My daughter is four, so Easter is a big deal. Still second to Christmas, but Santa doesn’t bring HUGE chocolate bunnies so… he might drop a notch this year.
Because she is four she doesn’t quite understand the “art of the egg hunt.” She also doesn’t have an older sibling to emulate. After getting hosed at the neighborhood Easter party by some older kids, well, it was my duty to dispel some egg-hunting advice. Just ask my younger brother. I raked up the eggs back in the day.
As I was describing what she should do on the next hunt, I realized I was also giving out fairly smart career advice, some of which I’ve received over the course of my professional career. Here’s what I shared:
- You have to have a strategy. For eggs, run as fast as you can to the opposite side of the yard/playground. When kids are turned loose, they all rush to the first eggs they see. Screw those eggs. Push yourself and haul it to the side where you alone have access to eggs.
Your career hunt is no different. You don’t want to apply for the same job hundreds of others are as well. You’ll end up in ATS hell with nothing to show for it. You have to push yourself and develop a strategy. Networking, finding a search professional you trust, being open to relo for the right role and interviewing for everything you are remotely interested in as that interview could lead to a different opportunity in the org.
- Don’t just put one egg in your basket and start eating chocolate. In egg hunting, the goal is to load up your basket until it is dragging on the ground! You can then cull (“share”) the eggs you don’t want with your little brother.
Same applies to your career. If you have all of your eggs in one basket, you will eventually be toast. That goes for staying at one company for too long, stagnating in one profession or relying on one manager to promote your career for you. If you are interviewing, always have a back-up option—both as a candidate and an employer. It is unfortunate, but good people are still being wooed by counter-offers regardless of the immense evidence of IT NEVER WORKING.
- Always look up. That Easter Bunny is a funny dude. Yeah, he’ll hit the flower pots and tree trunks, but damn if he doesn’t also find a hanging basket, fence or bird feeder to hide an egg or two in. In the pursuit of eggs, you can’t just be heads down or you’ll miss prime eggage (yes, it’s a word, mom).
How often are you so heads down in your current role that you forget to look up and see what else you could be doing—either within your company or outside? This is why (HR pros in particular) don’t go to networking shin-digs, development events or return calls from recruiters… until they need a job. “I’m too slammed” is just crap. If you’ve lived 25 years, you’ve been through at least 2 economic or industry downturns. Those cycles will catch you off-guard if you aren’t looking ahead, so do the work NOW to ensure you’ll have people to help you when another downturn occurs.
After listening to her mom’s sage advice, my daughter cleaned up at her school’s egg hunt. The smile was unforgettable as she showed me her full basket.
Now, little does she know that her bounty will be evenly divided among the kids so everyone goes home with the same number of eggs, but that’s fodder for a different post on the value of competition vs. everyone getting a trophy!
Kathy Rapp is the CEO of hrQ where she helps companies find groovy HR Talent for permanent or project roles across the country. Prior to joining hrQ Kathy booked more than 15 years of diverse HR leadership experience working in F500s and start-up organizations. A connoisseur of the intersection between pop culture and business, Kathy believes many talent insights can be gleamed from the succession planning lessons experienced by Van Halen and AC/DC.