Sparking Creativity: How and Why to Change Up Your Job Search

As the job market continues to diversify, the process of finding a job has somehow remained inexplicably stagnant and ubiquitous. In other words, applying for a job at a bank requires most of the same steps as applying for a job at a coffee shop. It seems that no matter where you apply, there are always résumés, cover letters, references, portfolios, online surveys, applicant forms blah blah blah… it never ends!

The reason that this is so frustrating is that no two jobs are exactly alike. So, there’s no reason that the process of applying to ALL jobs is more or less identical. That’s why JobGet has revolutionized hiring in the service industry by removing those annoying steps. We recognized that all the paperwork and, well, busywork that went into applying for jobs was frankly unnecessary.

Sure, some jobs do actually need several pages of information about their applicants, but… most don’t. Most employers are just looking for a reliable and hard-working body to fill an open role. They don’t need to know where you went to school or what sports you played, they just need to see that you have the skills needed to do a job competently and efficiently. That’s it.

All that being said, the job market’s refusal to adapt to the times is somewhat understandable. We, humans, are a highly habitual species. Applying for jobs in seconds on your smartphone is new and confusing for some people. It’s a substantial departure from tradition. We get that.

Habits and rituals offer us a sense of stability and sure-footedness in our otherwise unpredictable lives. Some of these routines are relatively harmless. Some of them are actually quite healthy (dental hygiene and bathing, for example). However, the issue with habits is not with their individual merit, it’s with their long-term effect on our ability to adapt and grow.

To say that “repetition is the death of creativity” may be a bit dramatic. But, it’s true that repetition can have the potential to make us complacent. Doing the same thing over and over impedes our ability to think critically and creatively. Even the smallest, most seemingly insignificant of daily habits becomes like muscle memory after a while if you’re not careful.

Sometimes it’s necessary to abandon an existing behavioral pattern in order to grow and evolve as a human being. There could be a better way of doing something that you’re simply not seeing because of your unwitting reliance on a particular routine. Part of thinking critically and consciously is practicing alertness and deliberation in your actions.

Like most city-dwelling college students, I spend a lot of time listening to podcasts (speaking of lazy habits). And I recently came across the perfect illustration of this value of breaking away from certain routines while listening to an interview on NPR. Guy Raz, host of How I Built This and the TED Radio Hour, was interviewing an economist named Tim Harford. Their conversation revolved around a TED Talk that Harford had given about the effects of chaos in catalyzing creative breakthroughs. The basic gist of Harford’s talk was that sometimes a sudden disruption in our daily routines can spark a creative epiphany that leads to a constructive breakthrough.

Here’s an excerpt from the interview with Tim Harford:

"A few years ago, the London Underground suffered a partial shutdown because there was a strike. It was a labor dispute. And the shutdown lasted two days. So for those two days, everybody who was used to commuting around London probably had to find a different way to get to work.

And so three economists got hold of the dataset and looked at what people had done. And they found that a very large number of people commuted to work exactly the same way every day. And then during the strike, they changed. They found a different way. And then a substantial minority of them never changed back. So they realized — because of a 48-hour shutdown, they realized they had been doing it wrong their entire lives. And it was only when the disruption comes in and says — no, you can’t do it your normal way; you have to find a new way — tens of thousands of people went, wow, actually, the new way is better." (Tim Harford, via NPR.org)

The commuters of London — those who changed their commuting routes permanently — realized that there was a better way to get to work and all that they had to do was break away from their existing route long enough to see that truth.

By this same principle, if every person in Boston in need of employment were forced to use JobGet, many of them might find that they prefer it to traditional job searching methods. They might even realize that using their phone to find a job is, in fact, superior to using computers and résumés. All it would take is a brief break away from their habitual routine to realize that there is another way of doing things.

When Tim Harford says that "chaos sparks creativity" he’s essentially saying that if you get out of your comfort zone, you open yourself up to the possibility of change. If you’re a person who doesn’t normally look for jobs on your smartphone, just try it! That’s all it takes. There’s no way to know if something is right for you unless you give it a shot.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy your day!