Mind and spirit overcoming fear,
Leading to productive activity,
Moving closer to meaningful work.

Howard Figler in his book The Complete Job Search Handbook writes about the limits of science and reason in job search success. Zen is a school of Buddhism promoting enlightenment (deeper understanding) through direct experience and insight, not through knowledge.

Howard applies it to job seeking as a way to use your imagination in new and creative ways. Begin with the understanding that you cannot control all the factors in job seeking. Employer decisions are unfortunately often made with no consideration of your talent. Unfair but reality.

Howard encourages you to look for opportunities to interact with people in places which may not seem obvious in their connection to employment. Maybe it’s an old friend–or enemy; or relative in some obscure business. Maybe it’s someone on a train or bus that you bump into and there’s chemistry. Sometimes it’s just a feeling.

Possibly you’re in an interview and it seems like the rehearsed answer doesn’t seem right. Instead, you decide to talk about an accomplishment tangentially connected to the job but it becomes an idea that the employer really values.

Perhaps there’s a time in a meeting when you decide on the spur of the moment to bring something out to demonstrate a new or unique idea. That’s Zen. Maybe you walk past a building and a sign speaks to work you’ve done or knowledge you have. You walk in and ask to speak with the owner. Good things may happen from these Zen like occurrences. It doesn’t have to be deeply mysterious. It can be nothing more or less than looking beyond the obvious–and following the guidance that comes from within.


Dig deep into your imagination and come up with 2 new people who are not in your field or career but with whom have a good relationship. Offer to buy them coffee and discuss your work ideas. Think of someone you respect but don’t know at church, temple or at your health club–make a commitment to introduce yourself to them.

Thomas Bachhuber, Ed.D., President of the Board and Executive DirectorThomas Bachhuber, Ed.D.
President of the Board and Executive Director for The Center for Life Transitions. Tom is responsible for overall Center leadership and strategy. His individual coaching/counseling as well as workshops and retreats focus on integrating leading career development ideas with spiritual exploration. Read more.