When We Fail . . .

Failure. No one likes to do it. We are encouraged to not be afraid to fail, and I concur with that. I’m not talking about stumbling if you’re trying to stretch, take a risk or be creative. In fact, tons have been written and shared about the power of learning from failure which is spot on. This was different because it was a personal failure.

For years, I’ve had a heart for helping others who are in transition between jobs. This came to mind when a peer asked me why the HR Roundtable I facilitate didn’t have resumes displayed to help out others. It was convicting and made me mindful of how easy it is to overlook those who don’t have a job when you do. It’s far too easy.

We should be grateful for the jobs we have and reach out to help others at the same time. As I mentioned, I do this on a regular basis. Last week, I failed.

I made a commitment to help someone and connect with them to help network, review their resume and see if I knew some avenues that could open doors to help them land. We shared a few initial emails and then life got in the way. That’s not an excuse. It’s reality. I experienced several significant personal challenges at work and at home within a short period of time. I understand that each one of us has “life” going on, but my focus slipped and my good intentions turned into forgetfulness.

When this person reached back out to me, they were hurt – as they should be. I wasn’t accountable for the help I said I would give. I apologized and shared that I didn’t have an excuse. I mentioned the challenges I had been going through which caused me to forget. He wished me the best in those circumstances but told me to stop helping him. I was crushed. Still am.

If you haven’t been in transition, you don’t empathize. It’s hard to put into words the ups and downs you experience. You can feel great optimism and overwhelming dread within the same day. You yearn for assistance from others and hope that someone will be the connector that lands you in your next role. The challenge in this rollercoaster of emotions is that all you want to do is land. Once you do, you unfortunately fall into the same comfort level as every other employed person. You’re safe. You soon forget what it was like to be in transition.

That’s why this is so raw for me. I’ve been in transition. I strive to be a resource for others. And yet, I am still human. I will fail others. I hope that when I do fail that I’ll get some grace to try and correct the situation. That won’t always occur, but I’m not discouraged.

In contrast, another situation happened this past week. A friend of mine actually landed after an extensive search. I was fortunate to be one of many who reached out to talk to her and encourage her. Please note, we’ve never met in person only through social media. She’s in the Seattle, Washington area while I’m in Greater Cincinnati, Ohio. She was appropriately geeked to share her good news and I can’t wait to see how she will continue to grow and thrive now that she’s landed. I also know she is going to share her journey to help others which will be wonderful to follow.

Both stories are examples of the gamut job seekers face. I encourage you to be someone who steps in and lends a hand. Even if you stumble in your efforts, it’s worth it. We all fail. We also move forward.

One thought on “When We Fail . . .”

  1. Great points, Steve. We ARE human. And the best we can do is own our frailties/missteps and do better. Perhaps another element in all of this is the expectation that someone else will solve our problems is unreasonable, and believing WE can be that solution may be unrealistic. We can be part of a solution and help, but we can’t be expected to be THE answer.

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