Let me try and related a story I’ve made up, just to prove a point. I hope this comes across well (I like telling stories but I usually need months go perfect them).
Image you go to a restaurant every night for dinner. Every single night you have a nice dinner… sometimes there is something new on the menu that delights you, but you can always count on something that is just fine.
Then, one night you go only to find out they are out of food.
The doors are still open, the lights are on, and the servers are still there. You can even hear cooks in the kitchen making noise.
But there is just no food.
What are your options?
You can keep coming back, night after night. But there is just … no…. food.
When do you stop coming back? Where can you go for dinner?
What if you went to the restaurant across the street?
What if you went to the restaurant across town?
Could you go to a restaurant in another city?
Could you possibly make your own dinner at home?
These seem like reasonable alternatives. They might be out of your comfort zone, but they might help you get food in your belly.
How does this relate to your job search?
Many job seekers are finding there is no food in their restaurant. The doors are open, the lights are on, the cooks are in the back making noise, but there is no food.
What are the options?
Going across the street is like looking for competitive companies in the same industry… that might be a great alternative (depending on what’s going on with the industry). I think too many are stuck doing this in an industry that just isn’t hiring, though, and you spin your wheels.
Going across town or to another city presents some major inconvenience but there comes a time when the hunger trumps convenience and it makes sense to look somewhere else (while staying in your profession/industry). Or, maybe you have to switch professions or industries AND go somewhere else. I know someone who recently took a great opportunity in Detroit, moving his family many states away. Good move, or dangerous?
Making dinner at home might be like starting your own business, or consulting or freelancing. It is scary, and nothing is certain, and you’ll have to learn a lot of new skills. But isn’t there a difference in the quality of food that a restaurant prepares compared to your favorite signature dish that you’ve perfected? Making your own can be so very rewarding… working on your own can be, too.
I’m not suggesting that these are the only alternatives to a job search, but if you get miserable enough, and can be honest with yourself while you read the writing on the wall, perhaps it’s time to look at alternatives.
What are other alternatives I’ve missed? … or, how’s this story/analogy?