Fishing for a new job

Insights from a bay

Finding a job and fishing are quite similar.

Recently the leader of a workshop shared his analogy which I found (mostly) useful. He talked about being on vacation at a bay near the ocean. Every morning a fisherman would come to the shore, cast his net over the bay, then slowly reel the net in–his demeanor as calm as the morning waters of the bay. Over the early hours the fisherman cast his net many, many times.

Sometimes the net revealed a fish or two. Sometimes the next was empty. Upon seeing the results of his cast, the fisherman expressed little emotion–no whoops of joy when a fish appeared, no tears and wailing when the net was empty. Also, no expectations attached to the results, such as 3 fish this time means even more next time!

He just kept going forward, continuing to cast his net until the sun was high and the fish gone elsewhere for the day. Most days the fisherman ended his work with enough fish for a family…

The workshop leader recommended that our job search be like this fisherman’s journey. Just keep moving forward, casting as much as we can–unattached to the minute details of each cast. This also means having no expectations either.

I love this story because the visual of the calm fisherman working by the calm water, blue sky above and sea stretching out is a lovely portrayal to help me remember the big picture–of my job finding mission, and life in general.

With one LARGE EXCEPTION. There is a big difference between the work of the fisherman and my work. The fish will almost always be in the bay, and getting a few each day rather than landing a truckload for the year is the most effective way for the fisherman to work. For me there is one big result I am going for, and so I do have emotion tied to having fish in the net (getting to the next step in the interview process) or lack thereof (not finding a good fit and moving on to the next possibility).

While the fisherman’s placid demeanor and attitude are useful to him, and a good reminder to me, I also want to allow myself to feel and process the emotion that comes with the content of the net.

Even though the workshop leader advised us to not let emotion into the process, thinking about it allowed me to consciously disagree and acknowledge my humanity and my strong feelings. When I do that, I move through the feelings more quickly and can be more productive overall.

What about your fishing expeditions? Are they emotional as well?  Please share by commenting below.

My best wishes for an stupendous day and week. See you next Wednesday!

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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