December 17, 2008

Learn to Auction Yourself...

In one of those rare moments when I actually get a few moments to myself, I happened upon a story on the news about public storage units being auctioned off once payments get grossly past due. People store all of their personal belongings in these often small, tasteless and austere units. Some of these items are auctioner made off with thousands of dollars in gold and diamond jewelry at an the more sentimental, such as family heirlooms and old children's toys and clothing. All of these items are released to the highest bidder during the auction and the auctioner can walk away feeling like a winner or, in some cases, a loser, depending on what was received in the bid.

This got me to thinking about real life and, of course, work. Now, how can I possibly relate an auction to your career, you muse?? Well, simple. In your career, especially during times of high economic stability, we would often find ourselves the lucky victims of multiple job offers..."Yes, Virginia...they really did exist." During these almost phantasmagorical times, you would send out your well-written and concise resume, receive and submit to multiple calls for interviews and, in the end, if you had played your cards right, received multiple job offers. When this happened, you probably just sold yourself to the highest bidder...much like in an auction.

While the economy may have tanked and there are more people looking for jobs than there are jobs availabe, there is still a chance to auction yourself off to the highest bidder, if you are willing to recategorize what "highest bidder" means and also willing to seek out some divergent types of auctions.

What do I mean by this?

Well, in today's economy, not only do you have to find ways to make yourself stand out in the crowd, you also have to sometimes reinvent yourself and redefine your goals and expectations. Yes, you've been a corporate trainer for 10 years, but training has still not reach the ranks of profit-center yet, despite all of the talks of strategic partnerships and "gaining a seat at the table". Instead, corporate training and development is still considered a cost center...yet that is a post for another day. I say this to say that if you really want to jump back on the saddle and get back to work, then you may have to depart slightly from what you are used to and find a way to use your knowledge, skills, and abilities in an industry that is hiring...say a high school career that you not only gain effective yet diverse skills but you also stay current and fresh in the market.

To that end, there is still a chance to sell yourself to the highest bidder, as long as you are willing to change what you consider a bid. It may no longer be a six-figure income and a corner office, but instead look more like more time off and not having to wear a suit everyday, or the simple joys of getting off of work in time to beat the rush of traffic from those lucky corner office folk that still pile onto the expressway at 5pm. Maybe your idea of a high bid is more like extra time with the kids (or the two dogs and three cats that share your space) and the ability to give back to the community.

Whatever it is, remember there are still opportunities to sell yourself to the highest bidder if you know where to look...

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