First, allow me to extend a word of warning that this article may be slightly biased from a New Englander’s point of view.
Now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk about this past Sunday’s big game. I think we can all agree that Super Bowl XLIX (28-24 GO PATS!) was an insane game, particularly the last few minutes – definitely one for the books. Beyond the intrinsic excitement of the Super Bowl, the game and surrounding festivities combined to form a very welcome respite from the millstone for millions of job seekers out there; one day where they could unplug from the search and focus on something fun (the game surely had its share of crushing stress on both sides, but I digress). With the mania slowly dissipating and things starting to return to normal (except here in Boston…ok I think I’m done now), there are certainly things that can be taken away from Sunday’s epic battle and used as motivation as you get back out there; unlike football, the job market doesn’t have an off season.
We all start on the same playing field.
This is true of any football game (and any sporting event, really). Just as the Patriots and Seahawks began their battle with a clear scoreboard, you are square with your competition when you begin the job search. Simply taking that first step like preparing your resume, applying for a position or speaking with a recruiter may seem like a drop in the ocean, but think of it as your first touchdown. You have taken the lead over everyone still putting off those first steps.
But Adam, you say, we’re on an even playing field. What about the ever-dreaded phrase “hiring within?” How can we ever be on an even playing field with those candidates? Good question. It’s true that internal promotions spell instant death for many highly qualified job seekers even at the later/final interview stages. From years of experience in staffing, I can promise you that it IS possible for the underdog to pull an upset win over those big double-digit favorite internal referrals, but it can only happen if the underdog fights their way to those final interview stages and doesn’t let up until the clock ticks down to zero. There can only be one victor and it will always be the one who wants it the most.
Go for it.
I’ll give all you Seattle fans out there a break here. The Seahawks’ call to push for a touchdown and tie the game at 14-14 in the final seconds of the first half instead of taking a near guaranteed field goal was, while risky (and, in this author’s opinion, the root and stem of the astonishing hubris that led to their ultimate demise), a great call. A gutsy call that paid off – the play-makers knew that they were behind and went for the golden glimmer of a touchdown, a tied game and an even playing field to start the second half.
While on the job search you can benefit from making the same gutsy calls, so go for it. If you know a recruiter or a company looking to fill a position that you might be somewhat underqualified for, give a call anyway. You will even the playing field with other candidates and you never know what else you might be a great match for.
Conversely, don’t rest on your laurels when you’re ahead. As a Pats fan, that Seattle touchdown to end the half was devastating. Don’t let the competition sneak up on you and limit your chance of victory.
Things don’t always happen how you expect them to.
The lowest of lows can turn around and work out in your favor. After Jermaine Kearse’s impossible 33 yard bobble-catch, Seattle loomed ominously on the Patriots’ 5 yard line with a first down, a little over a minute of game time remaining and Marshawn Lynch ready to explode into the end zone and shatter the Pats’ 28-24 lead…at least that’s what everyone thought would happen. After Lynch was stopped on the 1 yard line, it would have been an easy feat for Beast Mode himself to punch it in with the remaining plays. I will freely admit that I called it a day at that point; I stood up, told my kids the game was over and that there was always next year before quietly cursing and mumbling to myself about ridiculous catches and ruined Super Bowl dreams.
The impossible happened. I noticed out of the corner of my eye (I had truly given up and was not even really looking at the TV anymore) that the ball was sailing through the air; in an unbelievable turn of events, Seattle had unexpectedly called for a high risk pass. Malcolm Butler, a rookie with zero career interceptions, appeared to have collected himself mentally from the immediately prior jaw-dropping bad luck. He had correctly read the play and was en route to bum rush Ricardo Lockette into the turf, pick off the pass and all but cement the Pats’ victory. I, of course, calmly and expertly analyzed these events as they occurred and was certainly not hunched over like a sleep-deprived Quasimodo with arthritis, white-knuckled fists and shortness of breath.
The point here is that, evidenced by Malcolm Butler’s miracle interception heard-round-the-world, a tremendous success can immediately follow even the most crushing and demoralizing defeat. If you were extremely interested in a particular position but are ultimately passed on, don’t quit; move on to the next interview. If you prepare like a pro but somehow still absolutely bomb an interview, don’t give up; your very next call could result in your dream job.
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