19 September 2017

A Bias for Action

bias for action


How much does your job search
cost you each day?

Our topic a few weeks ago was “How to Make $15K Real Fast.” Some people who couldn’t make it wrote and asked me how to make $15K real fast. I’m shocked and surprised that all of you who couldn’t make it didn’t write to me! Some of you don’t have a bias for action.

The answer is: look for a job during the summer. Look for a job every day, all day during the summer. I arrived at this figure by using the figures you have reported to us when you came to your first meeting. The average member of JobSeekers of PTC earns about $180 per day, 365 days a year. Multiply that amount by the 73 days of summer in the Fayette County school system and you have $13,140.

If you had to write a $15K check in order to take the summer off, would you do it?

If you haven’t been working on your job search this week because you want to relax during your kids’ first month of summer, write a check for $5400. Yes, Memorial Day is a work day for a job seeker. Father’s Day is a work day for a job seeker. Every day is a work day (an opportunity) for a job seeker.

If you’ve taken the summer off so far, you are not showing a bias for action.

– – – – –

“If you could attempt anything in your job search today and you knew beforehand you were going to be successful at it, what would you do?”

Two or three times a year I ask the audience at JobSeekers this question. Most of the responses have to do with networking and using the phone. “I’d call the company I interviewed with three weeks ago and tell them I want the job.” “I’d call the VP of operations at such-and-such a company and ask for an informational meeting.”

If you knew you were going to be successful – and you actually did it – you’d have a bias for action.

What’s holding you back?

Next I ask what’s holding them back. Fear and pride come up every time. Other responses include not knowing anyone to call, not wanting to interrupt, and not having the necessary skills. “I just don’t know what I’m supposed to say.”

Many times a year (every week?) we emphasize that networking is by far the number one way people find jobs. Most people do it, but they do far too little of it. One time I took a survey at a JobSeeker meeting. The question was, “When was the last time you contacted someone you’d never spoken to before and asked for help with your job search?” The average was 7.21 days. Everyone knows networking is the best way to find a job, but they only talk to one new person per week!

When I think about this critical issue, these two bible verses pop into my head:

1. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

2. Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.

Only six verses separate these two passages. They are both found in the fourth chapter of James. What’s the connection between these passages and someone seeking employment? I believe I am writing to a great many of you who need to hear this message – people who need to act decisively upon this advice.

Humility pays off.

The first passage about being humble is clear. I know from personal experience that it takes a great deal of humility to tell someone you are out of work and need some help. I did better at this in my own search in 2000 than I did in 1992. I know this is hard; I have tons of empathy for you.

One member of the Ship’s Crew saw a gentleman at church almost every week for eight months before the gentlemen mentioned that he was in career transition. Pride and inaction may have cost that job seeker tens of thousands of dollars.

Swallowing your pride and asking for help could shorten your search by months, which would increase your income substantially. For example, if you earn $72K per year and shorten your search by two months, your gross income increases by $12K. You may get back on a corporate medical plan two months sooner and won’t have to pay COBRA fees. So I urge you, brothers and sisters, to humble yourself before the Lord – and before your family, friends and neighbors – and they will lift you up!

We had several people in the past year that had been out of work for almost a year. They humbled themselves, asked us for help, invested in some training, and found great jobs as a result. They had a bias for action and it paid big dividends.

Action pays off.

In Search of ExcellenceThe second passage about “doing what you know you ought to do” is a verse I’ve struggled with. I’ve asked myself, “Is it a sin to spend 70% of your time on ‘Monster’ and other job boards when you know that the best way to find a job is through networking?” I’ll let you and God work that one out, but I do have an analogy for what I see many of you doing:

Think of a pilot trying to get a plane airborne: the plane has to achieve a certain speed in order to take off. In the worst case, it will crash into whatever is at the end of the runway, possibly killing all aboard.

I’ve met many of you who think you are going fast enough to get airborne. You’re burning lots of fuel and going 90 miles an hour, but you’re not going fast enough to get airborne. It breaks my heart and frustrates the heck out of me to see you plodding down the runway.

In their best selling business book, In Search of Excellence, Peters and Waterman say one of the eight principles of a well-run, focused company is “a bias for action.”

Friends, some of you are not in action! You think you are, but you aren’t. You’re working hard, but not smart. You’re on the internet when you should be on the phone. You’re out in left field when you should be out in the community.

You’re not letting me down; you’re letting yourself and your family down.

Friends, some of you are not in action! You don’t see the consequence of taking the afternoon, or the day, or the week, or the summer off. I mentioned financial consequences, but there are other possible consequences as well, like explaining why your job search is taking so long. Time is money. Behave as if you believe this.

What are you going to do?

By golly, if you know the good you ought to do, by all means, do it! I don’t know if it’s a sin – or evil – or not, but I do know that it is a disservice to you, to your family and to the Kingdom of God. Paul scolded the church members in Thessalonica (2 Thessalonians, chapter 3) for laziness in their work; now I am challenging you and your bias for action.

I am asking you to reflect on what you are doing – on what’s working and what you need to change. I’m sure that all of us – including our alumni, our network, and me – can find some area of our lives that we are not doing the things we know we ought to do. So I am challenging each and every one of you to take one decisive step to ramp up your job search, your career, or your business – to the glory of God.

Are you on board? What are you going to do?

See you Friday at JobSeekers, the place where we have a bias for action!

Copyright © 2004-2017 / Dave O’Farrell / All Rights Reserved

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