Hiking The Grand Canyon And Your Job Search---What They Have In Common
I recently came back from a trip spent hiking down to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and back. It was a great adventure with beautiful scenery. It was also a physical challenge hiking up what amounts to three Empire State Buildings. I got to thinking that many of the lessons learned also can apply to one’s job search.
I had wanted to make the journey to the bottom of the Grand Canyon for some time. I read about it and knew that getting reservations at Phantom Ranch, the only lodging at the bottom of the Canyon, was very difficult. On the first day that the reservations opened I called (they do an online lottery now but at that time you called in), waited on hold for what seemed like forever and finally talked to a customer service representative who told me that yes, there were still openings but only on limited dates and only in the single sex dormitories I took what was available. I then reserved my vacation week at work and about six weeks out, started making sure I was in shape for this hike. The week before I started looking at the weather to see what would be appropriate to bring. I brought both cold and warm weather clothing along with rain gear. I had my backpack, hiking poles and food and water. I was ready!
Your job search should have the same type of planning. What are you trying to accomplish? A job with a better commute? More money? More responsibility? Figure out what is going to make your life better and make a plan to accomplish it. This may be looking at companies within a certain radius of your home or going on Glassdoor to see what comparable positions pay. Figure out what you want to accomplish and what steps you need to do to make it happen. If you are a bit lost with this, engage a coach to help you align a plan with your goals.
Take one step at a time
We choose to hike out of the Canyon on the Bright Angel Trail, which is over nine miles long. Near the halfway point on the trail, my husband became ill. You are warned about the dangers of dehydration on these hikes, and though he was drinking a lot of water, it does not appear to have been enough. He would stop, hydrate and feel better, then get ill again shortly after restarting. Because of this, we choose to concentrate on each step successfully taken, not the distance we needed to traverse. We told ourselves we were in no hurry, and each step would get us closer to the top. It took us a l-o-n-g time to get to the South Rim, but we did it!
Your job search may feel at times too hard or just undoable. My advice is to take it one step at a time. Celebrate the small successes. If you made one new contact today, great! That is one more than zero. If you spent time tweaking your resume for a job you saw posted, wonderful! That may be what it takes to get an interview. Break up your job search into smaller pieces and you will feel less overwhelmed with the big goal of a new job.
Try to enjoy the journey
Why did I want to do this hike? To enjoy the great outdoors, see the beautiful vistas and to spend quality time with my husband. Even though it rained (sometimes really hard) and my husband was not feeling well through much of this two-day hike, did I enjoy my time at the Grand Canyon? Absolutely! We met some fantastic people, saw stunning scenery and learned about geology. I also got to spend some quality time with my partner, something our busy lives sometimes leaves us little time to do.
You may ask how one can enjoy the job search process since it is work. I agree it is. But that does not mean that you can’t embrace the journey. Your job search may give you the push to reconnect with people from your past. Your network will undoubtedly expand though your job search, and you may meet individuals with whom you may develop a lifelong connection. You will learn through the process who you are and your strengths and weaknesses. It may give you the opportunity to discover a new, rewarding career. Make sure you stop and smell the roses.