Just got an email from a reader who is having a hard time getting a job in his industry in his home country, dislikes some things about his culture, and it's leading to him feeling like he's in a bit of a rut. Here's my reply -
I see 2-3 basic themes here.
1. Job market
2. Home country or not
3. General feelings about yourself
Re: The job market, I don't entirely know because I've never been salaried. However, one thing I do know is that people don't hire off resumes, they hire off personal connections. To that end, you'd do well to do a couple things - accomplish cool things - anything - in the world to prove you're competent, and start reaching out to people to connect with them. Accomplishing could literally be anything - write essays/analysis on finance, organize an event, get additional credentials, hell even put together a small group of people to clean up a local park or something. When I say anything, I mean anything. Obviously money/revenues/tangible-value-created is superior to random stuff, but doing anything + connecting with people is going to be helpful.
Re: Your country, well, traveling can help - I've gotten a lot of it - but remember that you bring yourself with you wherever your go. Some problems might be location related if your home culture isn't a good fit for you, but you'll still be you wherever you go... leaving your home and striking off can sometimes solve problems but certainly not all of them.
Re: General feelings, I think the only way to get out of a rut is gradual trend upwards progress. Work on the fundamentals - improve your diet a little bit, exercise and get into motion a little bit (even a 10 minute walk), do some breathing, do some stretching, take some vitamins, try to write 10 emails to people you don't know over the next week and who cares if they don't reply (generally, if they're shorter and have one clear request for an answer, you're more likely to get a reply), read a little more, disengage a little more from some of the most high stimulation distraction you've got going on. If a guy was addicted to TV for 10 hours a day, I'd tell him to attempt to get it down to 9.5 hours tomorrow, and use the .5 hours stretching, taking a walk, and reading for 10 minutes.
Seriously, that's progress. If I had a magical solution I'd offer it, but I don't know anything other than focusing on the fundamentals for an extended period of time. Eat better, sleep better, breath, stretch, connect with people, work on tangible accomplishments, read, track your time a little, do some goal setting, cut back on intoxicants, cut back on high stimulation distraction, spend some time in nature, fully relax and disengage if you're burnt out, keep a set schedule... none of this is really complicated, but it does take some time to right the ship. I do find general trend upwards + do tangible stuff in the world + connect with people = results.
I hope that helps. This is almost a full length post, so I'll edit it a bit and take out personal details and put it up on the blog in the next day or two - so maybe there'll be some more good feedback in the comments. Cheers man,
Your comments for someone feeling like he's in a rut and not getting jobs by sending out resumes, dear reader?
Well, my advice to this guy would be this: Move to another country and experience a new culture! I felt like a new person when I visited Norway for an example. Sometimes we are not fit to live in an environment. We may have ideas and feelings that are different from those we live with. Then it´s better to get away. You need to fit in and love the people around you. This is extremely importent. Love is the answer!
I cast an impassioned vote for for number #3 (General feelings about yourself). Subscribing to the axiom: where there is a will there is a way. When I feel good about myself, I feel empowered and always find a way.
I guess getting a job can be a difficult task some times.
Depending on the industry you want to work in the application process can be very time consuming (I spent a week applying for a job once) and when you get the dreaded email telling you that your application wont be taken any further you will inevitably feel down. Even worse when the company refuses to give you feedback on what they believe you are lacking.
I try to be optimistic. Probably it wasn't meant to be. I landed an incredibly well paid job once that now I wish I hadn't got in the first place..
When let down, as a software developer, I try spending most of my time coding for open source projects, exploring new technology and set a couple of hours a day for applications. Sport always helps get things out of my head as well.
When called in for an interview I show off whatever I did whilst being out of work. I think employers like seeing people that do stuff even if they are not told to do them.
Hope my experience helps.
The main thing i want to ask you about is jobs, specifically applying to them. At the moment I have limited contacts when it comes to finding a job, and I'm relying on career fairs in the town i live in, school jobs, and recently internet searches. I'm wondering, what would be the best way to find a job, specifically when you are not relying on contacts.
I had the idea to write a short letter along with a resume when applying for a few jobs at once,telling about my limited experience but strong enthusiasm to work hard and learn while producing value for whomever hires me. I'm not sure how frequently this tactic is used, or if a genuine letter would even be effective. I know you've never held a salaried job, but perhaps you've been asked this enough to have some experience in it by now.
The main point is I want to know if it makes a difference to have a genuine desire to learn and do good at your job, or if your employer won't be able to tell. And if it does make a difference, can it help you overcome short comings (like lack of that vital experience everyone is looking for).
Sorry this emails is getting a bit long, however I think I've only asked one big question with some small questions mixed in, so i hope it wont drain to much of your time as i would very much appreciate a prompt response on the issue, before you take time to write out a longer reply if you are going to do so. If this interrupts the process you usually use, again, sorry about that.
Wrapping this up now, I've noticed you have a lot of references to others websites and have a fair collection of them. Would it be a great deal of work to slowly gather them up and give them their own section, so your readers can see all the cool places they can go without crawling obsessively through the comments section? Not sure how hard it would be, but thought i should ask.
Okay, I've almost got all my email inboxes almost empty now.
I get a ton of mail. I hired an assistant and automated some of it, and I still get a ton of mail. More than I can answer normally.
I'm gradually building more systems, both technology, decisionmaking, and people to process all of this, because I have opportunities worth a lot of cash, a lot of cool stuff, and a lot of ability to connect with interesting people sitting in my inbox. At any given time, there's probably 3-4 very interesting things buried in the dozens of mails I get.
And I also get a kick out of helping people. I like getting and answering questions when I can.
But then I realized, one particular type of questioning makes me cringe, and I dont want to write back to people that write like that.