By most accounts, this is the worst job market since the Great Depression. The competition for work is fierce. There are millions of Americans looking for a new job, and far fewer jobs to be found. It doesn't matter how many years of experience you have, or how distinguished your past record may have been. If you're reading this, you're likely dealing with the most difficult and frustrating job market of your life.
So, what should you do?
Increasingly, some are saying that you should take any marginally acceptable job you can get, and hang on until the recovery arrives. With a mortgage to pay and that pesky need to eat from time-to-time, this point of view certainly makes sense. However, it's dangerously wrong. Hunkering down puts your career on hold just when you should be fortifying yourself against what could be a long struggle. You see, the good times won't return simply because the economy recovers. Things will certainly get better, but employers will likely be just as picky as they are today. And this means that an effective job search could still take months – or even a year – to complete.
But despite these predictions of doom, there are ways to find a job now without compromising your efforts to build a successful career. Simply put, you need look for a "defibrillator job." What's that? A defibrillator job is a position that will shock your career back into a rhythm that can sustain you, even in the face of unprecedented competition in the job market and the fussiest employers in history.
A defibrillator job has two major benefits:
These positions may not draw on all your talents, or give you at the same seniority you had at former jobs. But they are gainful employment. They reestablish you as part of the employed workforce – with the respect that comes with that – and provide a paycheck you can count on, even if it's not quite as fat as the one you had before.
But isn't taking a defibrillator job a step backwards in your career? To put it bluntly, yes. But it's a step back that includes a very important advantage. Finding a job that fits you perfectly takes far too long, and may even be impossible in today's job market. A defibrillator job acknowledges this reality, and instead provides a foundation you can use both to get by in the short term, and more importantly get ahead in the long term as the economy recovers. What about this type of job helps your positioning for the future?
If you take a job that presents less of a challenge, chances are you'll find some extra time on your hands. Use these precious free hours to focus on improving your knowledge and skill set, expanding your professional network and doing all the other things necessary to move forward again.
- It provides survival income to pays the mortgage, bills, etc.
- It gives you a chance to regain your occupational strength and momentum.
When you're unemployed, your career is sick. The same as with a physical illness, that doesn't necessarily mean you've done something wrong, just that you need to get well. But unlike with something like the common cold, your career flu won't get better on its own. You have to take proactive steps to regain your health. And at its heart, that's what a defibrillator job is for – to provide a survivable income, and more importantly the extra time needed to regain your career fitness.
And how exactly do these two benefits "shock" your career back to health? It's simple: The income stream holds you and your family steady financially, while the aggressive acquisition of new skills jolts your career back into to life. Having the unique combination of humility and courage needed to make a defibrillator job work for you definitely isn't easy. But if you're able to use both these qualities to your advantage, you will have everything you need to survive and even build a great career, no matter how bad the job market gets.