Do you have a Scooby-Doo career?Sep 05, 2023
While networking is a great way to find a job, you might end up with a career that “just happens” if you aren’t careful.
The Scooby-Doo career
Remember the old hallway gag from Scooby Doo? You know, where the gang is running from the ghost (or zombie, monster, real estate developer, whatever…) and dash into one door in a long hallway – only to quickly dash out, run into another door, then whip around and zoom into yet another door…
Yes, there is a lot of activity, but it’s not strategic.
Some people treat their careers the same way. For example, they land their first job thanks to a recommendation from someone in their network. Without thinking about it, they eagerly accepted it. Then, a few years later, another friend suggested a different job in a new industry. Zoom! There they go, dashing across the hallway for the next opportunity. A few more years pass, and yet another contact suggests a job at their company…
So, what’s the problem?
We often consult with people with a career that “just happened,” much like the Scooby Gang. After several years, these frustrated professionals ran back and forth through the proverbial hallway. Suddenly, they realize that they don’t even like their job, the company, or their entire career path. Because these job seekers only grabbed the opportunities as they presented themselves, they never reflected on what they wanted from a job.
Plus, the long-term impact of running back and forth in the hallway can be devastating for their careers. The Scooby Gang’s work history is a patchwork of different roles and industries that may not create a cohesive story when they try to interview for another job.
Worst of all, they are probably underpaid in their position. Why? The Scooby Gang rarely researched comparable salaries to gain perspective on their market value. Instead, they accepted the first offer at face value, relieved that they didn’t have to conduct a strenuous job search.
No more doors
At some point, the network will probably dry up. Friends and past colleagues don’t produce the same quality leads as before. This is especially true around the 10-year mark.
Companies frequently look for specialists or candidates with deep knowledge in their given industry once someone reaches a mid-career level or above.
The Scooby Gang doesn’t possess the same level of intimate understanding as someone who has devoted their career to gaining the hands-on comprehension inherent in long-term, progressive roles with the same employer or industry.
Sometimes, it DOES work
Some jobs are better adapted to the Scooby-Doo approach than others. For example, high-producing salespeople can usually make the same magic happen for different companies, products, and industries. Administrative staff members, HR professionals, and accountants all carry universal skill sets valued in multiple industries.
In fact, some industries themselves are the ultimate hallway gigs. Creative people in the arts, entertainment fields, and graphic design frequently practice the eternal job search based on the project-driven nature of their work. Even project-based software developers, copywriters, and business consultants always look for the next door in the hallway.
Time to stop running
If you are sick of dashing back and forth in the hallway, it is time to reveal the monster for what it is: a bad strategy. While networking is extremely valuable in any job search, it should not be the only source – especially if your contacts are in various industries.
Instead, STRATEGIC networking within a targeted industry can produce better results. It can be intimidating to reach out to people and managers that you don’t know yet; however, it is one of the best ways to open new doors that lead to one cohesive, solid career path.
Not sure how to implement a strategic networking plan? Contact us for a complimentary consultation to discover more about our coaching programs, including the comprehensive Down & Dirty Job Search program.
Wondering how effective your job search is? Schedule a complimentary 30-minute consultation with one of our career coaches, Donna Shannon or Dia Kline