It is quite amazing and it never occurred to me that
some of the things I have tried in research and
searching and had profound success has been
studied by mathematicians.
Early reports by Viswanathan, et. al. on
albatrosses (ok, this does sound unrelated to job
searching, but stay with me!) revealed a
food search pattern that randomly interspersed
long flights with normal short flights in a
power law distribution of flight times.
Ocean predators in complex food webs have
been reported to use a similar mix of long
trajectories in different areas with short, random
movements (sharks, tuna, marlin, swordfish). 2
This method of search referred to as “Levy
flights” can be helpful in job searching in complex
environments, as well.
The suggestion is that professionals in the job
market might occasionally seek opportunities in
a completely different “search neighborhood”
than peers and focused effort searching has been
applied, if progress has not been forthcoming.
In my career, this approach has been applied,
for example, to discover and patent new
molecules for complexing bromine in
polybromide complexes (circulating
electrolyte batteries) with Reilley Chemical,
developing new process analyses in film
manufacturing (chemical fluids and product analyses)
with CPAC at the University of Washington and
looking at widely different journals to develop
my doctoral thesis project from Poland and
fields quite remote from my area of study.
J P Bouchard hints at this in a Science article
to find a career in a different area.