12 Most Compelling Reasons Why Job Search Is Like Backpacking
Putting a bunch of stuff on your back and venturing out into the wilderness actually makes sense as a great metaphor for embarking on a job search. If you’ve ever had this experience, you know that it’s all about being self-sufficient and having a willingness to brave the unknown, yet also being open to embrace some amazing experiences that aren’t necessarily easy to get to.
It’s all about the journey. Here are my 12 tips about how job searches are very similar to backpacking:
1. You need to have good gear
Good hiking boots and poles can do for you in backpacking what having a good wardrobe can do for you in a job search. The right (and appropriate) gear can set you off on the right path.
2. You need to think ahead about what you need
The devil is in the details, but truly — you need to thoughtfully plan out what you need in a job search.
3. You need to understand what is useful and what isn’t
Randomly throwing a bunch of junk in a pack doesn’t work any better than guessing on what it takes to launch a job search. Think through the process, then think about how you might get the best return on investment on the things that you do bring. Leave the junk at home — you don’t need it and it only weighs you down.
4. You need a good map
Your career destination is only as good as the map you use to get there. If you don’t have a clear idea of your direction, chances are that you’ll get lost and burn a lot of energy while you try to figure things out. Have a clear idea of what you want to do and map it out in advance. You’ll be glad you did.
5. You need to sustain your energy
Sure… a long, uphill slog isn’t something most of us look forward to, but remember that taking it step-by-step wins the race. Be in it for the long-haul — not by exerting short bursts of energy with an expectation of an immediate return.
6. You need to know what to do if you make a wrong turn
Life happens. Sometimes, we read the map wrong. Sometimes, the turns are deceiving. Whatever the issue is, sometimes we make a wrong turn. But knowing what to do when the error has been made is critical to surviving either a backpack adventure or a job search.
7. You need to rest once in awhile
Rest breaks can help us gather our thoughts, recharge our energy, and help us to relax and enjoy the view. Stop, take five, and consider how far you’ve come down the trail.
8. You need to take a moment to say “hi” to those you meet
It is easy enough to simply pass someone along the trail and merely nod heads in a fleeting greeting. But stopping and taking a minute to interact with them could reveal helpful information. They might provide insights on potential hazards ahead and give you a secret shortcut. Don’t ignore these opportunities.
9. You need to stake out your destination
Once you arrive at your destination, you need to stake it out. Otherwise, others might encroach or even try to swipe your spot from you. Be assertive by arriving first to set up your tent.
10. You need to be prepared for bad weather
Stormy weather can show up any time in the backcountry as well as in a job search. You need to be prepared to ride out the weather safely and stay dry. What measures are you taking to protect yourself?
11. You need to realize that only you can control the outcome
Unless you are trekking in Nepal and have someone else helping carry your gear, backpacking trips and job searches ultimately rest literally and figuratively on your own shoulders. You are the only one responsible for the outcome of whether you make the trip a success or not.
12. You need to light your own fire
When things get dark and dreary, a little fire can do wonders to lift the spirit. Do you have the tools to lift yourself out of the doldrums? That will be critical to keeping you moving along.
No matter whether you are a backpacker or a job searcher, these tips will help you stay on the right path to that which you desire! Which survival skills do you use?
Featured image courtesy of super-structure licensed via Creative Commons.