Want a Great Job? Do the Work and Cultivate Patience

Krasi Shapkarova

Krasi is Carey the Torch's Editor-in-Chief and also represents the Career Development Office in Washington, D.C., working with students on career exploration and development. Krasi holds a Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology from the University of Houston-Clear Lake and a Master of Arts in International Human Rights from the University of Denver.

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It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.” 

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

In a conversation with Krista Tippett of On Being with Krista Tippett, Maria Popova, the mind, heart, and soul behind Brain Pickings (my absolute favorite resource for intellectually stimulating ideas, thoughts, and reflections), remarks on the current culture of being “intolerant of long articles” and exposes the “pathological impatience that makes us want to have the knowledge but not do the work of claiming it.” Guilty as charged! I admit I used to be infected with “pathological impatience,” and it is in fact Popova’s Brain Pickings that proved to be the vaccine I needed to fight off the infection.

When was the last time you read through an entire article or a blog post and spent time reflecting on it? Most prefer to skim and move along to something else. As I learn more about increasing readership and boosting social media presence, I am constantly reminded that readers are busy. Therefore, posts need to be short and if possible, they need to come in the form of a listicle. That’s what will increase clicks on the title and traffic to your work. The challenge with that, of course, is that we often don’t learn much of value and meaning if that’s the only way we seek information.

Knowledge takes work and contemplation and time.

As a career coach, I see the same approach when it comes to job search. People want to have the perfect internship or the ideal job but don’t have the patience to do the hard work to get there. I hear it all the time in coaching sessions: “But I have no time to build relationships through informational interviews. I am too busy to spend time researching my target industry in depth. I have too much homework, a quiz, a paper and can’t come to coaching appointments or attend professional development events.”

I certainly understand the pressure many job seekers face, but trying to apply to as many jobs as possible in hopes something eventually pans out is the easiest thing to do and the one that takes the least amount of effort and time. Consequently, don’t be surprised when the quality of the outcome matches the quality of effort you put into getting the outcome. The time spent exploring your passions and strengths, the time spent gathering knowledge about possibilities, and the time spent reflecting on those two is not time wasted; in fact, it is what makes your eventual choice important and worth it. After all, you should not be simply looking for a job; you should be looking for an opportunity that allows you to be engaged and have fun.

The success stories I hear about feature students who spend the time to meet with a career coach, attend professional development workshops and information sessions with employers, research their industry and function, seek out mentors and industry experts through informational interviews. In other words, they dig deep and maximize their use of all available resources. And despite what many job seekers believe, doing the above doesn’t require too much of your time each day, but it does require some of your time.

The bottom line is that if you want the best possible outcome, you need to put in the work.

If you are a job seeker reading this piece, don’t panic because you think it’s too late to do what needs to be done. We can’t go back in time so instead of stressing over starting the job search late, start it now. The right way. Take time to research and reflect on what you find. Take time to meet and listen to experts and coaches and alumni.

Explore. Learn. Reflect.

*Carey students: check out the upcoming, packed with inspirational and educational events, MotivateU professional development week and register for any that peak your interest through your Carey Compass account.

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