Breaking Down the Job Request: A Lesson

“I really need a job please just help me.”

This is the exact message I received in a recent email. When I read it, it made me sad. Knowing the pain and struggle this person must have felt when they sent that message. I have felt that way before. If you have not, count yourself blessed.

Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and he drinks beer in a boat all day…  Wait, well, you know what I mean. This is where one may think I am insensitive. But sometime the best help we can give someone is to be honest with each other.


Let’s learn to fish…

“I” – Very descriptive about identifying who needs and who has responsibility

“really”- Descriptive, added emphasis, no doubt it is a sincere, felt, emotionally call

“need”- Not a want, nor desire, nor option, but a have to, must have, need

“a job”- Any job, anywhere, anytime, anything, any amount of hours, no matter what it is

“please”- A plea, an acknowledgement that it is not someone else’s responsibility. A request, asking, admitting one needs another

“just”- Only, nothing more, nothing less. Anything other than a job is not requested, asked for nor wanted or needed

“help”- Assistance, favor lighten the load, carry a portion, carry it all, lift up, hold hand, encourage

“me”- Bringing it back to the one who needs, the requester, the one in need

Here is the best advice I ever learned. “No one cares more about your career than you do.”

Here is the fishing lesson.

“No-one”- Nada, zip, no Mom, no Dad, no friend, no stranger, no CEO, no recruiter, no BFF…etc.

“cares”- Heart felt emotion, love, respect, coddles, cuddles, protects, feeds, maintains, hugs,…etc.

“more”- More…a larger amount, bigger, greater

“about”- what it is, of what, for

“your career”- A series of jobs,  your need, means of survival, source of money, fulfillment, provides for self and family needs and wants. Ever growing…

“than”- instead, additional load, rather

“you”- YOU, one in the mirror, no one else, with others, leader, responsible, accountable, mature, grown, proud

“do”- Action, achievement, act, walk, talk, win, acquire

An employer hires someone to meet their own need and those of their companies. Very few places exist where jobs are available for solely the benefits of an individual. While I understand the intent, we have to be honest and look at what skills, experience and talents we bring to an employer. It is my responsibility to identify an open position for which I am qualified. I must then demonstrate this in a resume or application in order to get an interview. At the interview, I must continue to demonstrate my skills, willingness and ability to learn and excel thru past performance, and presentation of myself as a quality future employee.  The more I practice this, the better I get at it. A job search IS a full time job.

There are many, many resources available to assist in your career search. Start here and “Be all you can be!” I know you can do it, now you must believe in yourself.

Some people say I have attitude – maybe I do… but I think you have to. You have to believe in yourself when no one else does – that makes you a winner right there.

Venus Williams

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About Darren Sherrard

In May 2008, Darren Sherrard was appointed as the Associate Director of Healthcare Recruitment and Marketing Office (HRM) at Veteran Health Administration (VHA) Workforce Management and Consulting office (WMC). As Associate Director, Mr. Sherrard oversees VHA’s national recruitment marketing campaigns inclusive of television commercials, print and online media, and recruitment marketing sites. He leads a diverse marketing team representing VA Careers Website, Facebook, Twitter and VHA Recruitment Events. Mr. Sherrard coordinates strategies, campaigns and effective approaches to effectively carry out HRM’s mission of “driving qualified candidates to” Prior to joining VHA, Darren was Chief Operating Officer of a Healthcare Staffing Firm which he modernized from a small regional company into a thriving national corporation. Darren served 20 years in the U.S. Army; 13 of which were spent in Recruiting. During that time, he was known for his ability to transform low performing organizations through training, motivation and ability to develop and provide needed recruitment tools. Darren is devoted to finding the best talent to provide the best care for our Nation’s Veterans.

7 Comments to “Breaking Down the Job Request: A Lesson”

  1. Annie says:

    Dear Mr. Sherrard,

    Not going to lie but this was kinda rude, definitely not kinda. What I see here is a big opportunity lost to further educate veterans. “do”- Action, achievement, act, walk, talk, win, acquire. well he did this by talking to you and someone decided to be a jerk about it. Oh well, hey jobless vets, just keep doing what you’re doing and according to Sherrard law, you’ll learn to fish!

  2. E. Carroll says:

    Possibly the most useless piece of advice I have seen this year. Even the link didn’t help me get one step closer to employment.

    The vast majority of people that read your article, did so with the hope of finding meaningful employment. Instead we got a dictionary/thesaurus of each word in a raw, desperate sentence…that clearly echoed the desperation that many are feeling.

    Your quickly-dwindling readership is screaming for actionable advice and assistance in finding a job. HELP!

  3. Kevin Smith says:

    Imagine a dysfunctional family. The unhappy head of the house comes home drunk and kicks the dog, slaps the kids and beats the wife. Likely the kids will become dysfunctional, and perhaps, unfortunately, perpetuate the cycle. Our government is the dysfunctional family, congress the “head” and we the people, the wife and kids. Our anger comes from the abuse by the head. And lacking a viable way of eliminating the “head”, we act out vs. each other. Change congress, problems eased.

  4. Louise says:

    S. Barry, I heartily concur.

  5. S. Barry says:

    I opened this blog post in the hope of finding information to help in my own job search. I am a veteran who has been out of the workforce for many years and is now trying to get back into it.

    Instead I found a poorly written, condescending piece that (I must assume) the author thinks will be the “a ha!” moment we have all been waiting for. My question is this – how do I get a job writing blog posts for the VA? I can at least spell, punctuate, and proof my work better than this guy.

    • Darren Sherrard says:

      Thanks S. Barry for the feedback. I can always count on Veterans to be honest with me. Hopefully, you can benefit from other posts in your job search. Good luck.

      • S. Barry says:

        I truly hope I can benefit from other posts as well. Snarkiness aside, I truly hoped there would be something in your post to help. It seems choosing to raise my children and be the stable person in the house throughout my spouse’s numerous deployments over the past 13 years is now working against me. Write an article on how to deal with that and I’ll share it with the world.