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How The Commonalities Between Camping And Job Searching Can Help You Find A Career You Love

Written by: Michelle Schafer, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


What do camping and looking for work have in common? Last weekend, our family went camping with friends. It was a fun time filled with beach shenanigans, sunset volleyball, and campfire games. And as anyone who has ever camped knows, preparing for a camping trip is no easy feat. There is a lot involved!

Black car and tents, camping in the forest.

If you are looking for a job, you will also know there is a lot involved. There are actually a few parallels between gearing up for a camping trip and engaging in a job search. Here are some common questions that apply to both:

Do you have a plan?

When I go camping, I have a spreadsheet (yes, I do!) that keeps me organized for all the gear and food I need to bring. Looking for work also requires a plan, which can help you engage in a mix of job search activities (like online job boards, recruiter connections and networking conversations)

Do you have the resources you need?

I'm always amazed at the amount of "stuff" we need to go camping – we are regularly packed to the rafters with these outings! There are lots of resources needed to look for work, too. You can check in with yourself: are there job boards I haven't accessed? Do I have a list of companies of interest that I'd like to reach out to? Is my resume targetting my career direction? Have I prepared for interview questions that line up with the job I want?

What contributions will you make?

Camping is all about sharing – so it's usually expected that each family will bring snacks or games that can be enjoyed by all. If you are looking for work, what is your contribution? You can share articles of interest with people you are networking with or devote time to volunteer in your community (which can be promoted on your resume!). As much as you are looking for work, and that's your focus, there are things you can do for others, which are feel-good activities in what can be overwhelming times.

Will you be prepared for any weather condition?

Camping in the rain or strong winds isn't great – so having tarps and other equipment "just in case" is key. In a job search, you may have sunny days where you are hearing back from people you reach out to, you are invited to interviews and you are finding jobs you want to apply to. There can also be cloudy or stormy days, where things just don't seem to be clicking. Be prepared for both.

Are you ready to relax and have fun?

Camping is hard work, but there are lots of opportunities to sit with a coffee and admire the trees, play cards, or sing silly campfire songs. In a job search, it's important to also rest after you've invested in your job search for the day. And a search can also have fun moments – like when you get reconnected with an old colleague to have a networking chat or meet someone new who believes in you and puts your name forward for an awesome job. What else would you add to this list?

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Michelle Schafer, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine Michelle Schafer is an International Coaching Federation Certified Coach and Facilitator specializing in career transition and leadership. She is the owner and founder of Michelle Schafer Coaching, empowering people to achieve career fulfillment. Michelle has personally experienced two significant career transitions through restructuring and has reinvented herself for new careers both times. She deeply understands the physical, emotional and mental impact associated with a job search. Michelle is passionate about people and inspired by their progress, working with clients at all levels of an organization and across sectors including federal and municipal government, high tech, not-for-profit and financial services. Michelle offers coaching 1:1 in groups and recently was certified in the foundations of team coaching with the Global Team Coaching Institute.



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