About the author of this article
Richard Pimm is a vastly experienced recruiter and job-seeker career coach specializing in job-seeking technique. He is also a former President of Tunbridge Wells Speakers, part of the global organisation Toastmasters. He has been helping job-seekers since the mid-nineties. He founded PimmCo through which he continues to help job-seekers obtain competitive advantage. Here’s a link to his own introduction video on the PimmCo website: https://pimmco.co.uk
Job-seekers are unhappy. They’ve been unhappy for a long time.
Is it because of the uncertainty of their immediate financial future? Sure, but that’s not all; not even close. Is it the recruitment processes of employers, or the quality of service from recruiters? Yep. And the other traditional services for job-seekers – online job boards, CV writers, Career Coaches, the advertised marketplace? No doubt about it. Conflicting advice, wildly different levels of service, ineptitude, lack of professionalism; and perhaps most worryingly of all – declining levels of common courtesy. This is what I’ve been hearing from job-seekers since the mid-nineties.
I am part of the problem; I am a Career Coach and Recruiter – more the former than the latter these days. I offer advice that is wildly different, which is easy to do because the mainstream standard of advice is pretty poor. Here’s an example: there’s a huge industry of CV Writers and LinkedIn Profile enhancers who will help you spend your money. Many of them will improve your CV and your LinkedIn profile, which is nice, but not many of them will increase your chances of being found in the first place.
You can’t impress people if they can’t find you.
I remember when I left recruitment and became a full-time Career Coach. (That’s a generic title; I’m really more an Executive Job-Seeker Coach specialising in job-seeking technique.) One of my old recruitment contacts was looking for his next job, and he said – in a friendly banter kind of way – “You’re too late Richard, I’ve already spent £400 on a new CV.
I sighed – in an over-acting reciprocal way – and replied, “How much money have you spent on increasing the likelihood that more people will want to read your CV, or can even find it?”
Job-seeking doesn’t start with selling, it starts with marketing.
Now I’m not suggesting that job-seeking service providers, by improving their standards, have the power to make you happy. You have to do that for yourself. Stress isn’t caused by events, it comes from your reaction to events. That’s good because you can assert degrees of control over your reactions; you have no control over service providers.
So why the title: Job-Seeking and Happiness – Fighting Back!?
I set up PimmCo to directly help and advocate for job-seekers. That was my favourite part of being a recruiter. Talking to employers about their silly semi-automated depersonalising recruitment processes…not so much! I like the feeling of reinvigorating job-seekers; taking them from a place of frustration, anxiety or even depression; and witnessing the emotional re-birth of their enthusiasm. One of my favourite calls was from a current client (as I write this) whom we’ll call Nick. In our first chat, a free consultation, he spoke of feeling old and unappreciated especially by his many younger colleagues. He also spoke of being unenthusiastic about his remaining five to ten years of his working life. More of the same was boring and he was too old to change. Within forty minutes he was bounding with enthusiasm about a new path. I didn’t tell him the answer, but I helped him find it from within. The upshot: he came back to me after acquiring the accreditations he needed, to embark on the job-seeking process for his new direction. His enthusiasm remains intact. He’s happier about the present and looking forward to the future.
I recently wrote a LinkedIn post after hearing about happiness on a breakfast radio show, which prompted me to find my own definition of happiness: –
Happiness is when your enthusiasm for the future joins forces with your contentment in the moment/present. Happiness is about those moments. The more such moments you have, the happier you are.
It’s hard to imagine you can be happy in life if you’re not at least content in your work. Are you content in your work?
In starting PimmCo – which I did to address my own contentment and happiness needs – I thought I’d just be teaching enhanced job-seeking technique to professionals. It turns out that I’m doing so much more. By understanding that job-seeking requires us to focus our attention inwards first, we find questions that were lurking in the backs of our minds and have to bring them to the front – to answer them. Beyond the technicalities of job-seeking, we must factor in so much of what is important to us – how much money is enough; will more make me happier; can I do this; do I want to do this; how does this affect my family, my social standing, my friends? How does this affect my future? Will it make me happier? So, as it turns out, I also do life-coaching. I should probably start charging for it!
Another client of mine struggled with identifying his Personality Profile, because he was caught between who he really was and who he thought he needed to be, to be successful in that line of work.
In playing the game of job-seeking, you should be true to yourself, but you can flex a little. Just don’t settle like so many people do. Don’t lower your expectations to rationalise staying in a job for the wrong reasons. One of my nearest and dearest spoke of being depressed about the prospect of remaining in her role until retirement, another seven years. Her rationalisation was that she had one of the last great final-salary pension schemes. I suggested that having slightly more money in her retirement wasn’t a good justification for abandoning all hope of enjoying the rest of her career. What if she didn’t even make it to that age? What if she did, but had bad health? Which brings us back to my definition. Happiness requires contentment (or better) in the now, plus enthusiasm for the future.
You’ve heard of the career ladder? Is it leaning on the right wall? Change usually requires effort and courage. I can’t do it for you, but I can show you the way.
Job-seeking ability is a crucial element of happiness. Your career needs and preferences will change over time, so that’s why you need to be a good job-seeker – to improve continuity of your work-life, but also to nurture your motivation and your ability, to change jobs, when change is exactly what you need, to be happier.
Founder of PimmCo