Monday, May 19, 2014

What's playing at the Roxy?

Well, here we are. Monday again. I spent the weekend with my family, goofing off, which was really nice. I did have one significant accomplishment. I taught my 15-year-old son an important life skill: how to mow the lawn. When we lived in England, the place we rented had a huge garden (they call them gardens there, not backyards). It was so big we had to have a gardener for the trees and plants, and a lawn guy to cut the grass. I was once asked if I had a lawnmower for all that grass, and the answer I gave was, "Yes, I do. His name is Paddy, and he comes every other Thursday." Now that we're in a much smaller place here in Florida, we take care of it ourselves. By which I mean, now when asked if I have a lawnmower, I can say, "Yes, I do. He's my son, and he mows every other weekend." (OK, it's not as funny that way, but I can still say it.)

I taught my son to mow the lawn for a couple of reasons, one of which was that I didn't want to mow it myself. Well, it's true. We're lucky that the grass in our yard is some special magic grass that the previous owners put it, that sort of only grows so high and stays really thick, but it still needs regular cutting. So on Saturday, I passed on the lawn mowing torch. In the business world, we call that "delegating."

What I really wanted to write about here was motivation. In my story above, I wasn't motivated to mow the lawn -- but I was motivated to teach my son how. So here it is, Monday. It's either back to work or back to a job search for most of us -- maybe both. If you have a job, the motivation is pretty obvious: go and do the job, or don't get paid (and lose the job). But if you're a job seeker, the motivation is all internal. If you decide to skip a day and go see a movie, no one is going to fire you. Yes, in the long run, you need a job to pay the bills and support yourself (and maybe a family), and that's motivating, but a job search can be demoralizing. Day after day of calls, letters, research, resumes, and if you're lucky, interviews. Day after day of no callbacks, "sorry, not hiring," "thanks but no thanks," and "we'll get back to you." That can wear a body down.

So how do you keep yourself going? Is it enough to just keep telling yourself how important it is? Or do you have some little tricks to get you through? An ice cream cone after every 10th application submitted? A special dinner with the wife after every interview? No TV until you've made 15 cold calls?

I'd love to hear your tips.

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