If you’ve been following my blog, you may have a sense my professional life is in what you might call…a transition.
I spend a lot of time thinking about looking for a job, looking for a job, or contemplating how to avoid corporate America all together by starting my own business. With two Spring races coming up—Tillamook Burn Trail Run 50K and Smith Rock Ascent 15-Miler—training is also on my mind. So, I wasn’t surprised during a recent run it struck me how training for a race is akin to job searching. Dashing through mud puddles and leaping over roots, I envisioned a Venn diagram where these two forces collide or a puzzle with moving pieces begging to be put together.
Today’s blog post serves as a reminder for everything that’s good and bad about job searching and training for a race, and a reminder to not get discouraged by the complexity of the puzzle—the best way to solve it is to keep moving forward.
- Patience: I’m probably stating the obvious here, but there’s nothing easy about getting a job or training for a race—both require the utmost commitment, patience, and ability to brush off common annoyances. You can probably guess which one I’d rather spend my time doing.
- Setbacks: I’ve applied to many jobs I knew I’d be perfect for only to be told via a standardized email “other candidates better fit our needs” (of course, that’s if they even bother responding). And then there’s interviews you bomb (well, that I bomb). There’s also setbacks on the running front—nagging injuries, low weekly mileage, disappointing runs.
- Enemies: Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. And yes, there’s also your common foes when it comes to job searching—online job application forms, recruiting agencies, ridiculous interview questions (e.g, what’s your current salary, tell me about a time when…), just to name a few. Running foes—surprisingly, there’s more than you might think (although, your biggest enemy is probably yourself, see next bullet)—renegade toenails, disagreeing stomach, chafing, and trail hoarders. And don’t even get me started on people who use the term, “jogger!”
- Overcoming Self-Doubt: It’s easy to look at a job description and tell yourself there’s no way I’m qualified or could do this job; common thoughts of mine. The same could be said when considering signing up for a race or even after you’ve hit “submit”on the registration form. It doesn’t matter if it’s a 5k, marathon, or 100-miler, insecurities can creep in just as a job description can make you doubt your capabilities. Don’t let insecurities sideline you—believe in yourself—because yes, you can do it.
- Leveraging Networks: There’s nothing easy about getting a job or training for a race. Friends and colleagues can offer tremendous value here. If you’re looking for a job, take time to read articles by Liz Ryan, CEO and Founder of Human Workplace, she offers great 21st Century job advice with flair. There’s many resources if you’re training for a race—running coaches, running groups, and online Twitter chats and Facebook groups are just a few ideas.
- Elation: I saved the best for last. There’s no better feeling than nailing a job interview—or better yet, getting the job. And think about your last run or finishline you crossed—where you pushed yourself, fought hard, and nailed it!
Reading over this blog post, I questioned whether it’s smart to post it given I’m looking for a job. What if a potential employer reads it—will they be put off by my snark? Throw my resume in the trash? Possibly. But then I realized life is about taking risks and being true to yourself. Would I want to work for a company that couldn’t find humor in today’s post? Likely not.
In fact, I hope potential employers read my blog post. They’ll learn something about me that doesn’t easily translate on a resume. If they dig deep and read through the lines, they should learn I don’t easily give up, I’m tenacious, not afraid of challenges, can overcome obstacles, and I’m a team player.
There’s a crucial bullet missing here, perhaps the most important one of all—there’s an element of symbiosis here. I need the job to fund my running habit and I need to run in order to run off the stress that will most likely come from having a job.
I’ll leave you with a shameless plug and my LinkedIn profile. I’m looking for a communications position with a company making the world better—and is okay if I step out for an occasional lunchtime run. Please hire me!