to reach my goals.
So, to recap, stage one is, “What I think I want to do with my life stage”. Whereas stage two is called, “Man oh man was I wrong about stage one.” Some people never go to stage two and if that’s the case, congratulations. You knew what you wanted to do from early on and decided to stick with it. For the rest of us (yes me included), you either got here early in life or maybe you got here a little later than you wanted to. But the important thing is that you want to do something about it.
Some people start out with a job and really like it, but as time progresses they realize they can’t afford to stay in their current position because their needs don’t match up with their current job. Some people realize much latter in life that they want a change. The biggest challenge with finding something new is that it’s new and most humans are risk and change adverse.
The next biggest challenge is if you want to be happy you must find a job where you actually like what you do. If you like what you are doing now, ask yourself how can I maximize what I’ve already accomplished and add to it?
Some people feel as though college is needed to move up but there are so many options right now, college is just one option out of countless choices. So again, regardless what you do, make sure you like doing it and be sure to always think outside of the box when preparing your goals.
Okay, so I’ve mentioned the first and second stages of the jobs you can have throughout your life. The third is,” I can’t do something new. I just want to retire and get over with it already.”
People who end up in this stage typically have been doing the same thing all or most of their life and are afraid of change. Sometimes people are forced into finding something new when their job downsizes and they are forced to leave. Regardless of the situation, there is hope. You could take what Tom did as an example. Tom, 62, not yet ready to retire was forced to retire early and was depressed with his situation. He just wanted to stick around for the next few years and coast into retirement, but that plan didn’t work out. So, what did Tom do? First he went home and told his family that he was retiring at the end of the year. Second, he told his wife that he always wanted to be in sales and was just too scared to do anything about it. Heck, he had a family to feed and if he wasn’t successful they couldn’t live on air now could they? With some money saved up and a year’s pay coming to him for taking the forced retirement from his company, Tom did something he always wanted to do, he became a car salesman. Tom loved the job and he loved the hours. He couldn’t wait to make the sale, but most of all he liked helping people who needed to find a car that suited them. The first month on the job, he even sold a sports car, which he was informed by a seasoned employee is virtually impossible to do. By finding something Tom always wanted to do, something he truly enjoyed, work wasn’t really work anymore and Tom worked at the dealership for fourteen years, and he wasn’t forced to retire either. He was one of their top salesmen and was so passionate about what he did his home life even improved.
If you are in stage three, try something you’ve always wanted to do but were just too afraid to try it out, what do you have to lose? Another tip about stage three; if you do something you like doing you’ll be more interested in learning new things. Tom and his wife traveled overseas for the first time at the age of 65. They were both so nervous about traveling and now that Tom felt like he was on top of the world, he decided to take the chance and he said, “It was the best trip he’s ever been on and he’s going abroad every year until he’s physically unable to do so.”
These points are extremely important when starting your job hunt. You as a future job seeker should take these tips to heart before starting to blindly apply for jobs. One of the best things you can do is figure out what you want to do. If you sit down and find out what job would make you happy, then start an action plan which details where you are now and a clear (reasonable) road map to get where you want to be one, ten, fifty years down the road.
The following books were used as reference material for this article: