Hurricane Irene and the U.S. Congress offer terrific lessons for job seekers.

1. If you really want to get somewhere, be prepared to do whatever it takes…including rolling with the punches.

I wanted to get home from Nebraska where I was caring for my mom. The day I was scheduled to fly back was the Friday of Hurricane Irene’s landfall. Just before my flight was due to leave Denver, it was cancelled. Dang. Punch number one. I rolled with it.

Luckily my brother and his family are in Denver so I was able to hang with them for an unexpected bonus visit. Determined to get home in time for appointments on Tuesday, I scheduled a red-eye to Dulles Airport in DC on Sunday night, hoping a flight to Newark would depart as scheduled on Monday morning. I also scheduled an Amtrak ride just in case (and a SuperShuttle from Dulles to Union Station).

I left no stone unturned, covered all my bases – as a job seeker must, because you just don’t know where the opportunity will appear.

Around Saturday, my phone started to not work – no web service.  Uh oh. Another punch.

My flight took off as scheduled, and it looked like my flight to Newark would also take off – at least, I got a boarding pass for it.  Then my computer stopped working. Double uh oh. How could I check status?

I would do the best I could with the information I had, and go with my gut (as job seekers usually have to do).

Arriving bleary-eyed in Dulles, I traversed the ridiculously laid-out pathways only to find no flights were leaving for Newark until sometime in the afternoon. But I wanted to get home much sooner, so I could sleep and be ready for Tuesday. I was determined, by gum. So I sought out SuperShuttle at Gate 6 (very far away), they tracked down a van, and I got to Union Station in time to find out that my train was cancelled.  Uh oh. Another punch to roll with. Quick! Gather more information.

Then I learned that no trains were going further north than Philadelphia. If I ran, I could catch one RIGHT NOW! I ran and made it. I seized the opportunity that presented itself (as they often do in job searches).

Now I’m bleary-eyed and not thinking straight, because I’m so tired. (Did I mention how much I hate red-eyes?) I’m thinking “I can take the SEPTA to Trenton and NJ Transit to Newark, and then my sister will pick me up. No way will she pick me up in Philly.” And my computer doesn’t work nor does my phone, so I can’t check the viability of this plan. In my semi-delirium, I heard a man say on his phone “and I’m renting a car in Philadelphia.” Light bulb! I will rent a car.

You never know where a good idea will come from in your job search either, so keep your ears and eyes open for opportunity and help.

Good decision, for apparently the flooding throughout NJ meant NO trains at all were running north of Philadelphia. With my rental car, I got home by noon.

I did whatever it took to get home, and I made it. Could I have settled for leaving later from Dulles? Sure. But there was no guarantee I’d make it on any flight that day. I knew the more steps I took, the closer I’d be to my goal. So I did it. My very own Plane, Train and Automobile automobile adventure.

Job searches are often as haphazard and seemingly random. By keeping your goal in mind, you will align your actions so they get you closer and closer to your goal.  Just one step, one phase, one action at a time, and you’ll get there. I see it time and again in every job search.

2.  Never give in, never give up. Don’t compromise on your goal. Be a true believer.

Congress almost sank the US economy through its intransigence. The Republicans in particular demonstrated their willingness to go to the wall.  They refused to give in. So President Obama had to.

I have nothing to say here about the relative merit of either position; my only comment is about the strategies they employed.

Because the Republicans didn’t compromise, they achieved their goal.

If you don’t compromise on your goal to get a job, you will achieve it.

A client of mine just got a job offer that she accepted. She and I set an intention that she’d have a job by Labor Day. And she did.

I coached her to focus on what she wanted, to learn all she could about the job, and to be positive positive positive about the job until she had all the information she needed to make a decision. Her goal was to get the offer. Then she could weigh pros and cons. The more she learned, the more she wanted the job. The more enthusiastic she was, the more they liked her. Her attitude and determination helped her sell herself.

If you weigh pros and cons during the process, it comes across as ambivalence. Be a true believer like those Republican Representatives, and you will be more likely to achieve your goal of landing a job you want.