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Yesterday I went out jogging with my neighbor.  He’s a good kid – 17, from a good home, works at Dairy Queen.  As we jogged, we talked. He was telling me about how he’s been looking for a new job for months, but there’s nothing out there.  He had put some resumes out, but didn’t have a response yet, and was dejected.  I decided to challenge him with the following scenario question.

“John, suppose you work at a burger joint as an employee.  You come to work and find a line of customers outside, but the power is out, so the cash register doesn’t work.  What would you do?”  He answered ” Not much… I’d probably wait around for the owner.”

Next, I changed the scenario – “what if you were the owner of the burger joint?  What would you do then?”  He thought for a while, then he said “I’d probably get out a calculator and start taking orders.  I’d probably run out and get a grill and start cooking burgers on it.”

Then I asked him “what if your job hunt was just like this?”  Big difference in perspective!

Here are some signs of an employee mentality:

  1. an employee has “rights” (something someone else owes him just because he has the job).
  2. an employee does the least amount necessary to do his/her job.
  3. an employee is concerned with the success of the business only to the extent that it effects him/her.
  4. an employee focuses on busyness, not results.

There is a sort of comfort living in the employee mentality.   There is (seeming) security in the monthly paycheck.  If things don’t go well, you can always blame it on someone else without much difficulty – the boss, a co-worker, a company policy, etc.  Most of all, you can keep dreaming that you can do a better job than your boss or build a better company if you wanted to – it’s easy to dream and judge from the bleachers.  But this attitude didn’t get me very far in life!

The bad news is that it is not easy to make a shift from an employee attitude to an owner mentality.  The good news is that it gets results, and that feels really, really good!

So what does this have to do with getting work in the claims industry?  Everything!  Taking an ownership attitude toward the results in your adjusting career means taking an ownership role in getting into the claims business.  This definitely means getting the training you need, but also means going out there and making it happen regarding getting claims work.  Sending out a few resumes and waiting is not ownership!  Once you are trained and licensed, it’s time to think outside the box and set yourself apart from the crowd.  It’s time to let yourself shine and use creativity to do it.

For example, I once wanted a job at the trendiest juice bar in Seattle, where I was living at the time.  I knew the competition was intense for a position at this joint.  I decided to skip the traditional resume, because I knew I’d be just another in a huge stack.  Instead, I took a whole day cutting up magazines and photographs to make a collage – of me, serving juice in a jungle of fruit!  I got called the very next day with a job offer (I’m not joking).

Another example – just yesterday I was talking to a past student.  He was already working on his employment strategy (do you have one?) before he finished his Xactimate training.  He was contacting potential employers from class.  He targeted a number of companies that he wanted to work for and decided that he wanted to offer to do his first 10 claims for free.  If they didn’t like his work, no harm done – they could give the claims to another adjuster.  If they did, they could pay him for those claims and give him more on top of that.  It worked!  When I talked to him yesterday, he was calling me from his office – he’s CAT manager for a national independent adjusting company.

I’m not saying to make a collage or offer free claims or make your resume in finger paint or any particular strategy.  I’m just suggesting that there are ways you might not have even thought of to “make it happen” in your life.

A good friend of mine once said to me when I was complaining about my problems “If you get lost in a forest, what are you going to do?  Curl up in the fetal position, suck your thumb and wait to die?  Or are you going to get up – even though you are hungry, tired and lost – and get to work saving your own life?  This seemed brutal, but I got his point.  Many times I feel like curling up and sucking my thumb, but instead find ways to get up and find my way out of the forest.

So – are you “owning” your employment strategy?  Are you thinking outside of the box, finding ways to show all the ways you can make unique and valuable contributions to a potential employer?  Don’t be just another resume in a stack – go out and make it happen!

One last thing – a little secret for you (shhhhh…).  If you even took the time to read beyond the first few lines of this blog post, you’re ahead of the game and you are on the right track!  I know this for a fact – most folks don’t even entertain by these kind of notions.  So much of success is based on how you see yourself.  See yourself as an owner, see yourself with the adjusting position you want, and the steps to get there will make themselves clear.

Go for it!

– Adam

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