My grandparents taught me many lessons throughout my life. Isn’t it funny how you’re reminded of things like this? Nana and Granddad lived in a small town in the Texas Panhandle. The town was Shamrock, TX, which is along the old Route 66 and home to the tallest water tower in the state. Ever since Route 66 was basically made obsolete by Interstate 40, communities like Shamrock have gone the way of the ghost town. I still have great memories of that little town. Puckett’s Grocery, Mahnken’s Drug Store, Mitchell’s Diner and Hasty’s (hamburger joint) were frequented by my grandparents who were know well throughout the town.
The grandchildren got to ride into town with Nana or Granddad from time to time to visit the coffee shop or see a movie. I remember seeing Return of the Jedi in the theatre with my oldest cousin, Aren. For some reason, I also recall the memory of the candy that I bought: Nerds. The packaging was an enlarged figure of the Nerds mascot (bright green) with the delicious candy inside. I used my $1 that Granddad had given me to make the purchase.
My Granddad gave each grandkid $1 as we left to go home. We didn’t get the chance to visit too much because my family has always lived about 300 miles from Shamrock. So, when we got Granddad’s dollar, we used it wisely. Okay, sometimes we used it for ice cream. Sometimes, we saved a few of those dollars and used them for something better, like a dart gun or Super Ball. We were kids – it didn’t take much.
I started this post with a personal story to make a point. It’s more about quality than it is about quantity. For me, the experiences and interactions were about quality. I wouldn’t remember them today if they weren’t. Quality also meant that my dart gun didn’t break after the first shot. I invested in quality (getting 3 darts) vs. quantity (cheaper gun, more darts.) Ask my sisters how that worked out.
How does this relate to you and the job search? Quality vs. Quantity:
Point #1: Don’t overextend yourself. You can’t be awesome at everything. Find the things that you do well and learn how to do them better. Focus on just a few things and master them before moving on to the next challenge.
Point #2: Know when to step back or step away. This relates to the first point. You can’t be on every committee, task force or volunteer squad. Choose what makes the most sense for you. People will understand if you decline their invitation. Here’s a tip: Rather than just turning down the offer, suggest an alternative contact to keep things moving. They’ll respect your time and appreciate the thought.
Point #3: Choose strategy. How does this align with your strategic objectives? If it doesn’t align, then you might reconsider why you’re doing what you’re doing. Keep your strategy simple so you can easily figure out if there’s alignment or not.
There are many memories and experiences like the ones I mentioned earlier, so I guess that means it’s both quality and quantity for me. I may not have all the marbles I bought with Granddad’s dollars, but I do have fantastic recollection of the times we had together, from learning how to drive a tractor in the pasture to going to the coffee shop (for a Coke) to counting cattle every night, yelling as loud as we could from the pickup window.
Quality always wins in my book. You can do 10 things moderately well or you can master one thing. What will you choose?