In hard times, what do most people do?
Our first thought is to become very conservative. Don’t spend money, don’t take risks, just keep plugging away and working hard until things get better.
On the job, I’ve seen many people who have just “hunkered down” in an attempt to keep their jobs. Don’t say anything confrontational, don’t be very visible, and maybe the next round of layoffs will skip over you.
There’s also a great number of people out of work. The safest thing to do is to just keep monitoring those job boards, hoping that somehow you’ll be the first one to notice that perfect job.
Hate to say it, but this is the worst way to respond to adversity.
Whenever there’s a time of turmoil and change, the old rules are being replaced by new rules. The problem is that we don’t know what the new rules are, we’re all just gradually discovering and creating them as we go through this change.
But the winners are those who figure out (or create) the new rules the fastest, and adjust accordingly. To do this is risky: you have to try new things, venture out into the region of the unknown. Many times it won’t work, so your job is to learn as quickly as possible.
Here’s a great example. Ten or twenty years ago, most jobs were planned, posted, and filled – in that order. In a world where there were more jobs than people, this worked reasonably well. When I left college, I had several job offers before I even graduated.
That ain’t the world today.
Now, we have many more job seekers than jobs, especially in more highly paid positions. Because of this, it has become extremely painful for companies to post job openings. It’s not uncommon for a single-day job posting to result in thousands of applications. Would you want to be the one forced to look for the needle in that haystack?
So getting people by referrals has become the preferred way to fill these positions. When someone is referred, there’s a much higher chance that they’ll work out, and you don’t have to work as hard to select the best candidates. And in general people are more hungry for jobs, so they’re less likely to leave after the employer has made the initial investment.
These are the new rules of the current economy. There’s no way to fight them, it’s just the way things are. So if you’re looking for a job, spend your time working on relationships that get you closer to where jobs are going to be in the future. Give people a reason to connect you with those job openings.
Would you rather apply for 20 jobs a day and still be out of work a year from now, or spend your time networking and eventually be employed? Your choice.
by Carl Dierschow