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Take Back Control

From a young age, our environment and society try to set guidelines for what we are supposed to do with our lives in order to achieve material and financial security. In more conservative circles, they teach that one has to go to college, get a degree, get good grades. With this, you can start from the bottom in the corporate pyramid hoping that over the years the efforts and experience will help you rise up in the ladder. We have to expect a standard salary increase and perhaps some benefits like medical insurance or an increase in our social security contribution.

Many people find themselves comfortable with this frame. They build their life around that annual gross salary, listen to the radio in the morning traffic jam and talk with their friends and family through social media and Whatsapp. They book their vacations during the 20 pre-set days and rigorously pay their mortgage. If the family can raise two salaries, they can even extend their mortgage with a beach or mountain house where they might take their children once or twice per year.

A job provides comfort in exchange for a pre-defined salary. In Spanish, they call it “puesto de trabajo”, puesto is the same word you use to”put” something for someone. Make him fit their skills and profile in a mold of work to make the machinery of the company work. One just has to worry about performing the tasks assigned to them and let the company worry about the rest.

It seems perfect, but what if one day the machinery stops working? One day society and the economy may need something different from the mission with which the company was created. New technologies appear making your work obsolete or the competition takes the customers of your company and they cut the unnecessary jobs to keep the business costs down, including yours.

At that moment you might say “I will just keep doing what they taught me, I have my degree, my experience and professional profile, so I will update my resume and start sending it to all the companies I can”, hoping to fit again in a similar mould.

But this moment never comes, weeks go by and all you get are low pay job offers, doing tasks that make you feel as if all the experience and time you’ve spent working as an employee has been a complete waste.

The time to regain control of your life has come, to leave behind the passive attitude waiting for someone to find you a place in society and the job market.

Stop blaming others for your situation

The first step to regain control of your life is to stop blaming others for the situation you are in, you can’t do anything to change your situation if you are not convinced that where you are depends on you and nobody else .

I’m talking about things like “The economy is very bad.” “My boss promised me a raise.” “Recruitment agencies are cutting staff.” “I’ve sent 100 resumes and nobody has called me yet.”

Guilt or blame as such will never bring you positive results, nor directed towards others, nor towards yourself. Assume and accept that you are solely responsible for the decisions you have made in your life and that you have done the best you knew with the information and resources at your disposal.

Well, now it is in your power to equip yourself with new information and new resources to guide your next steps.

Take an active stance

Sending curriculums is not an active stance, waiting for someone to see your profile realize how wonderful you are is not either. Decide what you want to achieve and get to work for it. Your goal is that marketing position in a multinational company? Find out what their products are, find out who is part of their current team, equip yourself with all the necessary information  to be able to proactively present something useful to that team.

Provide value

If you want to be part of a company’s staff, you have two options, find that company in an active selection process, basically the company is the one proactive in this case, their business is expanding, they have a model that works and generates value and they have done the necessary work to find out what profiles they need for the machinery to function, they are the ones looking for new additions. At this moment your resume reaches their table and your goal is to satisfy the greatest number of requirements that have already been defined by them, that is the value you have to provide.

The second and most effective option, especially in times of financial crisis is not waiting for an active selection process. Do you want to be part of a team? Find out what the company needs. Every business needs something even in hard times, specially in hard times. That may be new sales channels, or to improve the effectiveness of existing ones. Maybe they can optimize their financial costs. Do your homework, find out everything you can about the company in its public profiles, try to approach their current employees.

Once you have enough information, offer value. Do not look for work, if what you offer is useful for the company, the position offer will come, whether or not they have an open one or not.

Think different

Just because you’ve spent five years in a job does not mean it’s the only thing you can do in life to make money. In my blog you will find many examples and case studies on how to generate income without having a job. Take some time to explore your strengths and what you like, consult with your friends or your partner, you will be surprised to find out some things about yourself, qualities that can be very valuable to build a source of income alternative and unlike anything you have done so far.

In this case, you also need to keep in mind the previous point, only adding value will generate income.

Never give up

Failure does not exist as an option unless we consciously decide to surrender.

If you have taken responsibility for your situation and started working actively on your goals, success is only a matter of time. Keep that effort active and maintain a positive attitude. During that time, one of the most important things is to keep your material and mental resources, these resources are like troops that will accompany us to carry out what is necessary to achieve our goal and we have to take care of them all the way.

Have you found yourself in a situation in which you have gotten comfortable letting others decide on your life? What part of your life you feel you need to gain more control of?

Share your stories in the comments below.

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