I picked up a small painting job during my job search. It was only a few hundred dollars. I had not painted a room in many years and I seriously underbid the job. I do not think that anyone enjoys painting. It is messy and boring. It can be very tedious and I was starting to grumble a bit as I was getting close to finishing because it was taking so much longer than I’d anticipated.
Additionally, I was feeling a sense of strange defeat. When I was first married, I worked as a carpenter’s apprentice. That title glamorized the job a bit. I swept floors and carried lumber for 8 hours a day. When work slowed down, I was farmed out to a house painter for a couple of months. I went on to pick up some painting jobs at night to make ends meet. This spurred me on to go back to college, get a degree in Computer Science then on to earn an MBA. I’d worked hard to put my past behind me. Now, here I was, painting houses again. All my education and years of experience and I was right back where I started.
Once I’d completed the job, a strange sensation came over me. I was actually going to miss having a job to go to each day. As much as I hated the painting, I loved having something to do that generated an income, even if it was a meager income.
What did I learn from this?
We need to work. If we are deprived of work, we are miserable. I’ve heard that people do not die because they wear themselves out. We tend to “rust out” through lack of exercise, poor nutrition, alcohol abuse, tobacco and a number of other health damaging behaviors. My grandfather-in-law was an insurance professor at the University of Texas at Austin. He studied longevity and applied statistical proof to what most of us have observed. People who retire, tend to rust out quickly. Their days are full of nothing or nothing important.
So, if you are a job seeker and spending endless hours in front of the computer, sending resumes into the cyber black-hole, let me encourage you to stop! Do something that makes you get dressed and get out of the house and be somewhere at a specific time. Volunteer or go to networking events. Pick up a modest part-time job. Help an elderly neighbor…commit to be there every Friday at 9:00 AM to mow their lawn. Do something that yields an accomplishment you can see, even if that accomplishment is a small paycheck or weeded flowerbed.
But most of all, learn something. Keep your brain growing. Take a class at a community college (there are cheap or free classes for job seekers in the Dallas – Fort Worth area). Go to MeetUp.com to see what groups are meeting in your geographic area. Take classes on Social Media Marketing from Hubspot (they are on-line, self-paced and FREE). Take free on-line classes from Harvard. Or learn how to use social media and do it right. Get your LinkedIn profile at 100%. Make your Twitter micro-blogs interesting . Start a blog and invite me to read it. Figure out how to create your own webpage by using some of the free services.
Stretch and exercise your brain. You’re going to need it for the rest of your life.
Business Development Director