Job hunting is soul crushing. Everyone knows it. Even when it's by choice, it can still be a very humbling experience. Many folks looking for work have it much harder than I do, with much longer odds, and I'm thankful that I have the luxury of holding out for a position that I'm really passionate about.
Being on the market has made me think about a few things with much more frequency and clarity, and it's made me more sensitive to certain behaviors, especially my own.
When looking for a new job, whether its the next step on the ladder or a complete career shift, it will almost certainly involve talking to a lot of people. Not necessarily interviews or formal communication, just general conversations. You'll bump into people and do the "What are you up to?" dance. You'll tap your network for referrals or reach out to old friends to rekindle relationships in your new found free time. And yes, eventually you'll have Very Important Messages to send to people that may be able to offer you a job. And you know what? You're really, really going to want all of those people to answer when you call on them.
Answers don't have to be long, and they don't necessarily have to be what the person wants to hear, but I've resolved to always, always answer. A few promises to myself:
Next time a client or coworker reaches out with a question, I'm going answer it as quickly as possible. If I don't know the answer that's ok, but I'll be quick about saying so. Bonus points for pointing them in the direction of someone who can help.
Next time a long-lost friend reaches out to reconnect, I'm going to take them up on it. I may not know what will come of it, but I know what it will mean to them.
Next time someone needs a favor, I'll think twice before blowing it off. Just like in sales, "no" is still the second best answer you can get when asking for something. At least they'll know where I stand, and they don't have to waste any more time on a dead end.
Next time my mom calls, I'm seriously really going to pick up the phone. Seriously. On second thought, I'm just going to call my mom right now. You should too. I'm sure she'd love to hear from you, and I bet she'll answer.