What Job Seekers Can Learn From U.S. Marines
After getting swept up in a round of corporate layoffs, it's easy to succumb to the fear and uncertainty about what the future holds. And if you don't land an appropriate job in what you deem to be a reasonable amount of time, it's probable that you will reach a point where you become incredibly frustrated, feel hopelessly paralyzed and even start to give up. Overall, this can be a miserable experience unless you are prepared with valuable tools for empowering yourself to pull through.
Long-term job seekers can learn a lot can from the example set by our servicemen and women every day while fighting for our safety and freedom. A strong work ethic and the ability to triumph when faced with adversity are key in the armed forces--both for accomplishing the intended mission and for staying alive. In my last job on Wall Street, I became familiar with a Marine Corps mantra often said by my former boss, who is a Marine Corps Reserve. He encouraged his team to improvise, adapt and overcome; three words vital for transcending any obstacle in your life, especially when it comes to your career.
This battle cry can be particularly important when faced with an unexpected employment termination. Here's a look at what each word means and how it can be applied to instill confidence, conviction and perseverance in job seekers.
Improvise: According to the online Merriam-Webster Dictionary, to improvise is to make or fabricate out of what is conveniently on hand.
This practice is essential in life, especially when we're not prepared for what feels like a catastrophic event, such as a layoff. When faced with the scary prospect of looking for a new job, first take a deep breath, stay calm and take stock in what you do have rather than what you don't. Then while seeking an new appropriate position, consider opportunities that you wouldn't ordinarily apply for, such as a temporary job that you're overqualified for or some part-time or freelance work. Improvising means confidently making the most of any situation with the options that you have.
Adapt: According to the online Merriam-Webster Dictionary, to adapt is to make fit often by modification.
When necessary, make temporary changes to your lifestyle with the intention of working toward future prosperity. Rather than complaining about these adjustments, have conviction that the changes are necessary to adapt to what is right now.
Look at so many of our wounded soldiers who come home with serious challenges. Unlike the temporary adjustments you might make, theirs are most often permanent. However, they adapt to their circumstances and many of them go on to achieve extraordinary things.
Overcome: According to the online Merriam-Webster Dictionary, to overcome is to gain the superiority or to win.
Focusing on fixing the problem rather than just the hurdles that you must overcome will help you persevere during tough times. Use this time to create blocks for rebuilding your career. Even if you accept a job you are overqualified for, view it as added experience to enhance your skillset.
The ability to improvise, adapt and overcome are invaluable soft skills that employers look for, so be sure to highlight them on your resume and during interviews.
When the time is right for a new opportunity, you will be ready to triumph. Overcoming is defeating the situation rather than letting the situation defeat you.
Wall Street veteran Lindsay Broder, CPC, is president of Key Coaching LLC, a New York firm that specializes in career and employment consulting for individuals and companies.