by Katheryn Rivas
I am not one to usually employ metaphors when talking about something as serious and life-altering as trying to find a new job. However, I'm sure that you know, if you've spent any time in the corporate world, the hundreds of sports analogies out there that are designed to give everyone a deeper understanding of the working world and the job market.
I do think, however, that the game of golf, a sport that I am passionate about, has not been utilized as much as it should be in understanding what it takes to be successful in anything, both personally and professionally. Don't get me wrong—I will skip over the more cheesy, "motivational," keep-your-eye-on-the-ball type stuff and demonstrate in concrete ways what we can learn about success from one of the most difficult games ever invented.
- "Driving is for show, putting is for dough."
This is an age-old saying in the world of golf. For those of you who aren't familiar with how the game is played, this saying basically indicates the importance of smaller details. Successful driving, which is your initial shot from the tee box, takes raw strength. But successful putting, which composes perhaps 50% or more of the game, necessitates finesse, self-control, and a much more concentrated attention to everything—the breaks in the green, your stance, and the technique of your stroke. In terms of your job search, this saying applies perfectly. The brute strength of your strategy, while important in its own right, is not as central to success as making sure all the finer details are in place, like perfecting your resume, your interview skills, and your networking strategies.
- Don't think about the score. Think about each individual shot.
One problem with my golfing game is an overemphatic psychological concern with my final score. Of course, it is only natural. After all, the whole point of the game is to "win," to beat your previous record or to beat others, so there is a lot at stake and it all rides on your final score. However, the one round in which I scored my lowest score to date, I told myself that I would not be adding up scores from hole to hole. I would treat each individual shot as if it were the only shot I had to take that day. After each hole, I'd write down my score, throw my scorecard in my bag, and take everything one play at a time. In terms of your job search, there is much to be learned from this strategy. Sure, you want to think long-term, but if you think too much about the end-goal, getting a job, you'll forget that the individual steps in your strategy are the only way to get what you want.
- Golf is one of the few sports where your only true competitor is yourself.
I know this one tip may seem a little off-the-mark, simply because there does exist such things as competitive tournaments and informal games where what's at stake is some sort of bet. Still, even though you may have playing partners, the golfing state of mind is one of individual struggle. At the course, you are both your own best friend and worst enemy. In your job search, the same is true. Although networking with others and setting up interviews and such are certainly a team effort, in the final analysis, you are the one in control of various factors in your search. This both has the power to elevate your job search to attaining full employment that satisfies you, but it also carries with it the possibility of failure if you are too hard on yourself. Being self-aware while searching for employment is key.
And of course, if you are taking the professional route in terms of finding work, I would strongly suggest picking up golf if you haven't already. The course, as they say, is where deals are made and, as the case may be, broken. The opportunities for networking while playing are unimaginably rife. And you may just learn a thing or two about life as well.