Most of the time I pay almost no attention to horse racing and I certainly don’t know much about the sport. I got into it this week-end however, when a horse named California Chrome was positioned to win the Triple Crown, which hasn’t happened since 1978. Alas, it wasn’t to be and Chrome’s owner went on a post-race rant, live on TV, that earned him the hashtag #soreloser on Twitter and lots of criticism about his ungraciousness.
I’m of two minds about this. Prior to reading some of the press coverage, I didn’t realize that not all of the horses running in the Belmont Stakes had also run in the two previous Triple Crown races, the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness. The three races take place over the course of five weeks, with horses that run all three races getting two weeks of rest between the Derby and the Preakness, followed by three weeks between the Preakness and the Belmont. They also have to be transported from Kentucky to Maryland to New York, which is a lot of moving around.
Perhaps there is a case to be made, as Chrome’s owner did, that the playing field really was less than completely level. It seems possible that Tonalist, the horse that won the Belmont and didn’t race in either of the previous races, was more rested and in better shape than California Chrome, which may have made the difference between winning and coming in fourth. It may not be completely fair, but that’s just how it is in the sport of horse racing.
I see some parallels to job search. As much as we might wish otherwise, the playing field for a job seeker isn’t always completely “level.” Sometimes the hiring manager chooses to hire the Sr. VP’s nephew, even though other candidates were more qualified. Sometimes there is an internal candidate who’s almost certain to get the job, regardless of how well you interview as an external candidate. Sometimes even 20 years of experience isn’t enough to get you an interview if the company absolutely insists on a college degree and you don’t have one.
It’s not fair, but unfortunately that’s just how it is in job search. Some things are out of a job seeker’s control. Obsessing about them doesn’t accomplish a thing and in fact is a waste of energy. Over and over I remind myself not to stress or obsess about the things I can’t control. Much better to put all my energy into the things I can control. It’s good advice in horse racing, and in job search.
Kimberly Hanes is a writer with a passionate love for words and ideas and extensive experience in business communications and event planning.
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