Could you show me where it is at on a map (without the map in this post)? Didn’t think so.
Can you tell me anything about it without using Google? Didn’t think so.
So how can a town you have never been to, never heard of, and know nothing about impact your job-search? You’d be surprised.
Cairo (pronounced like Karo syrup, not Cairo, Egypt), known as Syrup City, is a small town (population, 9,000) in south Georgia that is 30 miles north of Tallahassee, FL.
For being such a small town it has produced its fair share of people who have helped shape the world, including baseball player Jackie Robinson, Teresa Edwards (Olympic Gold Medalist), Daryle Singletary (country music singer) and Mickey Thomas (lead singer of Jefferson Starship). Most importantly, however, it is the home town of Christina, my much, much, much better half.
So now that the commercial is over the question still remains – how can a small town in the middle of nowhere affect your job-search? Read on.
They have created an identity and brand for themselves that makes people want to know more. If you look at any list of the best highschool mascots put out by Sports Illustrated, ESPN, or anyone else you will find the Cairo Syrupmakers (yes I said Syrupmakers) always ranked high on the list.
They could have gone with the wildcats, rebels, predators, bears, tigers, lions, or any other popular name out there and they chose someone who makes syrup as their namesake and a pitcher pouring syrup as the mascot of their highschool athletic teams.
My wife has a Syrupmaker pullover and without fail it is a conversation magnet every time she puts it on. People want to know what a syrupmaker is, what it means, where it’s from and everything else about it. If by chance they know the meaning behind it they beam with pride like they are part of a special club that has exclusive membership.
The take away: What is the brand you have created for yourself? Are you a lion, rebel, or bear just like everyone else or are you a Syrupmaker? Do people remember you and want to discuss you and what you are about?
They take pride in themselves and their product. If there is one thing that Cairo is, they are proud of their Syrupmakers. If you drive around town you will see signs everywhere that say ‘Go ‘Makers’ or ‘Syrupmaker Pride’.
On Friday nights during high school football season the town nearly shuts down to watch the ‘Makers play. In fact this football season they played a state playoff game near Atlanta (nearly three hours away) and had more fans in attendance than the home team.
The take away: You have to take pride in your craft (both your function and your search) and be your biggest cheerleader because no one else will be. If you are not excited about what you do and your quest to find a new opportunity why should anyone else be?
They have created a community. In Cairo (and in small towns everywhere) people know one another, generally care for each others well-being, and help each other out because it’s the way they do things and their way of life.
The takeaway: From a job-search perspective if you do not build a community that you can call on for networking purposes, support, and help you are going to find yourself in bad shape very quickly.
So does Cairo have the magic bullet to you landing your next opportunity? Maybe, maybe not – but it sure does have the roadmap for laying a good foundation.
Until next time – good hunting and good luck!