U.S. President Barack Obama

Five things job seekers can learn from the U.S. Government shutdown

Kevin Makra|

It is impossible to turn on any news channel in recent days without being bombarded with events from the recent U.S. government shutdown. Regardless of whether you are on the Democrat, Republican, or ‘I don’t care’ side of the argument, we can all agree that the situation unfolding in Washington is absurd. The showdown that is happening south of the border has highlighted some important life lessons that we could all learn – job seekers included!

Here are five lessons we can take away from the U.S. Government shutdown:

    Government Has Enormous Power – We are all well aware of how government policy and regulation can affect industry and the economy. The situation south of the border highlights how fragile and uncertain government can be. For job seekers, learning the types of government regulation that exists within your industry can be extremely important.

    Compromise Is Important – Compromise is the cornerstone of negotiating. In recent years, compromise seems to be a dirty word in Washington. Wouldn’t it be nice to always get what we want? Absolutely! Life is about give and take – ask any married couple! In the job search, compromise plays a large role. Not every job will have everything you want. Be realistic in your expectations and understand that every job is a stepping stone to other things.

    Be Forthright – Whenever I see politicians on television being interviewed about the U.S. Government shutdown they seem to never answer the questions asked of them. They make their rounds on the media circuit and blame the other side for all the ills of the country. It is no wonder that public opinion of politicians is at such a low. As a job seeker, always be forthright. In a job interview, an employer appreciates a candidate who is candid and honest in their answers.

    Life is Sometimes Not Fair – The fact that politicians in the House and the Senate are still getting paid, while more than an estimated 800,000 federal workers have been furloughed (put on unpaid temporary leave) is obscene to many. Life is not always fair. Many job seekers may already know this all too well. Sometimes the job doesn’t always go to the best candidate. Rise above these challenges!

    Play Nice – This may be the most important life lesson. When I was little, I remember my grandmother telling me to ‘Play Nice’ before I went in the sandbox. These two simple words could go far in Washington. Politicians need to take a deep breath and do what’s right. ‘Play Nice’ is a valuable lesson for job seekers as well. Always be courteous and professional with everyone you meet. Treat others how you would want to be treated.

It appears there is no end in sight for the U.S. Government shutdown, and in the coming days the government must pass legislation to raise the debt-ceiling to not default on its outstanding loans. If nothing has come from this political showdown, at least we can be reminded of some important lessons we can apply to all areas of our lives, including the job search. (And that we’re lucky to live in Canada where our politicians always negotiate with the best interest of their constituents in mind and come to practical solutions that work for everyone…. Well, okay. I can dream.) Stay tuned!


Kevin Makra is the President of Sentor Media Inc., and founder of DirectoryOfCareers.ca. He can be reached at kmakra@sentormedia.com.


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  • Amadeu Alexandre

    Congratulations for the post very well said

    Thanks