In the latest issue of Utne Reader, founder Eric Utne speculates on how we are affected by the stories we tell. He notes that from the 1930s through the 1960s, our national story telling focused on success and hope, even in hard times like the Depression and World War II. Now, our stories (including video games) are “chaotic, post apocalyptic scenarios in which the human condition is, in the words of Thomas Hobbes, ‘solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.’” Utne suggests we need to find a way to tell stories that will let us rebuild what is broken.
Too often, job seekers fall into the trap of telling themselves the wrong kind of story. Everything we hear in the media is negative: high unemployment rates, wage cuts, layoffs, jobs sent to other countries, and technology making people irrelevant. It’s easy to fall into despair.
The alternative is to rewrite the script. Where do you want to be? How can you get there? Don’t focus on what’s wrong. Think about your goal and how you will achieve it. The next step is to turn the story into a plan and follow that plan with dedication. Will the path be easy? No, it never is. Anything worth having takes work, struggle, patience, and faith. Those are the core elements of the story you need to tell, the story of a career (and life) in which you are in control.