I had a strange occurrence happen this week, and it brought to mind something I’ve pondered for several years: You can never tell where that next job might come from. I don’t mean who the employer might be, I mean how you connect up with it.
This week’s gift of chance came in the form of finding out about a job opening which hasn’t been posted yet, for which I am probably an extremely qualified candidate. I found out about it via an e-mail which was being sent around to a group of job seekers. I don’t know the original sender, and in fact he just heard about it as a third hand rumor.
So here we have something which appears to have gone through at least five hands (OK, keyboards) before reaching me, and it’s the best job opening for me that I’ve seen in weeks. I already had a preliminary interview with the hiring manager, while the job still hasn’t been officially posted.
Now, the previous job I was in went like this: I saw a job posting on-line, investigated it, but by the time I got there the opening had been canceled. However, in the process of investigating it, I had talked to a person who knew someone who referred me to a different group that was thinking about opening a new job. The fact that I heard about it early meant that I was in a great position to ask broader questions about the strategic purpose for the job, and I might even have influenced the creation of the job – I’m not sure.
I was in that job for three years, and really loved the bosses I worked with during that time.
So what do we learn from this?
- The work you do in investigating jobs isn’t wasted, it’s an investment for a future job opening.
- Stay connected. People you don’t even know will probably point you to your next job.
- Be flexible and adaptive. Your next job may well be something you aren’t actually looking for.
- Hang in there. This is unpredictable and mysterious.
I hear stories all the time from people who get jobs via strange and unpredictable paths. Part of this is because people love to tell the stories, but I firmly believe that unpredictability is part of what makes this world an interesting place to live.
Learn to enjoy the bumpy ride, if you can.