08/07/2014 09:38 am ET Updated Oct 07, 2014

She Got MY Job!

Why did she get the job? Why not me? Was it her resume? interview? Or is there something else?

There is something else. You never see it in the standard "how-to" books on getting a job. It's not part of career development or outplacement.

It's a moment.

Listen to the stories of why someone found work. Any kind of work.
And you will often hear them describing a moment. It's the moment when that person started thinking differently. That moment can be why SHE got job. Not you.

Start asking questions about that moment. Ask the person, 'What prompted you to think differently? What were you doing just then? What set you off on this new thought?'

The answer you get might seem totally bizarre. You might find yourself saying, "What do you mean, a MOVIE got you thinking differently? What movie? That's crazy! How can a MOVIE help you get a job?! You need NETWORKING or RESUMES to get jobs. Not movies, or stories or art, or walks in the park!"

But, if you brush aside those bizarre answers and go back to the typical job searcher practice of feeding applications or resumes to the internet like lambs to the slaughter, you could very easily miss your OWN MOMENT.

You could miss a prompt that causes you to stop and say, 'What if I went down this path and not the other?'

The prompts don't come wrapped in big red bows. They can seem "soft and squishy." You can't count them like you can count the 4,032 applications you've sent out with no reply. Often these prompts for thinking differently can seem very far from the horrendous frustration of a job search. But they can make the difference in finding work.

Here are 5 Stories of Prompts for thinking differently. All sent in from readers of Finding Work When There Are No Jobs. Could there be a prompt out there for you?

5 Prompts For Thinking Differently

1. "You're a sexual dynamo. Most guys couldn't handle you." It's a line from the movie 'Stripes' delivered by actor Bill Murray. Brian, 23, a reader from Santa Monica wrote that he and his girlfriend watch the movie on a regular basis. They love that line. One afternoon they were watching, laughing at that line, and the laughter led to a conversation on whether Brian might have a future in the military. Growing up in Santa Monica, the military presence was never far. Among family and friends, he was part of a military community. But Brian had never thought of it for himself. He was a technology guy, not a soldier. It was the movie got him thinking about a new path. The movie was the prompt. Now Brian is in a program specializing in cyber-security. Talking about the connection between the movie and the new work, he told me, 'Of COURSE the movie didn't GET me in the program. But it got me going.'

2. "You're a Healer." Melissa, 57 from Portland Ore. writes, "I've been picking up copywriting jobs since 2008. The story (from Finding Work When There Are No Jobs) where the writers are sitting around a table in a bar talking to the guy who has cancer, really struck a chord with the question at the end, 'Are you a healer?' I didn't know who anybody in the story was except for the movie critic Roger Ebert. But that story and the question, really hit home because I had never thought of myself as a healer before. I'm a medical tech writer, not a healer! But the more I thought about it, I came to think, 'Hey, I am a healer. Just a different kind. So, what else can I heal? I was volunteering at an environmental group that opposed fracking in the Northwest. I wrote a couple press releases for them, got to be part of the group. Then they got this grant and suddenly, I have full time work and benefits as the press contact and house writer! They knew I'd never dealt with media relations, but I was already in the group. I was, 'a fit.'

3. Bouncer Guy. Ralph, 37. Nashville, Tenn. That story about the security guy working the bars. The way everyone knew each other. It made me think of my younger days. I was a bouncer in a bunch of bars here in town. Crazy times! I hadn't thought of that in years. So one day after sending out about a million resumes and getting no answers, I went down by the university and started looking up friends who own some of these joints. They were all glad to see me, but their businesses were hurting too. Listening to these guys, they had no clue how to market or use social media. But that's what I do. Long story short, I'm now doing the marketing for 5 of these guys. We figured out a way we can make it work for all of us. We are not talking big money here. But it's enough for now. And who knows?

4. Loving the World Not for second did I EVER believe that someone could get a job just by being a caring person. That sounds ridiculous even now. But I read the story about the lady who helped raise her nephew and started thinking about the question at the end of the story. 'How can the fact that show you care lead you to work?, And it made me think that I had left caring totally out of the way I presented myself to the world. I'm a career public servant. A civil engineer for a small city in the southeast. It never occurred to me that I had any 'music'--like you say in the book--in showing people I care about my work. I thought it was all about the facts. When you are a public servant though, caring about what you do means everything! Stuart, 31, Savannah Georgia.

5. Making Someone THINK. Nathan, 29, from Berkeley, CA writes, "I read the story of the guy who got fired for making people think. It could have been about me! I've always had jobs. Keeping them is the tough part. But reading that story, I realized that the reason I had trouble staying with a job is that I make people think too! So now I'm looking for a place that LIKES that! I'll find my next job. But what's really exciting, is that now it will be the right job.

Is it time for YOUR Moment? Your prompt for thinking differently?