Alphabet Series - E is for Employment (and Expert)

Most people need to be employed at some point in their life and will hold numerous jobs. Baby boomers have held on average over 10 jobs and it is estimated Millennials will hold over 15. I imagine some of those jobs come from getting promotions within an organization, but others call for you to actually look for work, apply, interview, get rejected, try again and eventually (hopefully) land something you actually like.

When I got out of graduate school I had two paying jobs to my credit. I had worked at a beach food concession where I worked the counter. I also spent some time in the employ of the US Navy. In grad school I had 4 year-long internships. Upon graduation I needed to look for paying work. I told everyone I knew I was looking for a job and a friend who I had worked with at one of my internships offered me a part-time position as the Co-Director of a drug clinic. I was not really qualified for this position, but that did not stop me from accepting it. I figured I would learn what I needed to learn along the way. I have since found out that most of the 10+ jobs I have had in my life I have been under qualified for and had to learn on the job. Expertise was never a qualification I thought I needed. Just a desire to learn and a belief in my ability to do so.

An unexpected opportunity presented itself to me when I was the Co-Director of the drug clinic. My partner applied for a grant and being a skilled writer was able to land us a job doing vocational counseling. Neither one of us had ever done vocational counseling, but now we were the "experts" training other people how to get work. We were told by our employers that we needed to introduce ourselves as experts because people would not value our advice if they knew we were beginners. Since then I have tended to have had a dim view of the word expert. I now want to look more closely at someone’s credentials before granting them expert status.

Whether I had any right to be called an expert or not, I needed to learn how to help people find jobs. Later, I learned I also needed to learn how to help them keep them. But, first how to get them. Everything I read about finding work suggested that people should aim for doing something they actually would like to do. Since the bulk of statistics says that over 70% of people don’t like their jobs and less than 15% actually like going to work, I certainly think it is important to look for what you want to do, but also accept what you are willing to do.

Over the years I have told people to keep looking for what they want until they have to accept a job out of necessity, but to not have procuring a job stop you for looking for what you want. Experts (?) say the easiest time to find work is when you have work. They also say people stay at jobs they don’t like because they get comfortable and they like their co-workers. Fair enough. But, I would still keep looking. After all, you are going to have multiple jobs in your lifetime, why not try to have some of them be something you would actually like to do.

Here is the one other thing I learned about looking for work that has helped me in numerous ways. Never reach a dead end. By that I mean if you are looking for a job, a place to live, a person to date or basically anything ask the people you know if they can help you. If they say they can’t ask them to give you the name of someone they think might be able to help you. Don’t let your reaching out for help end with a no. Instead ask that person for another person. If you can manage that you will have a next step instead of a last step. And that next step will lead to a next step which will lead to a next step. Take it from an expert.

#employment #expert #career

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