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Michelangelo vs. Edison

“Sometimes when I am inventing the light bulb, I find myself wishing I were painting the Sistine Chapel ceiling.”

I recently read a blog post on that perfectly describes the infuriating endeavors that inevitably follow a frustrating job search. You perfect your resume, apply for jobs and network with everyone within a twenty mile radius-yet the phone still doesn’t ring. You put in a huge amount of effort with nothing to show for it. Take a seat, if you aren’t already, and let me tell you a story about two of the most well-known artists in history: Michelangelo and Thomas Edison.

It’s no secret that the Sistine Chapel was not made over night; after all, everyone knows you can’t rush beauty! Therefore, Michelangelo diligently worked on his jaw-dropping masterpiece from 1508 to 1512. Luckily for Michelangelo, at the end of his work day, he could look up and see his growing masterpiece. If his boss, Pope Francis II, decided to drop by the office, he simply had to look up to see a few more square feet of progress. He would say: “Good work. I like the angel there- very New Testament! Keep up the work.”

Now, consider Thomas Edison and his remarkable work on the light bulb. Edison couldn’t simply Google search which material would work best nor could he always look at his desk at the end of the day and show obvious proof of progress. Though his experiments offered clues to what may work, his progress was often unpredictable. Imagine Edison’s boss dropping by the office. “It’s been three months and you still have nothing better than the awful skunk hair? Get back to work!”

Though we strive to have all of our work resemble that of Michelangelo, it’s almost a certainty in life that some of our work will be Edison work- especially when job searching. During these times, it’s important to not let yourself fall into discouragement or self-doubt. Recognize, as Edison did, that a job search will require effort that won’t be directly rewarded, but that “every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward.” Though the slow progress may not feel as pleasing as a tangible result, keep in mind that each step is all part of the tapestry of your goal. Who knows, you might just reinvent the light bulb.

This article was written by Lauren Hughes, Marketing Intern for Express Employment Professionals in Greenwood