I’m sure that, for this New Year, you may be considering finding an alternative resource for your inspiration. After all, the usual positive reinforcing, go-out-and-get-them platitudes from many a career coach/online pundit seem to blend together after awhile. Let me suggest that, as a publicly acknowledged contributor to the Baker Street Blog, that you consider looking to Sherlock Holmes, the world’s first consulting detective, for guidance.
(To answer your question – no, I have not seen the newest Holmes movie. I have no intention of doing so, having disliked the first one….but this isn’t the blog for such discussion. But since I straddle both the corporate and non-profit worlds, I will be using “company” and “agency” interchangeably).
So, much like that Doctor Who-themed post I did awhile back, here’s a collection of Holmes-related quotes…and the job search wisdom hidden within. (Most of the Holmes “canon” is available as free audiobooks via Librivox, or text via Project Gutenberg).
And now, the game is officially afoot!
“All information is useful to the detective” – Part of my job seeking involves finding out as much about companies, positions, fields, etc. It means that, as I am networking, I am looking to find out not just who can hire me, but who can give me an unbiased view of what’s happening. (I am finding, for example, that a previous effort for a position with a company is informing now current work with that company). Focusing solely on position, salary, etc is important….but knowing other work factors helps my job search, even if it means taking a company/agency off my list.
“Nothing clears up a case so much as stating it to another person” – Having a strong support network, whether it is other job seekers, a significant other, is critical to avoid those feelings of being alone, isolated, and powerless. (Even if all you’re doing is, say, sharing cynicism and despair….at least you’re sharing it with someone else). Part of that sharing and support – at least for me – lightens the load, and allows me to move forward more confidently.
“It is a capital mistake to theorize before you have all the evidence. It biases the judgment” – When I interview for a position, I have tended to get stuck because I haven’t prepared questions for the potential hiring party. Of course, that means that I immediately come to some (misinformed) conclusions about the company/agency. It means that I need to be assertive in gaining information – bringing a set of questions about job expectations, salary, etc., and not being afraid to ask those questions.
“What one man can invent another can discover” – We all know there’s a large amount of job search-related information on the Internet. So much information that it may be likely that no two job search “experts” will agree on anything. The concept of “best practices” in some aspects of job seeking (like resume writing) may not exist; the more we share and provide information to each other as job seekers, the more likely we are to find something.
How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth? – This is reinforcing one of the points Brendan made in his previous post, but this best known of all Holmes quotes relates (at least, for me) to my own attitudes and approach. Ultimately, my job search is down to my efforts – if I am taking on a negative tone, disparaging potential employers in social media, can I really blame them for not hiring me? If I am gaining freelance work, am I not technically working? (We’ll forgo the freelancing-is-not-real-work argument and suggest that if I am able to find some financial relief through freelancing, it may be just as valid). Ultimately, my job seeking success is based on my efforts (or lack thereof) and my attitudes (both positive and negative).
“The work is its own reward” – One of the benefits of looking for work (even during freelance assignments) is that many of the habits I am cultivating are maintained throughout the search. Keeping a positive attitude during a job/assignment is just as important as keeping it while I’m finding one. Ultimately, the goal is to find something that will be fulfilling in every aspect – performance, pay, and emotional fulfillment – and that doesn’t have me daydreaming about leaving one day.
Thank you, so much, for indulging me with this post – please feel free to leave your comments and questions down below. In addition, you are more than welcome to check out my revamped personal site, gordondymowski.com, and please send me a note to connect with me via Linked In.
As always, thanks for reading!