By Mary Ann Faremouth, CPC
The other day I was driving and listening to the radio when a commercial came on about a famous play currently being staged in my area, “Wicked,” based on “The Wizard of Oz.” I smiled thinking I wanted to see this play. Then my thoughts veered to how “wicked” the job market has become for many candidates and employers in these transitory times, when the needs and desires of both are evolving. The ad also took me back to my trip of a few years ago when I visited San Antonio. I walked down the River Walk and actually bumped into someone dressed up like the Tin Man from “The Wizard of Oz.” Unbeknownst to me, that weekend there was a convention of famous movie characters. I believed back then that I ran into that character for a reason. And now, I am thinking about the lessons the Tin Man can teach us for the New Work World.
It’s interesting how a famous movie can bring to mind metaphors and allegorical stories that relate to a current event or situation. What came to mind back when I came face to face with this interesting costumed person was how the Tin Man’s desire for a heart notably contrasted with the Scarecrow’s desire for a brain, reflecting a common debate over the relative importance of the mind and emotion.
In modern times or days of old, the stories and metaphors come alive and are easily adapted to the experience of human discovery. We are born with gifts, hide them (or have them hidden from us) as children, and spend much of our adult years seeking, uncovering, and rediscovering them. Are we to find that hidden place “somewhere over the rainbow,” or are we to stay where we are and look within ourselves for the answers?
Sometimes we need a tornado like Dorothy experienced in “The Wizard of Oz” to shake us up and force us to go to a place we’ve never been. With the challenges of the past few years, perhaps you experienced a metaphorical twister, such as a downsizing or restructuring. You felt abandoned, angry, isolated, and confused. You didn’t know how to find your own “Yellow Brick Road” that would lead you to the Wizard inside of yourself to help you get back home. Home for you could mean that safe place where you felt you had support and direction.
Abraham Maslow in his Hierarchy of Needs talks about self-actualization, when we finally reach the top of the pyramid. I think we strive our whole life to self-actualize, but only striving and life experiences allow us to get there. A safe, easy job doesn’t advance anyone. So stop agonizing over what went wrong, the job that didn’t work out, or the challenges you’ve encountered. How many successful inventors and entrepreneurs never encountered hardship or challenges? Not one. If you’ve read any successful person’s autobiography, you will find that his failures far outnumbered successes they may have had. Just as Dorothy learns she always had the power to go home, we all can learn we have the power to become our best selves, in our careers and beyond. If we align with our heart’s desire and work hard, we can get home to who we really are.
The Tin Man’s desire to “have a heart” just might offer important insights for all of us going forward in the New Work World. His powerful lessons of expressing how you feel, having compassion, and others will follow, etc., might be well worth considering during these transitory times. It has been said that:
“Our heart is that place inside us that defines who we are, what we believe, how we decide and which direction we take others. It is where wisdom is birthed and the ability to enjoy life begins. Our heart is where our deepest passions reside and most meaningful dreams originate. Our best performance tends to flow from the heart.”
— Authentic Leadership Inc.
Connect Work to a Mission
The journey to Oz to meet the Wizard was a journey to meet a person of influence and direction. What is your personal mission during these transitory times? Is it to make the most of the job you currently have? Is it to find new employment that will be helpful in moving forward after pandemic challenges? Are you volunteering with any groups or associations to demonstrate your interest in helping others?
Insist on Work/Life Balance
Although our mission might be to find new employment or expand our current role, taking time for self-care and grooming is imperative. Are you taking care of your positive attitude? Are you getting the proper exercise and nutrition to stay healthy and positive to present yourself in the best possible way? Many employers I’ve assisted talk about how impressed they are with people interviewing who have a positive work/life-balance attitude.
Maintaining a Positive Mental Attitude
What are you doing to stay positive? My clients have repeatedly talked about being impressed with candidates I present that are making a concerted effort to stay positive and help others during these tough times. A gal I just placed told a client about how she was involved in an online organization that assisted folks with training in a much-in-demand software program that allowed them to enhance their skills. The client told me she thought the candidate would bring this team-spirited attitude into the workplace and made her a solid offer.
Don’t be afraid to risk. Don’t be afraid to try. You are an amazing creation and you have so much inside of you that wants to get out. If you are feeling stuck, you owe it to yourself to go on a new journey. The Tin Man and his powerful lessons of “having a heart” might be instrumental to you in going on your own new journey.
“There’s no place like home,” Dorothy said. Home for you could be coming home to who you really are. It’s a wonderful place to be. And we can all get there if we follow our own Yellow Brick Road, with all its twists and turns. The journey truly doesn’t have to be “Wicked” and will be worth it. Look what it did for Dorothy.
Mary Ann Faremouth
Mary Ann holds a CPC (Certified Personnel Consultant) credential, was certified by the Board of Regents of the National Association of Personnel Consultants in Washington, D.C., and was awarded an Advanced Communicator Bronze, Advanced Leader Bronze Awards by Toastmasters. She cofounded Jobs: Houston magazine in 1997. Mary Ann maintains affiliations with professional organizations, including oil and gas, financial, construction, IT, and structural, mechanical, and civil engineering. (www.faremouth.com)
Mary Ann’s award-winning first book Revolutionary Recruiting has been listed by Book Authority as Number #1 Best 100 Recruiting Books; #1 Best Seller, Non-Fiction, Amazon (2019); Top 20 Recruiting books, Recruitics; Readers’ Choice finalist (2019), Houston Literary Awards; Best Non-Fiction (2018), Best Cover (2019), and Best Self-Help (2018), Authors Marketing Guild. Her books support individuals and corporations, tap into each candidate’s unrealized potential to find the right person for each job, maximizing both employee satisfaction and the employer’s bottom line. Mary Ann showcases her expertise of the recruiting world on a monthly podcast for The Price of Business and weekly articles for USA Business. Her new workbook, Revolutionary Reinvention, was recently released on Amazon. Mary Ann lives in Houston, Texas.