I Need 10,000 Hours to Master My Job Search – NOT!


Traveling by jet and reading the in-flight magazines brings new insights on fascinating topics.  A few years ago a Southwest Magazine cover story captured my attention. The headline story was about Dan McLaughlin and his experiment to become a professional golfer. At the age of 30, Dan quit his job to pursue a career as a professional golfer. The interesting twist was that he had never played golf before and was motivated by the thought of being a professional golfer.  Dan committed to 10,000 hours of dedicated practice to mastering the game. The 10,000-hour experiment was popularized by Malcolm Gladwell the author of Outliers. For more on Malcolm Gladwell and The 10,000 rule, click here.

“The 10,000-hours rule says that if you look at any kind of cognitively complex field, from playing chess to being a neurosurgeon, we see this incredibly consistent pattern that you cannot be good at that unless you practice for 10,000 hours, which is roughly ten years, if you think about four hours a day.” – Malcolm Gladwell

The article covered Dan’s story over a five-years period and his 5,700 hours of golf practice. His history of quitting the pursuits he started was a motivating factor for Dan. Even his family members felt like this was just the flavor of the day for Dan and he would quit the experiment before completion. His girlfriend told him that she would not continue her relationship with him because this was “just crazy”. His golf club sponsors had come and gone, and he was continuing his pursuit.  I was proud of him and glad he had some funds to pursue this goal even though his mastery of golf was taking him much longer than he expected.  Dan only had 4,300 hours to go and was blogging about the experience and hoping to write a book. Should have been an interesting read had he completed his quest to become a professional golfer.  Fast forward and you will find out that Dan quit shortly after the article was written.

The reason this article struck me so deeply is that it reminded me of employees that are released from their employers and the number of hours it takes to become a professional job searcher.  People do not have 10,000 hours to become experts in job search. Take the example of Dan who was into his 5th year of the experiment. He had hit within two strokes of par once and was golfing much better each year.  However, there were no invites to join the PGA Tour as a professional nor any prospects of this happening in the foreseeable future. He gave up before reaching his goal.

Keep in mind that job search takes a mindset choice.  An unemployed person does not have 10,000 hours to become a professional expert in job search and needs career transition assistance to reduce the hours for better and faster results. Grateful employees that are impacted are thankful for the outplacement programs offered to them as a benefit when they are released.

Employers that have reductions and offer assistance to their employees benefit in many ways.  Unemployment time is reduced for the impacted employees and keeps the cost down for the company. The liability risks are diminished and contributions to society are accelerated both for the employee going through the career transition process as well as engagement improvement for the survival employees.  Their exited employees are getting assistance from outplacement professionals in preparing them with resources and certified career coaches to not only land faster, but land in new careers that are a better fit for their skills and abilities.  These ex-employees are coached into the role of active contributors vs. idle consumers. Harvard Business Review September 2015 said that “Employees offered career transition assistance land 2.7 times faster.”

Employees of companies that experience a reduction in the workforce know that their employer has compassion for the impacted employees. Communicates into a great message for Glassdoor, a social media platform for future employees to research the culture of an employer.

Job search takes 10,000 hours to become an expert if Malcolm Gladwell’s theory is true.  With assistance, a truly professional firm providing career transition expertise and coaches with thousands of hours of career transition experience can cut the job seekers time for displaced workers.  Their company has invested in their future and impacted a whole community. It is a great honor to help these workers that do not have 10,000 hours to master the art of job search.

Career Development Partners is a member of Career Partners International and has locations across the globe to support impacted employees wherever they are located. We are all better together working for the displaced workers to land quicker and better prepared to use their skills again.

If you don’t have a great provider for career transition assistance, would you allow me to connect you with someone?

Travis Jones - CEO of Career Development Partners

Written By Travis Jones

Travis has been an entrepreneur and business owner in Tulsa for over 30 years. He is a well-known community servant and is dedicated to providing world-class service for everyone we encounter at Career Development Partners.

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