Squared Circle Career Counseling

“…and in this corner….the heavyweight champion of the worrrrrrrld….the crushAH!” – Bugs Bunny cartoon

“I think you’re missing out on how much you’re actually doing that you don’t even realize is important.” – Me, this past Sunday

I might complain from time to time about being too busy for my own good with eight kajillion things going on, but the good part is that I get a lot of random insight and topics to write about here.  I also completely love the random collision of worlds effect that takes place on a fairly regular basis.

For instance, I couldn’t help but laugh as I stood inside the king of all dive bars on Sunday giving career advice to professional wrestlers.

What’s that?

What can a geek like me possibly have to offer them?

As it turns out, quite a lot…

You’d never guess that five of the eight people on this poster are in my recent call history.

I can’t even begin to count how many times I’ve talked with people in career transition who want to get into information technology over the course of the past few years.  Whether at one of our events, or via email, through LinkedIn, or at one of our speaking engagements like the ones with MEDC for their Shifting Gears program, it’s become a very common theme.

And sometimes they don’t even really want to be getting into IT.  Sometimes they have no idea what they want to do…but the conversation always hits the same points:

1. Them asking “I have no experience in [industry], and so how can I get into [industry]?”

2. Me saying “Well, let’s talk about what you’ve done so far and we’ll figure it out as we go.”

So why would there be any difference between “I’m in construction and think I want to change industries” and “I’m a professional wrestler and want to change industries”?

Exactly.  There isn’t.

The fact that Taeler Hendrix was one of the ones asking in no way influenced my decision to be so helpful…

You still have to go through a brutally honest self-assessment.  You still have to do your homework and figure out what a realistic set of goals are in your journey to your new career path.  You still have to convince someone that it’s worth taking a chance on you even though you look completely wrong on paper.

Several years ago, I wrote an entry called “Thoughts on Basements and Networks“, and in the context of my still-not-yet-finished basement, the final core component of this discussion got covered – can your network get you to where you want to be?

And here’s where that random and fun collision of worlds takes place.

Because now I’m in that king of all dive bars on Sunday talking to two professional wrestlers about adapting their skills and abilities into a different career track.

Neither one of them is dumb, either.  They both think they are, at least in this context…but they’re not.  They just don’t realize what they have to offer up as their skills and abilities yet.

I mean, who wouldn’t want to talk with someone from a social media perspective that with zero budget and wholly operating on her own managed to build her personal brand up thousands of page likes and tens of thousands of Twitter followers?

…particularly since this is her boyfriend, Joe…the other person I was speaking with at the time…

What company out there doesn’t need a personable, social, well-spoken sales guy with a great sense of humor and a quick, agile mind that can think on his feet?

How many marketing companies would like to have someone in-house that’s been on national television, with plenty of on-camera experience?

I tell people all of the time that being a bartender taught me how to read people, assess situations, learn how to handle difficult customers…so why wouldn’t his similar experience translate like mine has?

Their reactions as we had our chat weren’t that different from past discussions – as they heard there was hope, there was a chance, and maybe they weren’t actually trying to be a square peg in a round hole after all…they relaxed a bit.

It’s not a hopeless situation.  No, it’s not going to be easy…but it’s not impossible, either.

It doesn’t get much more random than this…

They know they’re going to have to work at it.  But they took the first step – they asked for help.  Luckily for them, Bob and I happen to be at the intersection of the bizarre, three-circle Venn Diagram that exists somewhere checking “People who go to wrestling events in dive bars” and “People who have careers in the industry you want to get in” and “Are willing to help you”.

So yes, if you come to our future events…it’s entirely possible that you might see Taeler and Joe there.

Because they’re going to work at it, and do everything they can to make their lives better.

And just as a reminder – they’re professional wrestlers.  You might want to stay on their good side if you do run into them.

RedjobsBut this little tale is also a reminder to you out there whining about not being able to find a job as you cling to your grossly outdated skill sets.  You’re IN the industry, and so you already have a leg up on folks like this…and yet you’re wasting your opportunities to learn something new and improve your career and your life.

That’s why we have so little sympathy for you.  We help when and where we can…but you have to be willing to help yourself, too.  The same holds true for these two, as well.  If we never see them at one of our events…if they never make the tweaks and adjustments that we suggest to them as ways to improve their chances…we’ll stop worrying about helping them, too.

Because there’s always someone who won’t waste our time because they want it more and are willing to work for it.  Doesn’t matter if “it” is a gold championship belt wrapped around your waist or a better job with more pay and a decent work environment…someone always wants it more.

That’s all for this time, folks.  Go read something else.