The Dreaded L Word: Leads

No one plans to be in the position I am in now with the industry currently very un-boomy, but I still think there are some positives. I cannot recall the last time I had this much time to dedicate to me and whatever I wanted to do. These days, time is a luxury a lot of people wish for and dream off. So really, I should be thankful for all the time I have now. As with everything I have a couple of options on how to move forward with this. Do I use my time wisely or do I waste it?


I am doing my best to get back into full time work. However, with the state of things, the job seeking venture does have its more challenging days. I think we have all read and heard a lot of the doom and gloom stories relating to unemployment. I do not want this entry to fall into that same category. It is too easy to get dragged into the negativity hole and even if I do have my more challenging days, I make a conscious effort to use the time I have now wisely. Be it reconnecting with people I have lost touch with; volunteering, attending workshops and events to enhance my skill set and network; exploring a sanity check Plan B of sorts; reading and learning as much as I can.

It is very important that I do not squander the time I have been gifted with, especially since I do not plan on this chapter of my life to be a long one. I need to ensure I am still being productive whilst I plot and plan my way back in. However, balance is the key to life right? So, I have to admit, there are days where it’s definitely nice to just Netflix and chill.


During the productive days, I have been tapping into my skills and conducting industry research; looking at what organisations and roles I should be aiming for. I am also actively delving deeper into my motivations. I am so determined to get something out of this experience, to learn something, so I can look back on this not-so-delightful chapter fondly.

In the process of thinking about my motivations and what’s next career wise, I came up with the analogy of my current situation being like that of a Formula 1 driver. Before you scoff and close the page, just stick with me and remember we all deal with challenges in different ways. This is how I am coping with this curveball of mine. Okay so here goes. The way I think about it is I have the skills – I’m a quick learner, great at building relationships, I have operations and corporate experience, solid analytical and practical skills, and most importantly, I will step up to a challenge (and a whole lot more.) So in the F1 world I am like any of the drivers – I have the skills. I’ve worked my way through the training wheels, karting days and Formula Renault. I have done the study and the entry level roles, built my foundation. Now I am ready for the main stage!

Anyone who follows F1 or any sport for that matter knows that merely having skills isn’t enough. You can be highly skilled yet miss out on the highest accolades. I have the foundations to be a World Champion, possibly multiple times. But to get there, I need a damn good car and an excellent team. So far, I haven’t had the pleasure of having all the puzzle pieces at one time. I have had the pleasure of learning from some great bosses but all the puzzle pieces just hasn’t fall into place, yet. The resolve this time around is to locate all those elusive pieces in my next career move. I will welcome as many pole positions as I can get under my belt. The same goes for the fastest laps, podium finishes, and of course that spot on top of the dais. But in the long run, I am aiming for the ultimate prize – the World Champion!

Regardless of skill level, if the environment isn’t right then there isn’t much chance of great success. Without all the puzzle pieces, at the very best I will end up following in Mark Webber’s footsteps. Don’t get me wrong, he is a brilliant and well respected driver. He had a strong season a few years back but no championship. He had the skills, a decent car, a team of professionals but there was still something missing. He missed out on making the most out of several pole starts and there were other hurdles in his way. He was really close one year but never got the main prize. Yes, for those who just realised, I am a bit of an F1 nut.


Anyway, back on my delusional career analysis. It’s not very original but wouldn’t it be nice to be like be Aryton Senna. He wasn’t just a world champion, he inspired a whole nation! Brazilians still speak fondly of how they would watch his races and they still speak with great sadness about his untimely demise. Not just that, he had the rivalry going on which pushed him to his limits. Barring reaching Senna levels, I would settle for Kimi Raikkonen or Jenson Button. Two very different personalities but both world champions. Why not Michael Schumacher or Sebastian Vettel? Well, it got boring there after the first few times. I do not think I would enjoy that sort of dominance but we can revisit this when I get my first championship trophy. I reserve the right to change my mind on this one.


Now the biggest question is – what’s next for me? The sooner I have an answer for this the better! Because I am not an engineer, accountant, geologist, metallurgist, or any of those straightforward classifications, it is a bit harder to pigeon hole my skill set into a specific area of the business. I have recruitment and operations background, but my desire to gain more experience on the operations side of things makes it a bit more challenging to put me in a straightforward classification box. Unfortunately, due to the unforeseen speed bump there are some restrictions as to what I can do especially in the next 12 months. So a thorough reassessment and rerouting of my previous career master plan is the order of the day. Anyone who is shares my position and is currently looking for work knows that the opportunities that are available are fairly limited.


So I have implemented several approaches. Relying on Seek and other job boards can definitely break ones spirit. It is important in this market to not just passively job search but to actively reach out as well. I am actively researching to understand what roles I can do, which organisations I would fit in and do my best in. I am delving deep to understand where I could make the most difference. The more I understand this, the better I can pitch myself and land that exciting next role. It is fairly slim pickings for job seekers at the moment but that definitely doesn’t mean give up. I have an idea in my head as to where I want to end up next. Unfortunately, all this introspection and determination isn’t enough to land me my next career adventure. It isn’t just up to me as market forces need to align for the next opportunity to become a reality.


To maintain the balance and keep myself sane, I am also slowly working on Plan B. To keep me occupied when the passive job search and targeted research gets a little demoralising, I am exploring a little start up business of sorts. One I can juggle with my Plan A when I land that next awesome gig (which I know is just around the corner.) It would be very easy to fall into a career black hole at this point in time but as the inspiring speakers at the WIMWA Summit touched on, its times like this that make us tougher and more resilient.

With all the research, workshops and events recently, one of the most enduring lessons I came across is that part of being resilient is acknowledging and accepting vulnerabilities. In line with this lesson, I ask those in my network for tips or leads. I realise that for some, any sentence with leads or tips is as appealing as when a partner approaches you with the dreaded “we need to talk.”  Yes, I find that the L and T words can at times seem as bad as the F or C words.

Today it’s pressing the publish button for this post!

However, as part of this getting out of my comfort zone exercise, I am going to push it and will even use two dreaded L words in one go – Looking for Leads. Yes, I am asking those in my network for any leads for my next awesome career move.  Anyone out there who has some insights, can recommended courses, events, people I can approach and speak to, a potential role which aligns with my skill set, please let me know. I would thoroughly welcome the opportunity to pick someone’s brain so I can better plan my next steps. I do not expect anyone to hand me a contract for that next awesome role straight off the bat, but I would appreciate any leads as to what’s out there and not just what’s on Seek. Tips and words of wisdom are also very welcome. I love learning from everyone and will soak it all in like a sponge!