We Live in Strange Times
Who could have predicted at the beginning of the pandemic in February of 2020, that over two years later, we would still be dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic? Many think it is over but if you really believe that you are smoking something and yes, you are inhaling.
We have a crazy person in Russia who decided in February of 2022 to invade Ukraine. This has further exacerbated supply chain problems worldwide. Particularly, food supply chains have been disrupted and we may have a food crisis in Africa and the Middle East in just a few months.
On top of that, we have climate change to deal with. How do we wean ourselves off fossil fuels when we are even more dependent on them due to the issues caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Most if not all of this is out of our control. This is way above our pay grade!
What can you do? In strange times, focus only on what you can control and let go of everything else.
During the 1990s, I traveled all over the world for business for IBM. I had a 3-year period in the mid-1990s when I traveled about twice a month and, on every trip, I had some travel glitch. Some were major—like taking three days to get from Austin to Brussels, Belgium. Others were more troubling, like making an emergency landing due to a passenger having a heart attack. The rest were just flat annoying—like having a jet bridge collapse about the time we were supposed to board the plane.
This finally came to a head when I was asked to speak to a Linux user group one evening in Atlanta. I was being asked to speak to a bunch of geeks. The IBM account representative asked me to come early and present to a major customer earlier in the day. I caught a flight from the Austin airport to Dallas early in the morning and soon discovered the weather around Atlanta was very stormy and my flight was delayed.
Making the meeting with the major customer was not going to happen but I would arrive in time for the Linux user group meeting. I was very worried that the account representative would be angry with me. When I called him and told him about the situation and he said ….. okay. I was suffering from MSU (make stuff up) disorder.
What I learned was that I was not in control. I learned to let go and just make the best of the situation.
Strange Times in Hiring
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the hiring process forever.
Most of the time, when you are in job search mode, you are not in control. You cannot control:
- When a position will become available
- How many rounds of interviews will happen
- When the hiring decision will be made
- Whether a major decision maker becomes ill and is out for a full week due to COVID-19
- If the recruiter you are working with attends a conference and is out of touch for a week
- Whether a hurricane hits a major facility and causes the company to incur steep financial loss
- When a hiring manager determines that he/she has not interviewed enough qualified candidates and starts the process all over again
- If there is a hiring freeze imposed during the interview process
- When budgets get cut due to bad quarterly financial results
I have seen all of these occur. What can you control? Your actions.
- Reach out to the person who referred you to the hiring manager and do some investigation.
- Follow the company in the news.
- Be persistent and keep reaching out. Use the methods described in my post, 3 Steps to Get the Hiring Manager or Recruiter to Respond.
Uncertainty in Strange Times
For most of us, uncertainty is a killer. It creates anxiety.
I always go back to the methods I learned in the book, Positive Intelligence by Shirzad Charmin.
The author tells us that there are two sides to our brain:
- Positive, or the sage side
- Negative, or the saboteur’s side (there are 10 saboteurs)
The 10 saboteurs are:
The idea is to spend significantly more time on the positive or sage side of the brain, than the negative or saboteur side. You accomplish this by identifying your primary saboteurs, naming them, and learning to spot them when they pop up in your thinking.
This is a powerful method of reducing the anxiety produced by uncertainty.
When we are uncertain, one of the saboteurs usually pops up and creates havoc in our heads. This is when MSU (Make Stuff Up) syndrome kicks in. MSU syndrome is when we make stuff up in our heads due to uncertainty.
Try some of the techniques I suggest in my post 3 Treatments for Make Stuff Up Disorder.
I hope that these suggestions are helpful in dealing with uncertainty and that they allow you to focus on what you can control. Heck, there is a lot of uncertainty in the world right now. How are you dealing with it? Are you focusing on what you can control?
We live in strange times. Focus on what you can control.Marc Miller