Thoughts for the Jedi Job Seeker
Today and generally these days, I am in the process of conjuring a working team.
To most this would look a lot like what looking for a job looks like, but it’s actually a bit different in several important ways.
In this writing there are a few notable things that I will not be covering that I wanted to mention in the interest of seeding the field:
- I am not going to talk about the root meaning of ‘job’ versus the semantically superior ‘vocation’.
- I am not going to talk about the responsibility our humanity requires of being principled and engaging in the realm of work from this foundation.
- I am not going to talk about the incredible and enormous advantages you gain by researching an organization before interviewing with them.
What I am going to talk about is the process I engage when I want to conjure a team.
Conjuring a team assumes that you love what you do and are good at it.
I do not struggle with how to communicate my aptitude in my field at this point in my career because I know, from experience, that whatever it is I am hired to do, I will do it well.
It’s a baseline assumption.
That is not to say that I will not talk about what I do well in an interview, but more to say that the words I use to talk about myself ultimately will communicate less than the conviction I have that if I have decided to apply for this position, it is because I already know that I will perform above expectations.
Conjuring a team is about changing the dynamic of a job search/interview in a way that you are able to gather and perhaps communicate two important types of information.
Essentially, the person interviewing you is there to find which and to what degree your skills will match the needs the organization is aware of having. You, of course, should not be shy about telling folks where you excel, and why you are good at what you do. But this should not be your focus.
Your attention and subsequent focus should revolve around 2 things.
The first focus is to discover through your research and the interview process what needs the organization has that they are unaware of by reviewing their organizational chart, listening to the dynamic between the interviewers, listening to the subtext of what they are saying and the pregnant pauses, listening for the things that they are avoiding saying, and finally by asking questions. I write down these things I notice as the interview is going so that I do not forget what they are. A lot of things are on your mind during an interview, be kind to your mind and write these things down.
The purpose of this first focus is to learn about the organization and to be able to reflect things about them to them that they did not already know or that they have not communicated.
What/How it works is:
- You are listening profoundly.
- You have done your own research and are not relying exclusively on the information that they are offering you.
- It gives them the experience of receiving something of value from you, some kernel of insight, that they did not have before they interviewed you.
- Your questions should:
- avoid judgment (“Um...hello?!?! Looks like you guys aren’t doing this...”),
- should assume they already know what you are going to say (because they probably do)
- and instead should relish in the language of opportunities (“From what your are telling me, it seems like there is an opportunity here to…, and I am wondering how your organization is addressing or thinking about that opportunity.”).
The second focus should be to understand, by listening for many of the same things, how well the organization is teaming together, where the pain points are, and most importantly if they have a commitment to continually improving the way they team together.
The purpose of this second focus, in addition to the purpose mentioned above for the first focus, is to determine if this is an organization that cares about the way that it’s workers feel, and safe-guards that the working environment has it’s own feedback mechanism for making incremental improvements.
This is important because:
- If organizations have put in place feedback mechanisms in the project management process that enable the team to make incremental improvements, it indicates that the teams will be self aware
- and that the experience of being on the team will improve over time for all involved.
- You will be treated less like a ‘human resource’ on this type of team, and more like an actual ‘human’,
- By clearly valuing the way a team works together at the interview, you are sending a message to the realm of work that workers matter, and is message incrementally reverberates in the system by improving the way employers approach the humans who work for them.
Conjuring a team is an act of love and trust.
There are some teams that you will not feel good about joining in the process of interviewing organizations and businesses. Not wanting to work for an organization you interview with does not make the organization wrong or bad but just not ideally a fit for your needs.
You will sometimes feel like you have to turn down a job that you are offered because it doesn’t feel like a good fit for you.
Trust that voice, but do not let yourself fall into self-righteousness. Not being a fit doesn’t not make an organization bad, it just means that what they are offering at this time is not a fit for you.
You don’t need to torture yourself or them with explanations. Better to come to this conclusion now than after dedicating 6 months of your life or more to something that doesn’t work for you.
When I say that conjuring a team is in this sense an act of love and trust, what I mean is that you come from a place of gratitude when you receive positive feedback (like ‘We want you to work for us.’), but understand that what is in front of you is not actually what you are looking for even if it does have the title of ‘Job’.
In communicating to the organization a job denial, ideally you would leave them feeling as good about themselves as they felt about you, but just that it is not a fit for your needs. Something like:
Thank you for seeing something in me, but I am realizing your offer is not a fit for me at this time. I am grateful for your time and wish your organization the best.
And then the last part of the trick, and perhaps the most important, is to know that what you are looking for is right around the corner (trust). Because it is. It is an alchemical certainty. By turning down a job that is not ideal, you are not telling the Hologram/Universe/Multiverse ‘no’ as much as you are affirming the things you do want.
Instead of a response that says ‘no thank you’ to a potential employer, you want to give them a resounding ‘Thank you!’. For believing in you. For seeing something special in you. If you are called to explain ‘why’ you are not interested in accepting the role at this time, you can do so in a way that affirms what you want without degrading who they are.
I am grateful for the offer, and also aware that I do my best work from my home office, and am ideally looking for an opportunity that enables me to create an environment for myself in which I thrive.
In conjuring a team, you no longer are negotiating specifically with a particular interviewer. Your negotiation is happening directly with the Hologram (God/Universe/Multiverse/UnknowableTruth).
This is tricky in part because the Hologram will generally call bullshit when it sees bullshit. If things do not work out despite your best efforts, it is generally a sign of something deeper happening systemically in what you are doing. Your job is to be brave and to listen for what that might be.
Generally speaking, all of us are full of a little bullshit. If we were not, we would not be human. We are here in this realm, in part, to learn how to not contradict our own desires with our beliefs about something.
If when you make a bid to the Hologram for a certain kind of job (or for anything, for that matter), the Hologram experiences a bit of dissonance (bullshit) between the realms of what you are telling yourself generally about reality versus what you think you want in this specific instance, it will let you know.
It will let you know in a variety of ways.
One example is the blog that I wrote before this one. It was ‘accidentally’ deleted. Instead of assuming that it was an ‘accident’ (there are no accidents), I realized that much of what I was saying that was off track, and and am now coming back with something truer. Something better. If you are reading this now, the Hologram did not swallow it up a second time.
The point is not to exhaustively list all of the ways that the Hologram speaks to us, but instead to implore us to listen in ways uncover truths we were not aware of – because that is where the good stuff is.
What we are listening for is not where we can find a job, or what job we should try to get, what we are listening for is how we can best position ourselves to express the magic of our gifts.
Our gifts, vocational and otherwise, are a deep magic. When your goal, instead of getting a Job, is to express the fullness of this magic for the benefit of all, it is by it’s very nature an act of co-creation with the source of those gifts, which I refer to here as the Hologram.
It is the nature of intelligence, which the Hologram is by definition full of, to want to position all gifts in a way that allows them to express themselves fully. The universe is always in favor of the exceptional expression of gifts. The question is if your concept of that expression is in line with the fullest vision held by the Hologram.
If/when your will aligns with that of the Hologram, hold on to your hat, and prepare yourself for something even better than the version you first had in your mind when you started.