Life’s Virtues for Job Seekers

What if transition had a positive side? What if it enabled you to learn positive life skills? The following is a reflection by one of our members, the kind and calm Mary Anne Usher.

As a job seeker I’ve been asked by many individuals, “What is your secret in keeping your sanity during your job search?” When being asked this question, the “Four P’s of Life” come to my mind: Practice, Patience, Perseverance and Positivity.

When I was an undergraduate college student, a statistics professor taught this valuable lesson. Early one morning a new mathematical concept was being introduced in class. Both the students and professor were frustrated as not one student was comprehending the new concept. In the middle of the lesson, the professor stopped and noted a few things we all need to do with our studies and when we encounter some difficult life challenges. He said, “Think of the Four P’s and you will never go wrong.”

1) Practice. When children learn to tie their shoelaces, at first, they become frustrated as they are not able to see immediate results. However due to children’s natural curiosity and determination, they will practice, eventually becoming agile with the routine. As job seekers, we need to practice our elevator pitches and perfect our interview skills. This will pay off in the long run. Your confidence level will improve and hiring managers will give feedback. Remember practice makes perfect!

2) Patience. Patience is also part of the equation; it is a virtue every person on Earth needs to possess. As a job seeker you had a great interview and sent the well-crafted thank you note to those who interviewed you. Then there is the long pause, waiting for the result. That long pause feels like an eternity. You start to wonder what you could have done or said differently.

Fate was my best friend several years ago, as I was at my “ropes’ end” one day with no prospects for interviews. Just like the play, Six Degrees of Separation, I had a networking associate, Phil, call me one day. Phil had another networking associate, Bill, contact him about a role he needed to fill with his company, Racal. I was at the right spot at the right time and landed the job at Racal. Patience played a big part with my success in landing the position.

3) Perseverance. This is the toughest virtue. I have heard many job seekers say that they can land a job in three weeks. As we all are aware, life happens—when we are making other plans. Family issues or health issues may supersede your search.

Learn to take the criticisms in stride and roll with the punches. The “Great Recession” of 2008 taught all job seekers how to persevere and be humble. During that period, I learned to knit. The benefit was tremendous. I learned a new craft, joined a knitting circle and thus expanded my network. My confidence in my abilities soared.

4) Positivity. This is so true. I had many interviews where there was no feedback. Lately I have taken things in stride and learned to say, “Next!” I look at each rejection as one step closer to where I want to be.

Living in the enigma of life is an art. Life—and the job search—does not need to be a veil of constant tears and struggles. We can rise above our tribulations by following the “Four P’s,” live a life of happiness, and find the job we want.

Mary Anne Usher