Photo by youssef naddam on Unsplash

My predicament

I was once in a terrible situation. I left my old job because I did not like the environment that I was in and realized that I needed to seek out new opportunities, expand my horizons and explore what is out there. I was previously myopic in my world-view and only focussed my attention on a few things that I thought, mattered the most. My job, being the highest-ranked on that list. After two weeks of sitting at home, catching up on my favourite TV shows and experimenting in the kitchen with different recipes that I always wanted to try, I found that I was isolating myself from the outside world. Although it was a nice feeling because finally there was nobody to disturb my inner peace, I found that there was something that was lacking in my life.

After a month or so without a job, I was getting bored and began to start thinking about what I was going to do next. I knew I had to start all over again. Search job sites for suitable positions, do research on the organisations and companies that I wanted to apply to and draft out my resume and cover letters. All of this I dreaded doing but deep down I knew that it had to be done.

“Action is the foundational key to success.”

-Pablo Picasso

I got a number of replies from a few companies and went for some interviews. Despite the fact that interviewers were impressed with my resume and performance during the interview, I did not feel comfortable. None of the positions I interviewed for could provide me with a sufficient amount of social stimulation and the opportunity to express myself the way I wanted to. Really, they all just wanted me to be a, “yes” man which frankly, limits creativity and prevents one from reaching his/her full potential. 

I knew that I had to think of alternative ways to earn a living. I did what any millennial would do. I opened up my laptop and started scouring through social media sites for any opportunities that I can make use off. Having studied Law as an undergraduate, I had a penchant for writing. I was also a competitive varsity athlete. I began to reach out to a number of sports websites and offered to contribute articles on a monthly basis. I was not expecting any reply from them but to my surprise, the editor of two websites got back to me and agreed to have me on board their respective teams. I was ecstatic. I began writing for these two websites. Out of the 10 articles that I submitted to them, six got published. I told myself that that is not too bad for the first try.

Snowball effect

After that small success, I began to reach out to bigger, more established websites and publications. I would attach the links to my previously published work and hope that they would reply. Some did, and some did not but I was still much better off than when I first started from scratch after leaving my old job. I call it the “snowball effect.” The process that starts from an initial state of small significance but it builds upon itself over time as you put in more effort.

This process has taught me the importance of reaching out and connecting. The “snowball effect” can only work if you do it. If you just sit on your problems and expect something to miraculously happen, let me assure you that nothing is going to happen. You will be stuck in a rut forever. But if you make the effort to connect, communicate and reach out to like-minded people who share the same vision as you, your chances of succeeding are much higher and the likelihood of the odds being in your favour as time goes by will increase.

There are 3 takeaways from this experience that I want to share with you.

Be self-aware

Know yourself, know what you like and know what you are good at. This will develop over time so be patient and keep experimenting.

Be courageous

Don’t be shy. Be bold and brave. Reach out to whoever you think can help you achieve what you want. Never stop reaching out and connecting.

Deliver quality

Do good work. After you have reached out and connected, always aim to deliver quality work. Never do slip short work because it will affect your ability to connect with more people in the future and it will cripple the “snowball effect.”