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Job Farming

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By Thomas E. Kenny
ETP Professional member since 2005, Toastmasters member and Lamplighter Newsletter contributing writer.

“What did you say?”

“There are going to be layoffs?”

What would you do in that situation?

  • Would you worry too much? 
  • Complain about being under appreciated?
  • Or would you just get a whole lot of lottery tickets?

Unfortunately when most people hear they might lose their job they realize that didn’t save enough for a rainy day. Suddenly the job they complained about for years looks a whole lot better. It’s a case of the devil you know being better than the devil you don’t know.  But, as the prospect of unemployment becomes more likely, your thoughts turn toward starting a job hunt. 

But, as the prospect of unemployment becomes more likely, your thoughts turn toward starting a job hunt. Today you’ll learn 3 quick tips on how career stability can be achieved not by hunting but by farming. I call it the 3-S method for career success. Just like farming for food, job farming requires planting and nourishing seeds before you can harvest the rewards.

The first S is to Speculate about your next job. You need to day dream within reason what you would like your next job to be.  However, you also need to research what the market is for that dream job. Is it available near the place you want to live? Does it pay the salary you need to support your life style? Once you do this analysis, you’ll be able to properly determine your target industries and companies.

The second S is about Skills Development for your next job. I’ve often heard friends say, “I know I could do that job if they would only give me a chance.” However, it is unlikely that you’ll be hired based on your potential. Hiring decisions are often based on your past experience and your proven results. Even if you cannot develop the skills you need for your next job in your current job there are many non-profit organizations that need volunteers. A Google search will provide many virtual volunteer sites including some regarding technical skills. Sure you aren’t getting paid for it but you could be gaining experience that you’ll be able to sell to your future boss.

Finally the last S is about the need to Socialize with the right people to help you get your next job. Years ago, people would say it’s all about who you know. That still may be true but “Who knows You” is even more valuable. Many hiring decisions these days are based on referrals.

In his book, “Endless Referrals,” Bob Berg says that people do business with people they “know, like, and trust.” This holds true for employment, not by hunting but by farming. I call it the 3-S method for career success. Just like farming for food, job farming requires planting and nourishing seeds before you can harvest the rewards.

It is highly unlikely that anybody will ruin their professional reputation recommending somebody who is inappropriate for a position for whatever reason. I’ve heard some say, “I’ve played the networking game and it never leads to anything.” However, effective networking requires time and energy to build relationships over a significant amount of time with reciprocity of helping each other. So how do you meet people that have the same job as you want your next job to be? Or at least know about job openings that can be your next job? The best resource for expanding your network is through professional associations regarding your occupation. Here you can get to meet the right people and build relationships. These organizations can also offer volunteer opportunities which will help you build up good will. If a local chapter doesn’t exist you can go virtual or better yet form a local chapter and be a networking leader!

To some this may sound like a lot of work and they don’t have time for it. They may be thinking that they are busy with their current job, family and other commitments. However, from my personal experience, I have been out of work a few times in my long career for 6 months each time. I can tell you it is well worth the investment. If you actually invest in this 3-S method, continual employment is much more likely. After all, I’ve never heard of a job fairy leaving job offers under pillows.

So, please consider investing in continual employment with the 3-S method by:

  • Speculating about your next job, 
  • Skills development for your next job and
  • Socializing toward your next job.

As the age old Chinese proverb states “Dig the well before you are thirsty.” It means that if you don’t plant and nourish the right seeds, your next job may be the pits!

About the Author
Thomas E. Kenny has been a member of the ETP Network since 2005 and founded ETP’s Jersey Shore Networking Group.  Thomas is a Software Engineer at AT&T specializing in developing test automation of web based Java applications. He can be contacted via Thomas.E.Kenny[AT]gmail[DOT]com

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