I recently received this e-mail from a Wealth Pilgrim who is struggling to change his profession.
I’ve got a Bachelor’s degree and also recently completed my MBA degree as well. However I feel my skills have gotten rusty from lack of recent use and that is a big source of concern for me. My wife and I moved to Asia several years ago in order to reinvent ourselves. Now I see that most good jobs seem to require tons of experience and I know that lots of people looking for work are already experienced as well.
Right now I’ve tried expanding my social circle by attending a church, Buddhist temple, meeting more people, and possibly subscribing to a gym. However doing these activities increases our burn rate even though the potential for finding work increases.
I’m currently unemployed and looking for work. I’m finding myself seriously depressed
and lethargic. Got any tips?
Trying to be Un-Sad
What would you recommend to Un-Sad?
Personally, I had quite a few ideas:
1. Recognize your strengths.
First, it takes a brave person to ask for help, and I really admire that about Un-Sad. He’s not trying to sugar-coat anything. I like that.
Also, he is clearly well-educated and willing to take risks. That also takes guts if you ask me. Recognizing your own strengths is important. It helps you understand that you are not powerless and you are not a victim.
2. Identify the problem.
I haven’t spoken to Un-Sad, but based on what I’ve read, it seems like he has two problems. First, he’s lost his mojo. He doesn’t seem to have a lot of self-esteem at the moment. The second problem is that he doesn’t have a job. No job and no mojo is an ugly combination.
3. Be honest.
I might be reading too much into his e-mail, but from some of the email that I didn’t publish, it looks like he’s never really pursued a career that would make use of his education. Travel seems to be more important. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I do think it’s important to be clear on it.
What are your priorities, Un-Sad? If travel is #1 – don’t be surprised when you find it tough to find work using your MBA. There is always a trade-off. You can’t have your cake and eat it too.
If pursuing a career is more important (because you and your wife want to start building a more permanent nest), then be honest about where you have the best chance at success and live there. If it would be easier to pursue your career by returning to your home country, you should consider going home.
4. Once you are clear on your priorities, make a list of your marketable skills.
If you stay in Asia, your competitive edge includes being a master in the English language. That should top your list. If you move to Arizona, your MBA might top the list. What are your marketable skills relative to where you are?
5. List all the employers that need the skills you provide.
Do your homework and identify potential employers. Then, network with people strategically. Just remember that networking is an art and you have to proceed professionally. I wouldn’t join a gym specifically for the purpose of networking, nor would I recommend trying to “work the crowd” at church either. Interview the right people and use social networking sites like LinkedIn to target your efforts. You’ll attract more people who really want to help you if you show up as your authentic self.
7. Go get ’em.
At this point, you are clear on your priorities, strengths and marketable skills. You’ve identified your target market too. Approach them. I personally recommend a phone call followed by a letter followed by more phone calls to potential employers. I would not recommend sending in blind resumes. It’s a waste of time and money.
What say you? Did I miss anything? Do you think this is good advice for Un-Sad? Have you ever been in a similar situation?