Posted by: Katie | September 2, 2011

Perspective, please

The job hunt continues. Hey, it’s a tight market right now. The good thing is that I am getting bites here and there on applications. I’d be *really* worried if that were not the case. In the course of my many applications, I’ve come to realize the importance for having someone to act as a sounding board.

When you are searching out opportunities, whether that’s a new job, getting published, landing a consulting contract, opening a new business, whatever, it’s important to have a sounding board off whom to bounce your ideas. And to provide you with some very needed perspective. I do not mean someone to play Devil’s Advocate (though that may be the type of person you need depending on the situation). I mean someone to provide a perspective separate from yours. You cannot see yourself as others see you.

I get into ruts. Deep ones. I lose track of my value to others, and tend to focus on the more mundane aspects of what I do. One of my bosses once described me as a stevedore. It’s something I do very well, and something I enjoy being. However, that idea of me doesn’t mesh when asked to describe myself as “innovative” and “proactive”. I know I am and can be those things, but I’m stuck in the “I’m a stevedore” mentality. It’s by talking with others and sharing the tribulations of the job hunt that I’ve been able look beyond my initial reaction of what I am. They help me by framing what is being asked of me in a way I would not have been able to see on my own. The more you do that, the more you can do it by yourself.

The one thing to be leery of when seeking out someone to act as a sounding board is to cede your perspective to theirs. No one is 100% right. You need to take what the person is saying, play with it for a bit, and see if it makes sense to you. If it does make sense, are you able to adjust your perspective and still keep it as yours? Sometimes, the sounding boards are able to say things that make sense to you, but are not able to frame it in a way that makes the light bulb above your head light up. That is the person you need. Keep in mind, the right sounding board can and may change. The person who is right for one situation may not be the right one for another. This is why you need a stable of sounding boards. You’ll get a feel for who is the right person to turn to depending on the situation. Good luck.

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