What a famous German cartoon can teach jobseekers

What a famous German cartoon can teach jobseekers
A depiction of the Loriot's cartoon, on display in Brandenburg. Photo: DPA
German career coach Chris Pyak explains why job seekers in the Bundesrepublik should pay attention to a particular cartoon if they're having trouble finding work.

“I’m sitting”

This one is known and beloved by many Germans. We see a man, sitting in an armchair. Classical music is playing, but he himself is quiet. In the background we notice his wife through the open kitchen door – running back and forth, always busy.

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She asks: “Hermann – what are you doing there?”

“Nothing”, he replies.

“Nothing? Why nothing?”

“I’m doing nothing.”

Now the wife is curious. She looks out of the kitchen:

“Nothing at all?”

“No”.

“Nothing whatsoever?”

“No. I am sitting here.”

That’s the beginning of one of the funniest cartoons by the late German comedian Loriot. The wife continues to constantly offer Hermann stuff to do, activities to engage in – while he just wants to sit in his armchair. He just wants to be.

When it comes to job hunt many people feel like Hermann’s wife. They feel the urge to be constantly busy – no matter if their activity has any actual impact or not. Sending application serves mainly as a relief system for their nervous energy. Because they are full of fear.

I understand that.

Who wouldn’t get nervous after sending 50, 100, 200 applications without even getting an interview?

At the same time, when you send 50, 100, 200 applications without getting interviews: Can we agree that sending applications doesn’t work?

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So, I invite you to sit. Just sit.

Calm down. And when you are calm: Ask yourself which of your actions actually got you results.

How did you get your last job?

From all the things you did to find that job – which one had the biggest impact?

Who helped you to get this job?

Whom do you know that could help you now to get one step closer to your next job?

And most important:

What do you need to learn, so that you don’t run around like a chicken – but act with purpose and impact?

I learned this the hard way. When I started my company, I spent over 50,000 on Facebook ads. Years later analysis showed that I never got a single client through this advertisement.

All my clients came to me because of google searches, personal recommendations, articles in famous newspapers or my podcast.

So, last year I stopped advertising at all.

One of the results is that I need way less clients to make a living. That’s why I take clients on only twice per year. I am now sold out till September

Less effort, more focus – big impact.

The German economy is changing due to Covid. Companies realize for the first time: We do need people who are different – not copies of what we are ourselves.

The number of German companies who advertise jobs in English has quadrupled – from one to four percent!

This is a huge opportunity. Don’t waste it, by blindly repeating over and over what has not worked for you.

You need to do stuff differently. You need to start with deep thinking.

“So, when your partner asks you “What are you doing?” – You better answer:

“I’m sitting.”

About Chris Pyak

Chris Pyak is the Author of “How To Win Jobs & Influence Germans“. The managing director of Immigrant Spirit GmbH has worked in four different cultures and lived in five different countries.

Chris returned to Germany in 2011. His mission: Bring the Immigrant Spirit to his home country. Chris introduces international professionals to employers in Germany.

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