High Energy Thought #123
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Too Much Fruit Can Hurt Your Career

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By Jerrold (Jerry) Clifford
Professional Member since 2007


I like edible fruit. I enjoy juicy cherries, sweet apples, and luscious blackberries.  Sometimes I almost over indulge. But I know that excess consumption, even of something I enjoy, can be harmful. Weight gain and sugar highs are not fun. I also like electronic “fruit”. Blackberries and other electronic devices are fun while offering convenience and usefulness. But excess use of electronic fruit is no good either, especially for the job seeker.


While spending time on your blackberry, PC, desktop or other devices can make you feel that you are working hard, overindulgence (filling your electronic bowl to the “rim”) may not be productive. For example, messaging, sending emails, surfing the internet or utilizing social or professional networks can be fun and cause you to lose track of how much time these activities actually take. At the end of the day you may even wonder where the time went and actually trick yourself – because of the time you spent exercising your thumbs, you can “justify” the lack of time to research and target potential employers, make phone calls or meet people.

Finding a job is hard work. Often, people search job boards for possible opportunities and then apply for these jobs hoping that an HR person or someone with hiring authority will see their applications and realize how great they are for the positions. Even though they realize that there is great competition for these jobs and getting selected for further consideration is not likely, submitting to the “black hole” of an impersonal job listing on a job board seems easier to many individuals than doing the proper research and finding advocates. Completing an online job application can be time consuming. Despite this, many prefer utilizing the black hole because they are more comfortable with this less than effective process than the more successful method; they blindly respond to text fields and check box choices rather than research potential employers and obtain appropriate advocates who lend support to their efforts. 

The new varieties of electronic fruit make utilizing a data entry process more enticing while providing increased opportunity for having fun. They make over consumption easy. But remember, for the job seeker electronic fruit are tools and even the best craftsmen only utilize tools to support their skills, not to replace them.

Why do we use electronic fruit so extensively when they might not be as beneficial as we would like? Electronic fruit does not involve fear. What is intimidating about pressing the enter key? Mistakes can be corrected or eliminated — that is what the delete key is for.  But for many, contacting and dealing with people can be intimidating. After all, it involves talking to someone who might not like what we have to say and might reject us because of it. But in today’s job market, most “real” jobs are hidden; they are not listed on job boards. This means the job seeker has to determine where they are. And that usually means talking to people. You can’t do that if your mouth is full of fruit!

About the Author
Jerry Clifford is a Project and Program Manager experienced with all aspects of software project development. As both employee and consultant, he worked with some of the nation’s premier companies including AT&T, Cisco Systems, and Merck. Jerry holds a graduate degree in mathematics, earned certifications in project management and information systems auditing (CISA) and was elected to two terms as President of the EDP Auditors Association, New Jersey Chapter. He is the published author of several technical and nontechnical books on topics ranging from computer math to car repair and carpentry.

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