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So, you didn't win the lottery. Now what?

career career advice Jan 16, 2023
lottery ticket with money

Want an in-depth discussion of this topic? Check out my latest podcast episode of “Tattooed Freaks in Business Suits:”


I admit it. Over the few days leading up to the record-setting $1.5 billion Mega Millions jackpot, I wasted FAR too much time dreaming about what I would do with the lottery money. I even included plenty of charitable plans – after all, if I show goodness in my heart, the Lottery Gods will surely smile upon me, right?

 Alas, it didn’t work. I am not the latest entry on the Forbes list of billionaires.

 But there’s always next week!

 OR – I could get my head out of the clouds and redouble my efforts on the things I can control, like my marketing plans, sales outreach, recruitment, employee development, and program development. Sure, it’s not as fun as planning to buy a mansion, but the results are much more concrete.


Getting back to reality

For anyone wanting to move their career forward, it’s important to determine what you can and cannot control. Like the lottery, your employer may make selections that impact your life without consulting you. Whether this is teeing you up for promotion or planning a layoff, you should always be ready for change.


What we can control:

In terms of career development, we can always control:

  • Our professional development by investing in classes, online courses, or even formal education.
  • Our marketing materials, including well-written resumes, LinkedIn profiles, and cover letters.
  • Our outreach efforts, such as contacting our existing network or reaching out to new people.
  • Our research, both in terms of watching the markets and identifying target employers.


What we cannot control:

While we can’t control everything in our career, we can reduce our anguish by not getting angry, resentful, or scared of the things that are out of our hands:

  • Automated, random ball pickers that grant billions to lottery winners.
  • Company layoffs.
  • Changing economic conditions based on exterior forces.

We empower our career plans by recognizing these challenges and then concentrating on the strategies we CAN control.


Track your progress:

A huge mistake that job seekers make is not writing down their actions. If you can track it, you can control it. Along those lines, the key to successful sales is not the initial contact but follow-up efforts. And in many ways, the job search is a sales process.

 So, what are we tracking?

  • How many hours per week are devoted to the job search.
  • Leads on new jobs, whether posted positions, hidden job market, or from your network.
  • Applications submitted.
  • Time spent modifying your resume – the goal is 30-45 minutes per job.
  • Follow-up dates for applications, interviews, and network outreach.
  • How many people you contact each week.
  • Research about key companies.
  • Recommendations requested, received, and given.

 Remember, the metrics you track are the ones you can control. And that is a much safer bet than buying a lottery ticket.


Our Down & Dirty Job Search program covers all these tactics – and much, much more! Check out the details here:


Want to see how your job search stacks up?

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