How Your Job Search Is Like Climbing Mount Everest

Many of you will see this title and say “If getting a job is like climbing the highest mountain on the planet, I’ll never get there.” That philosophy is not my intent and I suspect you will understand my thinking after having read the article. I have to admit that timing plays arole in most of what I write and I did just finish the book “Into Thin Air” by Jon Krakauer. This is a fascinating book that details the stories of many who died and those who did not while trying to ascend Everest in 1996. Also, you will not need to bring any oxygen as you read this post.

1. Just like scaling Everest, the path to your next job could be a long trek

I work as a volunteer each week with the Career Transition Group in Brentwood, TN and we have the opportunity to help many in their journey to their next job and/or career. This journey has been longer than anticipated for many in the group, with several taking over 12 months until reaching the summit (finding their job). The summit of Best Time To Go To Base Camp Everest is over 29,000 feet and that seems like a long way up. In a similar manner, plan for your search to take longer than you think. By using this type of long-term thinking you will make sounder decisions and also use your supplies and resources wisely.

2. You may not make it to your summit in just one leap; consider some steps/base camps along the way

If you ever decide to attempt Mt. Everest you will learn that the time to do this is weeks and months. You will first make base camp at 18,000 feet and then take succeeding more taxing trips to camps 1-3 at increasing altitudes in order to be acclimated for the final ascent. Your path to your next job may not be one where you get immediately to the summit, but one where you take roles that prepare you for the final journey. This is also true for long-term career planning, but most people are so focused on the next role that they don’t even consider what their final goal is as they progress.

3. You will want to enlist some Sherpas/guides along the way

Stories of individuals climbing Everest on their own are very rare. The common group now enlists the help of Sherpas, indigenous people from Tibet or Nepal, to help them with the trip. Sherpas are very accustomed to the altitude and difficulty of the climb and they are invaluable in helping you along your way. The same is true on your job search. The odds of you finding your next role without significant help is low. You should and must enlist the help of trusted advisors who can guide and advise you as you journey along the path to your destination. Many of us, especially men, are resistant to ask for help, and that is an Achilles heel in the job search process.

4. Form a group for the journey

Just as we discussed earlier that Sherpas are invaluable, so is a support group. Your support group gives you an accountability link to one another and this group can also give you good feedback if you choose your group wisely. Many of the reasons for having Sherpas apply here also, but this support group is more of a peer group where there is mutual accountability and support where the Sherpas are typically not engaged personally in a search. There is more joy in the journey when you do not go it alone.


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