When Working Harder Isn’t Working

When Working Harder Isn’t Working

Have you ever worn yourself out with a course of action that simply didn’t produce the results you intended? Job seekers and working people alike are urged to work harder at achieving their goals, when working smarter is actually what they are really looking for.

Behavioral economists used New York cab drivers as a case study for the benefits of altering work habits, and thus working smarter to accommodate changing business conditions in an article at Forbes.com called: Recession survival smarts call for taking it easy.  A recent article on Mashable.com, Are You Working Harder, or Working Smarter?, concluded that, not surprisingly, long hours do not always equal greater productivity and that working excessive hours can actually diminish productivity and quality.

The key points here are: If you adjust your work habits to take advantage of the higher likelihood of people and events aligning in your favor, you can save energy for when it is really needed.

Maladaptive strategies like simply working harder will sap your energy way too quickly. Take a step back and a broader view of the actions available to you, and evaluate which ones are more likely to produce better results. For example, if participating in job fairs feels more like a cattle call, consider attending industry specific seminars and mixers to meet a highly focused group of people to learn about hidden job opportunities.

Don’t obsess about which exact company might be the best to work for. You can’t control the ever-changing landscape at a company; managers come and go, and department strategies shift. Your priority is to pursue what you see yourself doing that can reflect who you are and what you want to bring to your work. If you focus on finding fulfilling work, based on a foundation of self-knowledge, you will be the one guiding your own career development and direction. It will become clear which position and company are the right fit for you.

Working smarter for job seekers means applying today’s best job searching practices and setting the right priorities based on payoffs.  When you work smarter, productivity and results will naturally follow.

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