No one wins a game by playing defense. However, good defense gives offense the chance to do its job. Defense, therefore, provides the foundation for success.
Playing job search defense gives you enough time for your efforts to pay off. This means maintaining your cash flow by judiciously using your severance or taking project work to make ends meet while you continue to look. It means pacing yourself so you do something for your search every day rather than in periodic but unreliable bursts of inspiration. It means protecting yourself from the wear and tear of a long search by taking quality breaks to refresh and reflect, thereby avoiding burnout and keeping your perspective not to settle for less out of fear.
Playing career defense means building a solid foundation -- adding skills, increasing industry and functional expertise, and growing a nest egg. These steps support your offensive strategy: increased skills and expertise may lead to promotions or better jobs; increased savings give you the confident to take more risks.
Playing defense in your life means protecting what you already have, so that you can focus on your dreams. No one becomes rich from buying insurance, but medical, disability, and property insurance give peace of mind so you can concentrate on your game. Maintaining good health is good defense – an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Fostering good social relationships is a defensive strategy. You’re not trying to “win” anything from them. But you are building the support which begets the confidence and inspiration to go for your goals and succeed.
Caroline Ceniza-Levine is co-founder of SixFigureStart (www.sixfigurestart.com).