The Tao of Pooh and The Jobhunt

Any of you read The Tao of Pooh ? It’s a slim little volume with a cute message: Eeyore grumbles, Piglet worries, Tigger rushes, Rabbit connives–but Pooh just is. These are animals in a set of children’s stories, if you haven’t encountered them before.

I believe the Tao of Pooh is very relevant to the jobhunt. Look at how the caricatures would each approach the problem of looking for work:

  • Eeyore the donkey would sulk about nobody paying attention to him
  • Piglet would worry he’d left something critical off his resume or cover letter
  • Tigger would send in a half-complete application package
  • Rabbit would overindulge in cerebral activity, and come up with some complicated (I was going to say hare-brained heh heh) scheme to force an encounter with an employer, laden with so much overkill his entire entire plan would crash and burn under its own weight
  • But Pooh would just Be.

What, then, can we deduce from this analogy? First, everything everybody but Pooh does simply wears them out. Not to mention accomplishes very little. Pooh, certain of his own value, would send in the best application package he could, and not spend much time worrying about it. He’d patiently enjoy the time passing as the opportunity revolved to him (and it would, much more swiftly than other animals would imagine). During the interview, he would be confident but not cocky, clear about what he wanted, and so at ease the employer would not be distracted by visions of what would go wrong if he hired the bear. Pooh would cheerfully fall into the job.

To be fair, Pooh bear is lazy. Yet when he’s motivated, he’s quite capable of strenuous activity to help his friends. But he doesn’t stress himself out. He goes into situations without getting all worked up about what they could mean, or what should happen.

Let me give you a real-world example.

Some of the best sales calls I’ve ever made were ones I “shouldn’t” have made. I “should” have known better–the prospect was too much higher on the totem pole than me; the number of people and resources they were in charge of dwarfed anything I had dealt with previously; they did not talk to cold-calling salesmen. In some cases I have actually check-mated myself out of making a call for awhile. I researched the prospect a bit too thoroughly. I became in awe.

Yet, thinking like Pooh, they’re just another person. By learning just enough to move ahead, and moving comfortably into a situation with confidence that we can deal with it, we can find calmness. The Tao of Pooh has a great deal to teach us in our approach to the problem of quickly finding meaningful work. If you’re finding yourself in need of the Tao of Pooh in your job search, drop me a line.

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