Go back to Job Search Prep Syllabus.
Here are some questions for you to consider: (1) Why is it so easy to hold ourselves accountable to certain goals but not to others? (2) How come sometimes when we find ourselves in a new situation, it’s easy to figure out what to do, while other times it’s difficult?
During a job search, these questions are not just interesting, they’re critical. Figuring out the answers to these questions can be the difference between working and asking Dad to help with the rent!
The answers to these questions have a lot to do with the amount and the type of *feedback* we get while trying to achieve a given goal. (Remember objectives from the other day? And how good objectives provide progress feedback?) Situations in which we can discern clear and quick feedback are the ones in which we typically excel.
Notice, I didn’t say, “situations that provide clear feedback.” It’s not up to the situation to provide the feedback. It’s up to us to find it. Now sometimes we get lucky, and someone pulls us aside with a comment like, “OK, see, that right there is what I’m talking about. Let me give you some feedback…” But that’s rare.
Usually, feedback falls into one of two other categories: (1) feedback that is indirect and ambiguous, and (2) feedback that seems clear but turns out not to be. Ambiguous feedback is easy to spot. The breakup line, “It’s not you, it’s me,” is a classic example: is it *really* you? Or are you trying to let me down easy? I can’t tell!
But sometimes, feedback seems clear, and it’s not until you try to act on it (and subsequently run into roadblocks) that you realize maybe the feedback you got was bad. An example would be the following conversation:
You: “Are you coming over?”
Friend: “I’m at Michael’s, so… how’s seven?”
You: “Seven’s good.”
Friend: “Cool. I’ll see you at seven.”
You end the conversation expecting the friend to come over at seven. Your friend didn’t say it, but it was clearly implied by the pause after “I’m at Michael’s,” right? Obviously, the friend was calculating the time it would take to get from Michael’s to your place. Right?
Of course that’s right. Not until you call your friend at 7:15 and the person is *still* at Michael’s, waiting for you, do you discover the ambiguity. And usually, at that point, you blame the other party for being an idiot and causing you aggravation.
But in your job search, there is no space for blame. It’s irrelevant. You have to take ownership over everything, because it’s *your* job.
So to help make sure you are reading feedback correctly, here are 3 points to keep in mind when trying to read a situation.
Feedback is an integral part of so many things that we do: speedometers, thermostats, scoreboards, exams, hugs, smiles, second dates… all provide feedback to let us know how we’re doing. Without feedback, stress levels grow, as we complain about “throwing darts in the dark,” “grasping at straws,” or “flying blind.” Without clear feedback, we fail and then blame others. We lose control over our problems.
On the other hand, remaining open to feedback—whatever its form—will keep you in control. It will allow you to make critical adjustments in what you are doing and experience Quality Events at will.
It will help you succeed at whatever you are doing.
You probably could have guessed it. The homework for this lesson is to track Quality Events as they happen with regard to the direct and indirect feedback that you get through those events. Don’t forget to take the same approach to looking at Quality Events that you may have missed out on.
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