The Job Hunt

Overcoming Autopilot

Isaac Morehouse
January 2020

It’s great to not have to think about things.

Most tasks in daily life are autopilot tasks. You don’t re-examine your core beliefs and the causal chain of dental hygiene every time you brush your teeth. It’d be exhausting if you had to.

Our brains are incredible at turning repeated patterns into unconscious processes. This frees up a lot of processing power for other stuff.

But what is that other stuff?

What if we’ve got a lot of latent brainpower sitting around, waiting to examine, rethink, and get creative?

What if we’ve allowed almost everything to go on autopilot?

That’s the natural direction. Our brain tends toward autopilot, and if we don’t deliberately step back, we can end up feeling like our entire life is on a conveyor belt.

This causes a lot of stress. All our brainpower goes toward fear and hypotheticals, while all the action is done unthinkingly. This is not a good recipe.

For example, I see people stress and worry about what job they want. They torment and toil over what their passion might be, why this or that job may not be perfect, what if it ends up sucking, etc. They burn tons of brain juice on fears and hypotheticals. Meanwhile, in the realm of action, they’re on autopilot. They format a resume of boring bullets, craft a generic cover letter, scan jobs boards, and send the same application to dozens or hundreds of jobs.

Total autopilot.

Getting off the conveyor belt

I love helping people get their careers started. It sets a tone for life. Beginning the job hunt on autopilot isn’t the foot you want to get off on! All that toothbrushing-while-on-autopilot is freeing up brainpower that can be used on cool stuff like showing your skills and pitching people on working with you. So put it to work!

One of the reasons we built Crash is to help people overcome autopilot when it comes to finding and winning career opportunities.

Careers are best approached experimentally, with optimism. Don’t do stuff you hate, or suck at, or stuff no one is willing to pay you for. The rest is fair game. Pick a few big buckets, and then open up your creative brainpower to think about some cool, unique ways you can go about getting a shot at an interesting job.

Remember, only two things matter on the job market:

  1. Your ability to create value.
  2. Your ability to prove it.

Those things have 10x more impact if you’re not on autopilot.

Switching off autopilot

Don’t limit the kinds of roles you can go after. Don’t put your brain to work only in the realm of analysis. Put it to action!

Try some stuff.

Learn.

Experiment.

Ask yourself how you’d win a cool job with no resume, cover letter, or application. What could you come up with?

Then go try it!

The first step to a great career is to switch off autopilot. It’s harder work, but it’s more rewarding. It’s the beginning of the kind of adventure you want.

Flip the switch to manual. Go deep. Be creative. Have fun!


This post originally appeared on Isaac’s blog.