Hunting for a job? Maybe a 'strategy group' is in order

I’m currently reading "The Happiness Project" by U.S. Supreme Court clerk-turned-author Gretchen Rubin. In a chapter about seeking happiness in her work life, she reveals one of her “Secrets of Adulthood”:“It’s okay to ask for help.”

She describes how she came up with the idea of meeting with two other authors once every six weeks for two hours in order to talk shop. Hashing out her ideas with others similarly situated improved both her writing and marketing plans and made her accountable to a writing schedule. The three called themselves a “writers’ strategy group.”

Similarly, I’ve observed my wife Erin and two of her friends hold each other accountable to their running schedules. Every Sunday, each group member e-mails the other two a detailed description of the past week’s workouts, complete with no holds barred commentary like “Tuesday’s run was miserable! This hobby is stupid.” Sending an e-mail that fesses up to missing a workout or two, or failing to send the e-mail at all, stokes the ire of the group to the extent that the offending party rights the ship the following week.

I see some application of Rubin’s writers’ strategy group and Erin’s running support group to a legal job search. Law school is obviously a competitive place, and job-hunting often pits law student against law student in a high stakes struggle. But how about creating an informal job seekers’ support group of no more than two or three other students, preferably those who share slightly different career goals than you in order to minimize potential conflict?

Like Rubin’s group, you could meet on a regular basis to swap ideas and encouragement. Or like Erin’s group, you could commit to regularly send each other e-mails that detail your recent job-hunting efforts.

The knowledge that you have to talk out loud to other people, or at least communicate electronically about the actions you’ve taken to further your job-hunting, will likely hold you accountable to your action plan. And the support you’ll likely receive from others in the same boat may very well keep you afloat!

Todd Rogers,
Assistant Dean for Career Services

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