Does Your Job Search Resemble Ground Hog Day?

You know the movie Ground Hog Day where the same day just keeps repeating itself over and over and over? The movie could just as easily have been called “Insanity” … but maybe that name was already taken. You know what that is though, right … doing the exact same thing over and over while expecting different results.

I saw these tweets come through my Twitter stream last week …

Be honest about your job search and #career goals. You will get out of it what you put into it. Make the investment. #hfchat #tchat

#CareerAdvice – If your job search isn’t leading to offers or even interviews – Change tactics, get focused and get creative – Keep Movin! @Kris Plantrich

… and it reminded me of a conversation I had recently with a gentleman, very nice, who had never been a CFO but felt fully qualified to be a CFO.

Jim (not his real name) has been unemployed since January. January 2010. A year. When I asked what prompted him to call me, he said “what I’m doing just isn’t working.” He told me he’s been through outplacement and is currently getting additional outplacement from a different firm, but he’s not really too happy with the results.

Why, I thought, is he calling me … now? His response to that question I apparently articulated was: “Well, I think I need to do something different.” Still thinking, I said – to myself this time – well that’s good. He recognizes he needs a fresh perspective and a different strategy.

Good that is, or was, until he heard it would involve … effort. He wasn’t worried about what it would cost to work with me. He was worried about the work it would require on his end. And he wasn’t interested in putting forth any effort. I guess after a year of doing the same thing over and over he was rather exhausted.

We ended the conversation with him deciding to keep on doing what he’s been doing and hoping for the best. He’s living in his own Ground Hog Year!

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7 thoughts on “Does Your Job Search Resemble Ground Hog Day?”

  1. This is so true. It’s amazing to me how many people feel they must stay the course because they simply don’t have the time or the money to change direction. Fast forward to a year or two with few results and lost income and suddenly it becomes more apparent an investment of time and money early on would have been a good idea. Doing things over and over when you are getting little to no positive results is crazy, yet the norm. I blogged a year or so ago about my favorite Bart Simpson episode. I hate that show, but I caught one episode where his brilliant sister, Lisa, set up a cookie jar to zap him every time he reached in for a treat. She also electrified a piece of cheese at the end of a mouse maze. The experiment was to see who would learn to avoid getting shocked first, the mouse or Bart. Well, many shocks later, Bart was still reaching in. The mouse had changed his goals and plans after two shocks. The show ends with Bart’s hand hovering over the jar. He’s sweating and nervous, yet still ready to subject himself to the same miserable and predictable outcome.

    • The Bart Simpson story was perfect, Lisa! … sweating and nervous, yet still ready to subject himself to the same miserable and predictable outcome! It’s painful either way, but at least the fresh perspective, different strategy, and effort can translate to something much better!

      As always, Lisa, I so appreciate your great insight!

  2. Cindy,

    Someone that is an Outstanding CFO has the skill sets necessary to accomplish in the face of adversity.

    One skill of an Outstanding CFO is the ability to not only seek advice, but take advice as well.

    Realizing that other people have points of view different than our own and channeling those points of view to challenge ourselves to become better professionals (and better people) is one hallmark of an Outstanding CFO.

    Jim may not have been an outstanding CFO. And that’s ok. He just makes the CFOs that are outstanding look better.

    Good luck with your search Jim.

    Samuel Dergel, CA, CPA, CPC
    Senior Partner & Practice Leader, CFO Search
    Website :

    • That is definitely a great perspective, Samuel – he just makes the best of the best really shine! I loved the “hallmark of an outstanding CFO” comment. I might be borrowing that one! Thanks Samuel! Your comments and insight are so appreciated.

  3. So true, but you at least planted the seed! I had a similar case. Early last summer, a gentleman wanted me to help him land a federal job that he had been ‘pursuing’ for TWO years and kept “missing out on the opportunity.” I asked him several questions and when I got to the question of, “Are you willing to approach your goal the right way and commit 20-30 hours worth of time working with me, plus the $$$$ investment?” He replied, “I just think that if I am paying $$$$ you should be doing all the work.” I didn’t hear back from him.

    A few weeks ago, he contacted me again and said, “I guess it’s time I make some effort and make this happen. I don’t care what you charge, but I need help.” We just finished his project and he wrote me back and said, “You know, I wish I would have done what you said a year ago. I have learned more from you in two weeks than from reading all the federal job books and online web sites and have wasted more time than your fee. I can’t wait to tell you I have an interview so I can schedule our interview coaching session.”

    Until our clients are motivated enough to make the effort, and investment in time and some money, they will never truly respect our value.

    Thanks for sharing this great post, Cindy!

    Camille Carboneau Roberts

    • Yay Camille! So the old adage you can teach an old dog new tricks really IS true! I think all of us in the careers industry have these kinds of war stories … some turn out well, others not so much. Thanks for reading and commenting!


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