Get In the Driver's Seat of Your Job Search


You most assuredly should be in the driver’s seat during any transition in your own job/life. No one knows as much or cares as much as you.

In doing research on current job trends this week I came across this notice to job-seekers from probably the best-known outplacement firm in the country. I looked around for one of those little bags you see in the back of the airplane seat— because I thought I was going to throw up.

”In order to enter one of our outplacement programs, we require sponsorship by an employee’s company. The reason we cannot accept people without corporate sponsorship is that we cannot overcome the awkward ethical/functional dilemma inherent in working with an ‘unsponsored’ individual. Good outplacement requires the freedom to counsel the client even when their wants conflict with their needs. In a ‘retail’ relationship, both parties are either consciously or subconsciously prone to define the client as a customer and therefore the ultimate arbiter of what is right or wrong tactically."

“This problem is compounded by the fact that searching for a new position is about failure all the way until the end of the program when a job offer is secured. You don’t get an offer for two thirds of a job, and no one can say: ‘You are now 67% completed in your job search.’ This means that a ‘retail’ client is paying for a lot of failure and this failure is a frustration for both sides.”

It appears pretty obvious that they don’t expect you as a job-seeker to be qualified to be in the driver’s seat for any of the process of getting a new job. So please allow me to interpret their message for you.

To start with, you certainly can’t afford the $6000-$8000 we are going to charge your company to hold your hand in this process. Secondly, you really aren’t smart enough to know what’s best for you. You may know what you “want” but we know what you “need.” You don’t have the stamina required to deal with the rejection and "failure" you are going to experience in looking for work. And finally, we are really good at simply duplicating the miserable life you had previously. We don’t want to be bothered by taking the time to hear about your personal dreams and passions at this stage of your life. We don’t have the experience or the inclination to help you create your own unique and perhaps non-traditional work path. Don’t bore us with terms like personal fulfillment, finding your mission in life, or finding work you love. We’re pros at putting your butt in the next cubicle in this non-ending series of boring chapters in your life.

I certainly hope this approach would make you run the other way. You most assuredly should be in the driver’s seat for any transition in your own job/life. No one knows as much or cares as much as you. Working with a coach can help you clarify the beginning of the most fulfilling season of your life. You don’t want an organization to take over and treat you like a robot.  Eighty-five percent of the process of finding proper direction and fulfilling God’s purpose comes from looking inward—only 15 percent from looking at work history and credentials. Only you are qualified to see these subtle patterns that embrace your passions, your relationships, and the things that give you a sense of joy and meaning. Don’t allow circumstances or a prescribed “outplacement” plan make decisions that you deserve to make. Some fancy organization may be able to squeeze you into a “job” but they aren’t likely to help you create the “life” you want.


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