I often think there are two types of people in this world, those who love famous quotes and those who don’t. Consider me in the latter group, not because I don’t find value in them. There’s simply a glut of quotes on social media. For me it’s overload to the point that I tune them out.
The other day, however, one from Lily Tomlin caught my eye . . . .
“The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you’re still a rat.” ~ Lily Tomlin
What’s interesting is, my job search a few years ago felt the most like a rat race to me. I easily logged 60+ hours a week on average. It felt like a never-ending treadmill of looking at postings, attending networking events, having 1-on-1 informational meetings, monitoring my online presence, speaking with recruiters, preparing for interviews, following-up on applications and interviews, etc., etc.
But this is where I diverge from Lily Tomlin’s quote. As I look back on my stretch of unemployment, it really feels like a sabbatical since I ultimately re-landed with the company that had down-sized me. During my job search, I was able to learn new skills, I met hundreds of new people, I sharpened my existing skills, I re-energized my outlook and perspective, and I returned to full-time employment better than I was before. In that sense, I no longer felt like the same “rat” who had been running the job search rat race.
If you’re currently looking for work, my challenge to you is . . . what will you do now to improve yourself? What will you do once you return to work? Will you continue to network and help others as you were helped? Will you emerge from the job search rat race a new and improved person, or will you go back to your old self? Will you make personal and professional changes to shorten and minimize future, unexpected job search rat races? Or . . . will you still be the rat running the same rat race?