Job Search Advice, Courtesy of a Toddler

So what can an adult learn about job searches from a 10 month-old baby? Plenty actually. In my case, my mentor is my little daughter. Since the day my daughter came home from the hospital, her and our dog have been the best of friends. The dog comes up to her and sniffs her, or occasionally licks her on the hand or face. My daughter enjoys the attention (it probably tickles her too), and the dog allows my daughter to approach her and pet her.

Our cat, however, has been a tougher nut to crack for my daughter. For whatever reason, the cat keeps her distance from the baby, and that’s probably a good thing, since our cat is not always careful with her claws, even when she is trying to be friendly. But my daughter is determined to develop the same friendship with the cat that she enjoys with the dog. Whenever the cat enters the room, or emerges from hiding behind the furniture, my daughter’s face lights up and she makes a b-line for the cat as fast as her little appendages will let her crawl. Every time, the cat rather effortlessly moves to a position of safety, while my daughter pauses for a second, and then goes back to what she was doing.

One thing my daughter does not do, however, is show any sign of discouragement that her hunt was unsuccessful. This has been going on for several months now (ever since my daughter figured out how to crawl), and my daughter has yet to even get a hand on her prey. One day while watching this scene unfold, it occurred to me how my daughter’s plight resembles a predicament of my own. It just so happens that we are both chasing seemingly elusive targets. For me, my “cat” would be a new job. For almost 4 months, I’ve been working my job search, with nary a reply to any of the applications I’ve submitted. While I’ve found this to be quite frustrating (and expressed such to friends and family at times), watching my daughter has inspired me to work on keeping this feeling in check. Although she doesn’t realize it, eventually (and probably sooner than we realize!) she will develop the mobility and coordination to corral the cat, or the cat will warm up to her just as she has to the other humans in the house. Likewise, for me, eventually the right job opportunity will come along, although maybe not as soon as I would like.

Just in the last 2 weeks, I have been fortunate to finally have 3 interviews (one phone and 2 in-person). I do not yet know what, if anything, will come of these opportunities, and I’ve even prepared myself for the reality that nothing may come of any of them. But thanks to the inspiration of my daughter, one thing I won’t do is let myself get discouraged with a lack of initial success. I know that eventually we will both catch our cats.