My son was sleeping in the back seat. I took our exit and as I approached the stop light, I saw a man holding a sign “Looking for work!” I was two cars down and had my glasses on so I gave myself a permission to stare at him for a few minutes. He seemed to be in his mid-60s. His backpack was nestling by the bushes few feets away. His jeans were slightly worn out but clean. His white shirt matched his hair that was combed neatly to the back. His lips pursed, and his eyes stared at a point far far away.
For a minute I imagined my family in the car. How would they perceive "The Man"? My mom who is used to beggars at stop lights in Iran would immediately pull out her purse and give him a few dollars. My dad would pity the Man's bad fortune, no money, no job, no family, no support at the age of 60. My son, however , would be curious. If he was awake I would be drowned by his questions: “ Why doesn’t he have a job?” "if he doesn't have a job, does he have a home?" "What does he eat?" The best one would be "Why is he looking for a job at a stop light?"....
To myself, I thought, Why is he looking for a job here? What could be the true reason behind the sign? Was he asking for money indirectly? Or was he really looking for a job? If so, what could he do? Why didn’t he have his number or the tasks he can help with?
The light turned green. I hurriedly rolled few dollar bills, pulled my window down and hoped he would move toward me. Cars started moving and the man stood still…. His lips still pursed, his eyes still fixed on an unknown spot, and his hands still holding the sign “Looking for work!” The cars drove by. Some slowed down just like me to give him money. He didn’t approach any cars. The light turned red again...
No movement, no Money, no Job, no Progress!
In our lives, how often do we meet people who are looking for a dream job but they are only holding a sign? How often we make a resume , but don’t clearly know what we are looking for? What information do we need to put on our resume? Where should we look? At times, we don't move when we should and instead stare to an unknown spot! Between staying victim to our past or focusing on the far far future (that may never come), how easily we miss our opportunities…
Question is what should we do?
1- Find what makes you happy! Whether it’s Money, Service, Passion, Purpose, Achievement… Find it and recognize it. If you don’t invest in this step, you will come back to it. Clarity is the key! On daily basis, I work with individuals searching for their interests and passions in their late 40's. When they have to start over after being established and having well paid secured jobs.
2- Build your 3-5 year goal based on who you truly are and your abilities. Be as specific as you can. For my clients, I suggest writing two resumes. One with your current skills and education and another which is your desired resume! One that you can use in 3-5 years to apply for your dream job! This becomes critical as you will be clear on the steps you need to take to become your desired resume!
“Small, Smart Choices + Consistency + Time = RADICAL DIFFERENCE”
from Darren Hardy's famous book "The compound Effect"
If you get stuck, find a coach, mentor, career counselor to support you.
3- Build and maintain your connection! Everyone around you is a resource and so are you! Support and serve others with your best intentions. Research shows 85% of jobs are filled through networking. Build them now! Don't wait until you need them! Brian Tracy suggests knowing and understanding yourself before building strong connections. If you haven't done this step by now, go back to first question. Below are few ways you can create connections.
-Volunteer: Adam Grant in his podcast suggests helping others in order to create meaningful connections.if you are junior in your field, volunteer! Not only you build your credibility but also you will grow in your field. So get to work! Don't wait for others to know and connect with you.
-Ask your friends to connect you with others in your desired field and do the same for them.
-Join Meet ups: use meet ups to find people from different backgrounds. Be genuinely curious about them and how you can serve them. Once you do this, they will ask you for your desire and needs. Once they do, share it with them.
You have other ideas, add them in the comment below. Share this with someone who's standing still but holding a sign “Looking for a job!”