A friend of mine* was having heart palpitations today, waiting on an overdue call from a potential employer. The job? Doesn’t matter, aside from it being one they “really, REALLY want.”

We’ve all been there. And it ain’t fun.

The chat churned up the “What do I do?” quandary. My advice was simple…

Set up your next kick

Check out this gif, then follow my explanation and logic below.

I wish I could give the creators of this video credit, but all I got is an Imgur link I favorited months ago. If anybody knows the source, drop me a line in the comments so I can drop some proverbial props.

I shared this gif with my friend to illustrate what I meant by “set up your next kick.” Let’s start with some parallels:

  • The kicker is you, the job seeker.
  • The ball — the kick, really — is a job opportunity.
  • The slide-tackling a-hole is you not getting that job.

Now watch the gif again with that knowledge. What do you see? See any patterns?

Reset and try again

If you look at it in order, for the first kick, the dude is all excited. He’s jazzed. He’s got the moves. Oh, he’s GOT this, alright, until Numbknut McGee takes him out. And then he don’t got it.

Laying there on the grass, it looks like you feel when you find out you DIDN’T get a job offer you were expecting, doesn’t it? It does to me.

Copas

Keep them laced up until you can kick them off under your new desk

Ankles heal. Grass stains wash out.

But the guy gets up, perhaps a little less showy before the next kick, and he tries again. And is taken out again. That to me is one of the lessons here: Get up. Place the ball. Try again. Do the same with your career.

There’s nothing new in that advice.

However, what I’d offer is that unlike soccer or any sport that revolves (See what I did there?) around a single ball or object, your career doesn’t demand that you focus on one opportunity at a time. There’s no need to wait until one set piece is done before setting the next and kicking again.

I’m suggesting that you put more than one ball in play and kick at every one you can.

Translated into job-searching terms, I’m suggesting that you don’t wait to see how one opportunity pans out before striking the next. In particular, when you think you have one in the bag, keep kicking, because there’s no telling if you got it until you got it.

No time to showboat

I’ve been in the running for roles and it didn’t pan out in the end. Roles for which I thought it was just a matter of time before I was given the job.

I can take the disappointment — didn’t say I like it, but I can take it — but what gets me is the fact that I stopped kicking.

For one opportunity in particular, I recall that once interviews progressed to a certain point, I visited job boards less frequently. I networked when I felt like it instead of when I saw the opportunity. I went from lean to lazy, and that was a self-inflicted foul.

When I got the word that the offer wouldn’t materialize, I realized how far behind I was. What roles had been posted that I’d missed? What content had appeared on my LinkedIn feed that I might have pounced on?

Heading back to the job boards and my network was like the DIY walk of shame. You know…when you shuffle back into Ace Hardware to get the materials you need to fix the project you botched earlier in the day, the materials for which you purchased from that very same Ace.

Kick and kick again

So following that lesson in losing and losing ground, I resolved to keep kicking. And that’s what I suggested my friend do: go look for another role. Don’t wait around for this one.

What’s the worst that could happen? You’d have options and have to turn one down? Sounds like a pretty sweet position to be in.

*Honest, it’s a real friend, not me under the guise of “a friend” 

 

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