1. Sometimes you need a flotation device
Like using a flotation device to aid buoyancy, accepting help from a career development practitioner, such as a job coach or career counsellor, can help you to identify which parts of your job search and/or career development need working on.
Whether this is strengthening an existing style or developing a new technique, by slowing down and accepting help from experts in different areas (job coaches/counsellors, resume writers, interview trainers etc), you can learn about unique aspects of yourself and your career development needs one by one. This will ultimately help you to develop a stronger career stroke in the long term.
2. Only ever race yourself
Yes, I’ll admit I’ve done it – frantically tried to keep pace with the better / faster / more athletic swimmer next to me, only to start spluttering one and a half laps in. I’ve also seen others do it – the flat-out grandstander who upon proving the point that they’re the fastest in the pool ends up in struggle town two laps in.
But the issue with trying to compete with others or trying to show off to the seemingly slower endurance swimmers, never benefits anyone, least of all you. If you focus on how good/fast/fit/strong everyone else is (or is pretending to be) or fake it for short-term admiration or attention, you either never improve because you’re so focused on short-term appearances, or end up risking injury by overreaching or overexerting yourself.
Instead, focus on what is happening with you in your lane (your career), with your stroke (your personal style), and your personal best (your career goals) right now. That way, you can continuously and safely improve in a way that is authentic to you.
3. It’s nice to have a lane buddy
If you’re on the introverted side or just have an agentic style of operating, it may seem much easier to hit the pool by yourself and go through the same ol’ routine time after time, rather than engage a swimming mate. However, whilst this may work well motivation-wise in the short term, sometimes (especially in the winter!) your motivation will inevitably lag as you follow the same regime day after day.
Whether it’s job seeking, applying for a promotion, or going through a Stygian career crisis, the great thing about occasionally (or frequently – depending on what works best for you) engaging a lane buddy is that whilst you will both have days where you can’t be bothered, you have much better odds of at least one of you picking up the phone and saying ‘hey, let’s just do it’. Moreover, if you can find someone else going through a similar experience, it’s cathartic to be able to share a lane as you work towards change together. Having a lane buddy will help you to teach and learn from each other and to share some laughs along the way!