“The Girls All Get Prettier At Closing Time”

No offense, but this line from the country western song says it better than any beautifully crafted phrase. It’s bad enough that you’re on the street, pounding the pavement again after a lifetime of executive achievement, constant promotion, and picking and choosing between “cherry” offers. Your entire career flowed uninterrupted  as it paved an impressive trajectory right into … now. And, honestly? You need to face it. The year 2010 could be the year when you get a job offer that is “less than perfect” than what you had in mind.

Look, I know this totally sucks. Truth be told, if you are one of the elite FEW in this world who are independently wealthy; if you can be comfortably retired due to careful financial planning throughout your working years; or if you have just decided “To heck with it, I’m dropping out of this rat race,” perhaps you can just sit this one out. But, if you’re reading this column, chances are you need to work to support yourself and your family. And that means you might just want to consider offers you would have laughed at before 2008, 2009, or 2010.

So, perhaps the primer below will help you adjust your perspective on the jobs you consider before you dismiss any that don’t “fit” into the neat little package that you call “your career.” In almost everything we do in life, there is almost always more than one way to achieve a desired end. Your job hunt is no exception. This is not the time to stubbornly turn down flat job offers. If you’re having a hard time right now believing this, perhaps some talking points might help you adopt a new attitude and a new plan:

  • Did you get an offer that is not what your idea of a “future” was? Not the right company name you had planned to put on your resume? Not the image you had in mind? Let’s be straight about this. Tell yourself it’s time to take a new perspective on the number of ways you can accomplish a goal and move toward your future.
  • Get over yourself! The events surrounding your job loss and subsequent search for your next opportunity are not all about you. No sir. No ma’am. Your job hunt is about you, your family, your community, your peers, and your contributions to all of them; and theirs to you. Sometimes, you gotta do what you gotta do to remain a member of the team and get back in the game. So, get over it! Moping, isolating, or snapping at those you love is extremely unproductive, so start anew each day and with each interview. If you get an offer, look at the glass as half full. Then, figure out a way to completely fill it.
  • Set your ego aside. No matter with whom you interview or for what, your unemployed status is not someone else’s problem. So, act politely and graciously toward every interview and every offer. You’re not a gang member or schoolyard bully. No arrogance or cynicism, or criticism is allowed of anyone you meet during the interview process. Act like a grown-up and mind your manners.
  • Listen to advice from those you know well. If you’re a displaced senior management executive, this one can be very tough, but friends, peers, and even family members might be able to point out some things about job offers that will help you make your decision.
  • Consider ALL offers. Show genuine appreciation and thanks to everyone who interviews you or meets you for coffee during this period of your life. You’re in good company right now. Believe it or not, we’re all doing the best we can, and hoping for the best for our future, even the one who’s interviewing you for a job. We’re all in this together.

Once you’re back in the swing of a new job, your entire picture will change. Your esteem and confidence will pick back up. More importantly, you’ll once again be sitting at the lunch table with the guys who are employed, and there is tremendous power in that.

For now, remember that the only thing truly certain in life is that things will change, no matter who you are. Terrifying as that may seem at a time like this, it also holds great promise. Taking an offer for a job that might not be the one of your dreams is not necessarily the end of the road. It could be a portal to a future that holds more than you ever imagined.

Diane Y. Chapman, Founder and President, Words To Your Advantage Speaking and Writing Service; and Chief Communications Officer, Power Connections Career Management, Coaching and Transitions Service

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One Response to ““The Girls All Get Prettier At Closing Time””

  1. Matt Says:

    This is such good advice, Di! I agree, the right mindset is just as important as a good resume.

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