The importance of trying to create your own job opportunities.

job search lesson

This is a guest post by Ed Han. If you’d also like to guest post here on JobMob, follow these guest post guidelines.

There are many truths about job search

Some truths are uniquely personal while others are of broad applicability. It’s one of the latter I want to discuss today: why you should consider changing your profession to miller. And I suspect that by the time you’re done reading, you’ll be have a lot more sympathy for the notion than when you first began reading.

By way of explanation, I’d like to begin by talking about a friend.

My friend Donna Svei, an executive career coach, recently posted a blog entry about the importance of using shorter sentence structures—no more than 25 words in any sentence.

I was astounded to read the word limit: the only other time I ever encountered it was junior year of college. I could hear the professor’s words as he explained that New York Times headlines are 25 or fewer words.

This invocation of the Times recalled to my mind the writing style of Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway was a journalist before he became a writer and his distinctive, terse narrative style was a reflection of years of honing his craft.

But thinking back to my formal education also reminded me of my involvement with my college’s drama group.

Through the group, I learned a fundamental truth about acting: the actor should be the world’s greatest expert on their character and hence should never be at a loss about the character’s motivation in any given scene or situation. A while back, I blogged about how job seekers must be the world’s greatest expert on finding their own motivations.

The analogy was apt.

All is grist for the mill

As I reflected on the juxtaposition of these two events, I was struck by the expression “all is grist for the mill”.

According to Wikipedia, the expression derives from the fact that historically, a miller would grind whatever others might bring. In exchange for this service, the miller would take a portion of the resulting flour or meal. Therefore, no matter what kind of grain was brought for grinding, the miller was able to realize some kind of benefit.

And then it hit me: the realization that we really do create our own opportunities.

More times than I like to admit, I periodically will kick myself because I realize that not 5 minutes earlier, there was an opportunity before me. However, because I wasn’t thinking about it, the opportunity passed, never to return.

While I dislike a squandered opportunity as much as anyone in even the best of cases, the really difficult thing is that for a job seeker, those opportunities are less common than anyone would like. So job seekers need to be more cognizant and more open to recognizing opportunities.

The solution is simple though: job seekers need to become millers.

About the Author

Ed HanEd Han is a wordsmith with a passion for networking and helping job seekers optimally leverage opportunities. A recent convert to Twitter, Ed is now as active on Twitter as on LinkedIn and writes a monthly column for the PSG of Mercer County newsletter geared towards job seekers, Staying Focused. He blogs at ed muses upon.

This article is part of the 4th Annual JobMob Guest Blogging Contest, which was made possible thanks in large part to our Gold Sponsor, Jason Alba of JibberJobber. If you want Ed Han to win, share this article with your friends.

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Jacob Share

Job Search Expert, Professional Blogger, Creative Thinker, Community Builder with a sense of humor. I like to help people.

This Post Has 17 Comments

  1. Pingback: Why Job Seekers Need To Be Like Millers |

  2. Robert A. Burns, II

    Ed, another excellent post. I’m glad you had the opportunity to guest post. It’s not a traditional job per se, but still you taking your own advice; guest posting could also be considered taking the bull by the horns!

    In any case, your article is excellent quality, as always. And well thought-out. I was curious to see how you’d relate milling to the job search, and I can definitely see it.

    The advice regarding the 25 words or less is great too. You MUST write for your audience; if it’s too complex, or they must gasp for breath to read what should be a simple sentence… You’ve failed.

    Good job Ed!

  3. Ed Han

    JobsMyriad, I’m grateful for the pingback!

    Robert, thank you so much for your comment, it’s much appreciated! You make an excellent point re: guest posts, and I have to confess, it’s a lot of fun! And yes, if you do not write for your audience, it simply doesn’t matter, if I may paraphrase.

  4. Kimba Green

    You did not tell me that you wrote a post for the same contest! We need to be tweeting about it!

  5. Ed Han

    Thank you, Kimba, it’s been hectic the last couple days, so that’s precluded my talking about it lately. Thanks for reading!

  6. Sabrina Whitehead


    I’m glad to see another excellent blog post from you and to see you taking more opportunities to guest blog. I have long been a fan of your writing abilities, so it’s good to see you more frequently sharing them with a wider audience.

    Your advice about the 25 words encapsulates something I say to my Technical Writing students at the beginning of every semester and throughout the course of the semester–audience is everything, and you must write for them.

  7. Ed Han

    Sabrina, thank you so much for your kind words, it’s great to see you here!

    I cannot take credit for the 25 words: that idea was propounded by my friend Donna Svei (@AvidCareerist) and the New York Times: I am merely propagating the meme. But it’s gratifying that an instructor of Technical Writing shares that view!

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