Do we go about job hunting all the wrong way around? Do we literally treat it like “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt“? Does following the mantra “we can’t go over it and we can’t go under it, we’d better go through it” consistently really work for us? Or would it be wise to take a look at a map first?
As an individual who did indeed spend the first 20 years of her career saying “Uh uh!’ whenever I stumbled across some unexpected professional terrain, I do look back and wonder if I might have been better prepared had I examined the route first. Had I taken a look at it I might have decided ‘not that way thanks”.
Who know, hindsight is a wonderful thing, but, I consider that I made it hard for myself by continuing to be externally referenced for so long. I would literally do the job or role that others thought would suit me. I think I was so flipping grateful that others could see possibility in me that I bit their arm off if they even whispered of possibility. What I learned from reading books such as “Why Women Don’t Ask” is that this is not uncommon amongst the sisterhood. It was polite to wait until we were asked! But, as we know, ‘don’t ask, don’t get’…………….
I think it might have served me a little better to have asked myself some questions first. It is much easer to ask for things when you know what you want. It eases even more when you know what purpose the role you seek serves beyond earning a wage. It is eased even further when you know what brilliance you bring to the equation. If you know your worth and you know what you bring the is uniquely yours, then you know what you are negotiating with. This is the way to manifest the professional development you seek.
I always thought that job hunting was a mixture of luck and tenacity. If you worked hard enough then someone might notice you and give you the role you would flourish within. I had no notion that the process needed to be so much more assertive than this. I needed to step over my fears of arrogance, or, ‘pride before a fall’, ask for the thing that I wanted. I needed to know what I had to offer. I needed to learn to negotiate. That grown-up that is…. and I’m not going on a bear hunt again……….