Blustery Winds and Cold Days as Career Motivators

Probably the most popular small talk topic is the weather. Even though we have much to lament about including the pandemic and polarizing politics, these topics can be controversial. The weather usually isn’t.

Sometimes a weather conversation can be observational – “Wow, it’s cold today!” – or predictive – “I think we are getting snow on Friday.” Your decisions that day – to take a long walk, rake the leaves, or put up some outside holiday décor – might be in the balance because of the forecast. But even if bad weather, you should still get outside. Being outside is very important right now.

Like the weather, there are disruptions and distractions when looking for work. Sometimes it’s easy to find an excuse not to do something that you should be doing. “I should be working on my resume, but I’m not in the mood.” Or, “I know I should send an email to this person asking for an informational interview, but it’s Friday afternoon, so she probably won’t read it.” It’s easy to put off to tomorrow, what you should be doing today.

But you need to push through right now. The fact that it’s cold outside should not cause you to not take that all important walk or rake those leaves. It just means that you must dress better. Don’t let a bit of bad weather, inhibit you from doing what you know deep down you should be doing.

The same goes for looking for work. Hesitancy by rationalizing an easy way of getting out of something related to career work needs to be overcome.

Even though I know it’s raining, I also know that once my walk is completed, I will feel better than when I started. Since I calculate steps when I walk, I will see something tangible to point to that I have accomplished (including expending some calories).

When you are stuck, taking a break can be helpful, but if you view a break as an easy way of putting something off, it is not good. Push through. Set yourself a goal, or maybe reward yourself when you are done. Maybe treat yourself to a latte when the task is completed. I recommend setting daily or weekly goals in your career strategy. Maybe you seek two informational interviews per week or spend 30 minutes a day looking online for work. Is this any different than a goal of 10,000 steps – rain or shine?

Don’t let bad weather stop you from getting outside. And the same with working on your career.

—David J. Smith

David J. Smith (Fulbright Scholar, Estonia 2003-2004) is a career coach and the author of Peace Jobs: A Student’s Guide to Starting a Career Working for Peace (Information Age Publishing 2016). He is on the career advisory board of the Peace and Collaborative Development Network. David writes regularly on career issues at He can reached at

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