Remember the Jimmy Webb song from the late 1960's called "MacArthur Park?" The enigmatic lyric says, "Someone left the cake out in the rain. I don't think that I can take it 'cause it took so long to bake it, and I'll never have that recipe again. Oh no!"
Some (especially Boomers who lived through the Flower Power times) love that song. Many (especially the generations that came after) hate it for it's soaring but baffling poetry.
So what was Webb trying to say? Though this may be an oversimplification, the cake is a relationship that went sour. And the recipe is the mysterious set of ingredients that produced the relationship in the first place.
What is the connection for Job Hunters? If you are looking for work, that elusive job is the cake you are after. And the recipe is the process you are following to find that cake, er I mean job.
What got this meditation started was a coffee meet-up the other morning at the Barnes & Noble bookstore on the Rutgers campus in New Brunswick.
We were talking about how challenging it is these days to find work, even when you have all the necessary ingredients, such as a resume, a business card, a cover letter, a list of target companies, a network, a LinkedIn profile, etc.
Then my friend Ken said something brilliant: "Having all the right ingredients is not enough. You have to know how to combine them correctly. It's like making a pie or a cake. In order to make a delicious cake, you need a specific process to follow. The right steps in the right order. You need practice and feedback. And you need an accountability structure to help support you."
And it probably wouldn't hurt to have a mentor as well. Someone who has had plenty of practice baking mouth-watering cakes.
Terrence H. Seamon is an organization development consultant who provides leadership and team development services to employers in New Jersey. His book Lead the Way explores the challenges of leadership. Additionally, Terry is a job search and career coach whose book To Your Success provides a motivational guide for anyone in transition. An alumnus of PSG, Terry co-founded and co-moderates the St. Matthias Employment Ministry in Somerset, NJ. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and via his website: http://about.me/terrenceseamon