No one wins a game by playing defense. However, good defense gives the offense the chance to do its job. Defense, therefore, provides the foundation for success.
Playing defense in your job search means giving yourself enough time to stay in the search for your efforts to pay off (maintaining your cash flow by judiciously using your severance or taking temp work to make ends meet). It means pacing yourself (making sure you do something towards your search every day rather than in periodic but unreliable bursts of inspiration). It means protecting yourself from the wear and tear of a long search (e.g., burnout, settling for less out of fear).
Playing defense in your career means building a solid foundation (adding skills, increasing industry and functional expertise, growing a nest egg). Some of these steps also fall into your offensive strategy, as increased skills and expertise may lead to promotions or better jobs. Increased savings may encourage more risk-taking. But they are also defensive moves because a foundation of skills and expertise keep you necessary to your employer’s team.
Playing defense in your life means protecting what you already have, so that you can focus on your dreams. No one becomes rich from owning insurance, but medical, disability, and homeowners insurance may prevent unexpected poverty and give peace of mind so you can concentrate on your game. Maintaining good health is good defense – as the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Fostering good family and social relationships is a defensive strategy. You’re not trying to win anything from them. But you are building a foundation of support and love from which springs the confidence and inspiration to go for your goals and succeed.
It’s December, the end of another year. Do your annual insurance check. Renew your gym membership. Send out holiday cards. Maintain your foundation.