What Job Seekers Can Learn From the Viral Mouse Video

November 9, 2013 at 6:19 am 6 comments

So, this video of a determined mouse has gone viral with nearly 1.6 million views as of this writing. There is a hidden message here for job seekers, and it’s not about tenacity.

After seeing this video show up many times on various social feeds, I decided to gamble a little over a minute of my life watching it. It was worth it for the aha moment I got. The “aha” was not that you can do anything if you are determined enough. The “aha” was:

It is not enough to be determined.

This video shows a mouse struggling to get a cracker to the upper level of a counter top or table. He works and works and works, demonstrating much verve and tenacity. But this energy and drive isn’t working. At about 0:55, he goes up without the cracker and seems to have given up.

I believe what really happened is that he took a moment to analyze the situation and break it into parts.
He wanted to get himself and the cracker to the upper level. But just throwing himself at the problem wasn’t working. After he noticed how he got to the upper level alone (maybe he needed that left front paw free to swing himself, say) he could attack the problem of how to hold the cracker to ensure success. After going to the upper level, the mouse came back down and was successful on his very next attempt.
If I may anthropomorphize for a moment, I see this mouse as having achieved something which will have long-lasting benefits. If he is ever in a similar situation, it will be resolved much more quickly. He is also in a unique position to help other hungry mice (I’m not sure how mentoring or consulting work in the mouse world, but you get my point).
As a job seeker, it’s not enough to try hard. You have to be smart too. Stop madly grabbing at the cracker for a minute and think about what you need in order to accomplish the task at hand.
How could you be more effective?
Who could you learn from who has been there/done that so you don’t have to spend 55 mouse seconds (about 7 months in human time, I’m sure) flailing around in vain?

Entry filed under: Career Management, Job Search. Tags: , , , .

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6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. greggoryamiller  |  November 9, 2013 at 7:35 am

    Great analysis on being more effective in our job searches. Thanks for sharing.

  • 4. NotedCareers  |  November 12, 2013 at 12:50 am

    Reblogged this on NotedCareers Blog and commented:
    So, it is all coming back to your attitude when you face a challenge (aka problem). Feedback and lessons are available from every failure we make, or the mouse made in this video.
    Yes, job seeking is such a painful process but there is always a rewarding career for determined job seekers!

  • 5. Rabbi R. Karpov, Ph.D.  |  November 15, 2013 at 10:09 am


    It’s ARNOLD TOYNBEE’S WITHDRAWAL-AND-RETURN . . . in the ANIMAL kingdom! (Amazing!)

    (Withdrawal-And-Return, about which I learnt in “The Bible as Literature” G/UG course at Purdue University: Think Moses going up the mountain & returning with gifts for humanity; the Siberian shaman going up the tentpole and into the stars & ditto; the Native American Indian / First Nations person who “needs to take time out to pray”; Jesus going into the desert & ditto; Buddha ditto . . . but that a MOUSE?? I didn’t see that one coming, AT ALL.)

    It isn’t until the mouse removes himself a bit from the situation — maybe if there were other mice around, equally driven, and verbal, they’d have started to accuse this one of having given up — that this mouse could re-imagine a different (and successful) resolution, having viewed everything from a different, more detached (think Hinduism! => Buddhism!) angle.

    That a MOUSE (who has habits very similar to a dog’s) should also engage in the process of detaching from being embedded in the situation, so as to be able to see it from a different perspective and then return to it triumphantly, is fascinating. Thanks for sharing: No, I hadn’t seen this; but now others will.

    The caption’s in Cyrillic, btw. Maybe NE Asia’s where Mouse is from? Doesn’t matter. Same for humans all over the earth; probably same for mice and others as well.

    They really are very detail-oriented. I was taught that had Torah not been given, we would have learnt the same things from watching the animals. Thanks for letting me learn from this one.

    • 6. Kim Mohiuddin  |  November 15, 2013 at 10:25 am

      Interesting take, Rabbi! As an introvert, I can embrace the idea of withdrawal-and-return.


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