Dominic just wouldn’t take no for an answer. We were at a neighbor’s party and there was a “no kids allowed” in the hot tub rule – adults only. All of the other kids accepted this rule and although they whined a bit, quickly found something else to do, but not Dominic. He sat on the step of the hot tub and over the course of 15 minutes, asked his mother a gazillion times if he could come in. It was like some type of brainwashing persistence technique! Finally, against our advice, she gave in. Dominic sat proudly in the warm hot tub among the adults while the other kids ran around the house playing tag. He was 10.
The best thing you can do if you know what you want but still can’t seem to get it is to practice professional persistence. We see kids like Dominic practicing this technique all the time in the grocery store, the playground and in school. They keep asking until they get what they want. I’m not condoning “giving in” to this behavior, especially if you are the parent, however, we can adopt the principles behind their excessive nagging with a bit of a twist.
Professional persistence means to respectfully and consistently, over time, make known that you want something. It sends a message that you are serious, committed and willing to do what it takes to get what you want. After 5 years in acute care, I wanted a job as a homecare nurse. A local company had 75 applicants for 1 position however, without homecare experience, I knew my chances were slim. I didn’t get that job but made the decision to keep trying. I called once every 2 weeks to inquire if any new positions opened. Each call gave me the opportunity to chat with the administrative assistant and after several months, we built a relationship. She began to put my application on the owner’s desk with a note saying that I called. Finally, the owner contacted me about another position and I got the job. She told me that although I had no experience in homecare, it was my professional persistence that got me the job. Apparently it was clear to her that I really, really wanted to be a homecare nurse. I stayed in that company for 5 years and loved every minute of it!
If you find yourself as a new nurse who still can’t get a job or seasoned nurse trying to advance your career but find roadblocks along the way, learn from Dominic by following these steps:
1. Make a decision
This is the most important step but often the most ignored. Whether it’s a new job, promotion, or career alternative, decide what you want to accomplish. Make sure you know what you really want, especially if you are going to devote so much time and effort to getting it.
2. Make an action plan
Once you know what you want, make a plan for how you are going to communicate your intent. For example, if you are still looking for your first job as a new nurse, make a list of all the organizations hiring new nurses, obtain the contact information for HR or nursing department, apply and then follow-up with a phone call or email at regular intervals (2 weeks, 3 weeks, etc). Make the plan and then follow it.
3. Be professional in every communication
There is a fine line between professional persistence and being a nag. This is why you have to be reasonable regarding how often to follow-up (no sooner than every 2 weeks depending on the situation), and you have to maintain the highest level of professionalism. Start each communication with a greeting, a closing and always be sure to include gratitude for their time. For example, you can end an email with “Thank you for your time and consideration” sincerely, <insert your name>.
Just like Dominic in the hot tub, it is the consistency over time that generates the biggest rewards! Be persistent. Be professional. Don’t give up!
I hope these tips help.
Take care and stay connected
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