Bobby Petrino and your Job Search

January is an interesting time each year for a number of reasons.  January is the beginning of a new year and the ending of another.  It signifies the end of the college football season with the bowl games and the national championship game.  January also is the final segment of coaching changes in the college football calendar and some of the transactions at this time can be quite interesting.

This January has been particularly entertaining because of how certain individuals have “risen from the ashes” to return to roles they previously had held in the college football world.  One such individual is Bobby Petrino, the new head coach of the Louisville Cardinals.  Coach Petrino left Louisville several years ago and was at the University of Arkansas when he was involved in an unfortunate incident.  The incident itself was not the cause of his undoing, but the methods he used to avoid and misrepresent the incident caused him to lose his job at Arkansas.  Last year he spent a season coaching the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers and he is now back at Louisville in a pretty good role.

Many job seekers have a time or two in their past where they made a bad choice, got involved with the wrong group or just plain lied or misrepresented what they were doing in their work.  When this happens they may be able to avoid the consequences for a while, but they are eventually found out and punished.  Today’s post is about how to handle things when you are “found out” and how you can recover and discuss these types of issues in your job search and in the interview.

When you are “caught”, here are things you should do:

  • do not deny the truth; always be completely truthful and get the whole story out as soon as possible
  • take responsibility for what you have done and offer to help others who have made related poor choices
  • do what you can to help the company  get to the root of the issue; this may involve implicating others and that is acceptable as long as you take full responsibility for your actions
  • don’t beg for mercy; be ready for the consequences and understand that you may spend some time in the “wilderness” of the job world as a result of the incident

The odds are that you will lose your job.  If the situation is bad enough there may be criminal proceedings.  If you come clean early enough that may affect the company and their interest in using the court system.  Anything you can do to avoid the legal system is to your advantage.

Coach Petrino’s wilderness experience was his year in Bowling Green at WKU.  He took this job being fully aware that it was below his capability.  He did a good job while there and this ended up being a type of “penance” for his sins while at Arkansas.

You too may need to consider what you can do to make ends meet during these critical times.  You will probably end up in more of a sustenance role, something much less than your previous role.  At these times you will find out who your real friends are.  Many will shun you and avoid you, but your real friends will be readily available to help when times are tough.

Companies who consider hiring you will learn about the situation.  They will possibly overlook you completely, or they will certainly ask questions when and if an interview occurs.  Tell the truth and also add how you have learned from the unfortunate situations.  We learn much more from our failures than our successes.  Be ready to articulate how you have learned from this incident and also how it will benefit your next employer.

The true test of a man/woman is not whether he or she will fail.  The test is what they will do when they fail.  We all fail, always will, and the true measure of greatness is what we do when the times are bad.  We need to get back up and enter the race again.  The longest journey begins with a first step and your job search will be the same way, even after a great failure.

Those of us on the sidelines need to examine our conscience when we see others who are failing or who have failed.  Rather than shun them we should find ways to hold them accountable and then lend our best efforts to aid and assist them in their effort to grow.

Some of the greatest leaders in the Bible were those who had great faults or failures; David, Solomon, Peter and Paul are just a few who come to mind.

Life is a marathon, not a sprint.  Even if you stumble and fall along the way, there is always time to get back up and run the race.  Unlike the real marathon, there are many winners in life.  Just running is victory in itself.

Have a great day!