Job Search vs. Organize Your Files

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Many years ago I worked at the FBI as a clerk. When I first started there we didn’t have an office or cubicles, but eventually someone fought for us to have our own little space.  It was really nice and we ended up with our own oversized cubicles.  Going from nothing to a full suite was really cool.

I look back on that time and remember a distinct activity I did when I was bored (I was frequently bored there).  I would organize my files.

I could spend a lot of time going through my files, organizing them, labeling the hanging file folders, reorganizing them, putting them back in their fireproof file cabinet,… I looked very productive.

But it just didn’t matter! I was a clerk, and I didn’t really have much to file!  I was wasting my time and the federal gov’ts money (no, feds, don’t come after me for that).

I think about that a lot because I had the freedom to choose what I was going to do with my time, and I didn’t do what I could have been doing.

Similar to my job search, I all-of-the-sudden had days with nothing on my agenda.  Oh sure, I had things I knew I should have been doing, but if I didn’t do it today, it would just roll over to tomorrow, or the next day, or the next day.  It really wasn’t a big deal to take time to do something as mundane as “organize my files.”

While the important stuff was getting moved back to another day.

What do you do in your job search?  How often will you “catch up on your email” when you know you are avoiding making a phone call?

How often will you do something meaningless, something that doesn’t take you closer to your goal (of gainful employment, or replacement of income) rather than something that is hard?

I challenge you today: DO THAT THING.

You know what THAT THING is (I don’t know what YOUR thing is, but I know what MY thing is, and today I’m going to do it).  It is the thing you keep putting off.  You know it’s important but you somehow have figured out how to keep bumping it down your priority list.

Today: DO IT.  Don’t worry about anything else, just DO IT.

Those files can wait until tomorrow!

4 thoughts on “Job Search vs. Organize Your Files”

  1. You’re cracking me up Julie… I know how busy and productive you are… so yes, definitely, go organize. I should have written “I was organizing my organized files” :p

  2. I would take it one step further, I like to do one thing every day that really stretches me, even scares me, that either advances my agenda or brings me fun. Much more rewarding that “filing” all day, which looks producive but amounts to nothing.

  3. The premise of this article is right on. However at the outset I thought it was going to implore me to organize my files (I guess I should have looked at the vs. in the title and understood where it was going). However, if you could see my files and my desk, I suspect you would accept that organizing my desk and files would be a productive and worthwhile activity. I appreciated Jason’s clarification that he was organizing already adequately organized files. I would morph Julie’s comment to say for myself that I don’t necessarily procrastinate more in messy spaces, but rather importantly that I am less effective at most things when my workspace is poorly organized. Just the amount of time I spend looking for lost and buried things would be valuable to recover. But rest assured, like yesterday and the day before, I am not bring impeccable organization to my desk and files today 🙁 Actually, maybe today I will try to spend some time making a dent (having made the above admission to myself) and also complete a “stretch” objective in my job search as Dave K. mentioned 🙂

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