THE BLOG
03/11/2014 10:56 am ET | Updated May 11, 2014

Passionate Job Search

How do you get passionate about ANY part of job search?

Getting panicked is easy. Depressed, confused, or angry comes naturally. Especially when words like "passion" get tossed into the conversation by experts clamoring for you to buy their 10 Easy Steps To Passion!

The way people find work is a broken system with countless moving parts, creaking and moaning and stomping on souls, leaving hard working people dazed and wondering, 'What just happened?'

So it's hard to find passion in a broken system. And the notion that there is a recipe, a series of steps that anyone could pick up and use to find passion in the job search, in the same way you'd use a recipe to whip up a Denver omelet, only makes it worse. Because everyone's search, just like every one's passion, is different. There IS no one right recipe. No matter how many followers on Twitter, how slick the web site or Facebook page or how alluring the cover of the book. There is no one right recipe.

What does exist though, and what I hear back from readers of Finding Work When there Are No Jobs, in increasing numbers each week, are real stories of people using the principles in the book to make passionate moments of their own become real. These unique moments don't come from a 'Passion Handbook.' They come when a person makes a principle their own.

What does that mean? It means breathing life into an idea. In your very own way. It's like walking into a dark room and flicking on a light. The light is the principle. It does not tell you want to do. It helps you see.

Then, prompted by stories of the principle in action, or prompted by anything that gets you thinking differently-- maybe a song, a walk down the street or a conversation with an old friend--you turn thinking about the search into doing something different. And almost without warning, comes the moment of passion. Even BEFORE someone says to you: "You're hired."

Listen to how Samantha came to say "passion" and mean it.

Samantha's Story

She just had her first job interview in almost 30 years. And she flat out nailed it. She simply could not have been more impressive. Sam is in the grocery business. She's been in it since she was a teenager. What she knows about the grocery business goes deeper and wider than any silly corporate rule about customer service, or any closing or control procedure. And as the interview at the job fair started turning into more of a conversation than an interview because of the way Sam told her story, the interviewers started to realize that this woman stood apart from the hundreds lined up for the jobs in the new chain of stores expanding into a large metropolitan market.

Sam, the interviews actually began to see, could literally sense the rhythm of a store, just by walking in the door. She could feel the harmony if a store staff is working together, singing the same song. The second principle in Finding Work, 'Adding Music' resonated instantly with her. Spend your life in a business you come to love and of course you can feel the music of the business.

A business school grad, or even a corporate exec might look at the principle of 'Adding Music' and say, 'Huh?' or 'Too soft. Show me numbers!' But Sam was aware, on a very gut level, of the difference between the scorecard and the game. She knew the usually unspoken ways a store was more than its numbers.

And that's where the interviewers picked up on the incredibly great "fit" Sam would be in their stores. Her mastery of the scorecard, the numbers, was the easy part. Because she had the years that made it the easy part.

Where she stepped out from the crowd was in knowing what happened between the lines of numbers. The "music" of the operation. The stuff you only see if you really know where to look.

In fact, she had the rhythm and feel of the grocery business down so well that the conversation, as it went on, turned more and more towards Sam's questions about the operation. The kinds of questions that only a seasoned pro would know to ask. In fact, as she started asking more and more questions, the front line interviewers had to go get the VP of Operations to answer Sam's questions. Before long, any thoughts of job interviews were long gone. There were only two people, both long time residents of a common community--the grocery business--talking about their community. A second principle was now in play. Sam and the VP were "communitizing."

Sam is as street smart tough as they come. Nothing gets by her. And she would be the last person on earth to let fuzzy management clichés like "find your passion," guide anything she did. So when she talked about the stories in the 'Adding Music' section, her voice showed a trace of wonder, or a slight surprise. That kind of surprise when you realize something about yourself that's always been there. But you never thought about it all that much. Never said it out loud, till she told her sister on the phone that night, "I really do have a passion for the grocery business."

Passion in job search. It's rare. Sometimes flashes by in a second.

But when you start making principles like 'adding music' your own, it can happen.