30 November 2009

Writing, Editing, and Rewriting

The holiday season is now officially underway. I have been sluggish in my attempts to search for a job as it took a good deal of time to write my business plan for my MBA and studying for the FSOT. It's the time to buckle down and start researching more opportunities. Perhaps the cold weather will inspire me to look harder.

Thus, I find myself needing to write essays and cover letters, editing my CV, and rewriting much more. I have the added benefit of several people wanting to help me with my edits and even perhaps building me a website. (Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!! And if anyone else wants to help, I would be grateful.) Essentially, I'm trying to find a job in a city where I'll actually like what I'm doing and where I'm at. That's not necessarily the easiest match for me, but it is important. It takes time.

In Minneapolis recently, I found myself with an unexpected mentor to help me think about the strategy of my job search. His suggestion included a CV rewrite along with arming myself with different CV's for different jobs. I have therefore been working on editing and rewriting my CV as to inspire future employers to interview me. And eventually get hired.

Time to research. Time to edit. Time to apply.

With a better job-hunting strategy in mind thanks to my mentor, I expect to be writing more in the near future. Wish me luck!

07 November 2009

Down Time

I'm currently sitting in an airport waiting for a replacement plane to land, 3 hours after we were to take off. Down time. We all know that life can often be boiled down to those "Waiting for Godot" moments. As such, I thought I'd take advantage of the free wi-fi and blog.

During my stint in Japan, there was always ample opportunity to read a book or magazine, to play DS games, to listen to tunes, or to text your friends. Public transportation gave an interesting luxury. I had 1 hour every week day to accomplish something. Whether it was catching up on zzz's at the back of the bus or studying Japanese, there was always an ample amount of down time.

Life is full of chances to capitalize on these moments. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Here's to taking the opportunity to utilize what would otherwise be an irritating experience and making it into productive time. Second by second, minute by minute. It all adds up.

05 November 2009

Choices and Traps

I feel that many of us elude ourselves into "satisificing" choices, especially in this down-turned economy. The word satisfice is the invention of Herbert Simon combining the words satisfy and suffice. The concept of making a satisficing choice is when a set of criteria are met and thus (as the criteria has been met) a decision is made. That is not to say that this is the best solution.

Example: You have a job offer for your minimum required amount in a location that fits your commuting needs. It also has the 3 weeks of vacation time that you desire. Do you take the offer? As far as the model goes, your criteria have been met. But, is it the best solution? Does it maximize your earning potential? Will this be a good fit for you?

In my situation, I feel that it will be difficult to meet my criteria. I will, therefore, be more likely to be at the mercy of the satisficing choice. To some extent, this is why I chose to take the Foreign Service Officer Test (FSOT), but I did not pass. The good news is that I was not caught in the "obscure trap" where I may have been strung along for months and then not make it to a job offer. This may have resulted in months of wasted time. (As a side note, I wasn't planning to only pursue the Foreign Service as a career option. That would be ridiculous.)

What about you? Do you take the "easy way"?

I'm getting ahead of myself. I'm in the midst of making my list of priorities. I am stepping back, deciding what I really want, strategizing, and executing my plan.

I am reading What Next? The Complete Guide to Taking Control of Your Working Life by Barbara Moses, PhD. The exercises are helpful in uncovering where I should be looking and how I should be prioritize my needs and desires. I thought I knew what I wanted in the MBA, but perhaps didn't take enough time to really understand my wishes.

Now, I'm taking my time because I can and the job market is less than desirable. I have endless choices and need to avoid those persnickety pitfalls. When I know what I want, I'll be targeting for it, and it will be mine.