Fishing for a Job

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A friend couldn’t help himself. He proclaimed, “When this job hunt is over, I’m going fishing! Funny,” he continued, “the two are almost the same thing.” He was right, pretty much. If you like fishing, you will probably like job hunting. The metaphor works and there are lots of reasons to compare the two.

Here is my case about the similarities between the job hunt process and fishing:

  • Without bait in the water you won’t catch any fish. Without bait in the job hunt process, you won’t ever get a job.
  • And the more bait, the more fish catching is possible. A “nibble” can turn into a big fish or opportunity.
  • Fish don’t just jump on the hook, you have to entice them and do a little romancing. Check out the fishing lure section at the local sports store. It is almost like a jewelry store full of shiny baubles and bobs. Most resumes are full of baubles and bangles too.
  • You need to invest in the right equipment in both fishing and job hunting and you need to be prepared for changes and weird variables that may be introduced.
  • Like fishing, job hunting requires lots of patience and some days you don’t catch any fish. And you need to be prepared for that.
  • Once the fish or job is landed you have to decide whether it is a keeper or if you are going to throw it back. It is almost always a difficult decision.

The metaphor works but it cuts both ways. One way is to expect rejection and complain about the onerous activity. In fishing, when the fish don’t seem to cooperate and don’t take the bait, we say we were “skunked”. We can complain about the fish and the lack thereof. Job hunting is the same way. We can post rejection notes on the wall and complain about the disappointment and decision making of others (like getting skunked).

The other way the metaphor works is to enjoy the expectation of what the next bend in the river might take and what big fish lurks there. Or, what lucrative career opportunity lurks there. If we are “skunked” we can come back another day when the fish might be biting. We can throw more bait in the water (do more networking, send out more resumes, be open to more career possibilities) to lure more fish.

Then, there is always the decision about what do with the fish once you catch it. Or, what to do with the job once offered. It’s all up to you, but I recommend you make the most of any fish you catch. Even the small ones may just be the first step in a long adventure.

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