When Only the Harvest Matters

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“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.”

- Robert Louis Stevenson


I don’t know about this.

What happened to having a results orientation?  The focus on outcomes?  Return on investment?

What about the so what? as in — “Yes, that’s great work, but so what?”

*     *     *     *     *

I am “in transition.”

I know a lot of people that are “in transition.”  I’ll bet you know a few too; “in transition” is the currently-in-vogue euphemism for “looking for a job.”

And the objective of the in-transitioner is unambiguous — to get a job.

Which is why I currently can’t quite get behind that lead quote;  Mr. Stevenson would rather me judge my job search days by measuring my activity working toward that end?

Nice thought, but I don’t think so.

I get that to be able to harvest, we need to sow.  I am appreciating more each day the role networking plays in landing that job.  Mr. Stevenson seems to be urging me to pay attention to the work that needs to be done.  Okay, fine.

But it’s that “judge” word that hijacks all that positive sentiment.

*     *     *     *     *

“How’s the job search going” is a very common question I’m receiving nowadays.  People want to know, because they care, and they want to help.

And when the current status of the job search is that I am still conducting a job search, well … enough said, no?

Now please don’t get me wrong, I am in no way demonizing family, friends, and others for asking the question.  Heck; I ask the question of my fellow in-transitioners all the time!

And, inevitably, in true Stevenson-esque fashion, the in-transitioner answer naturally involves talking about the seeds that were planted.  A coffee meet up here, a networking group meeting there, and a reach out to a friend to call a friend to get a name to seek a coffee …

There are plenty of seeds being sown!  The job search is going well!

And it is by that measure that people favorably judge my days.   “You are doing all the right things” is another common refrain I’m hearing a lot …

That’s Stevenson’s judgment.  By the seeds that you plant.

But it’s not mine.

Now, again, don’t misunderstand; the validation and affirmation is good!  It is kind … it is comforting … it is even psychologically sustaining.

But me and my fellow in-transitioners hold fast to the only success metric that matters.

“How’s the job search going?”

“It’s not.  I start at ABC Inc. this coming Monday.”

Now that will be satisfying …

For those of us in transition, only the harvest matters.

The reaping of just one of those many sown seeds; i.e. a job.

And then, and only then, will I be able to judge my days by the seeds that I planted …

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