Unbelievably Bitter

Yesterday afternoon I was sitting in my office which I share with another Employment Counsellor. He is putting together a group of young father’s who could potentially benefit from some Life Management principles targeted specifically to this demographic group. The thought is that the group could explore and learn from topics together from a male perspective; everything from issues of abuse, violence against women, setting goals, fatherhood etc. So he was calling up some young dads that had been referred to him to explain the course content and determine their level of interest in joining a two-week program.

All of a sudden he turned to me and said that he couldn’t believe what he’d just heard. He was somewhat stunned by the message on a recording. Now we’ve all heard some winners, which in many cases explains why people aren’t leaving messages for our clients. This one took the cake apparently. So he played it back. The message ran for about 3 minutes and repeated a word many find offensive over and over again in short sentences, all delivered in a wise-guy tone. He was trying to sound like a game-show host, and probably thought he was pretty clever, but his message revealed much more about himself than he thought, as he insulted anyone who phoned his number.

So I thought it means one of two things; he’s way too immature and naive to know the implications of what he’s doing, or he’s just so embittered with everything that he’s just lashing out at anyone and everyone indiscriminately. The later was confirmed later in the day when I was speaking with his ongoing Caseworker. That chip on his shoulder was actually a huge boulder, and apparently he had not just a poor attitude, but an awful attitude. What a shame that at such an early age, someone would have such intense anger and hatred for everyone and carry that everywhere.

This is the kind of person that would benefit from intervention, especially in a supportive, corrective environment with some compassionate leadership. Can you just imagine otherwise this young man being turned loose in the world to seek a job and be expected to be professional? And as the group is for young father’s, I’m willing to bet he hasn’t had too many positive role models  to learn from. Without some positive intervention and counselling, I’d expect his son or daughter will learn from his example, further perpetuating some terrible learned behaviours. Then again, maybe he’d be a protective, devoted father; I for one sure don’t know.

Now you and I have a part to play when people come into our lives that resemble this fellow. I think it is incumbent on us all to initiate positive interactions, to reach out with offers of help, and do what we can in small ways to leave the door open to some reaching out on his part. Too many times it’s easier to simply tell ourselves that people like this guy just aren’t ready for our programs, that they are sure to be disruptive to our little groups, and for the sake of the whole, we keep them on a waiting list somewhere. This is the kind of person that needs intervention the most. Now I’m not for one minute stating that poor behaviour should be in some way rewarded with instant service. That kind of lesson would be missing the mark.

This incident does highlight an issue for the job seeker though that I’ve addressed in previous blogs, and that is the message you leave on your phones. Employer’s don’t have time to listen to your favourite songs, or your cute children’s voices as you coach them in the background on what to say, nor do they want to hear some profanity. Employer’s want to simply hear a message like, “Hi you’ve reached the Davidson’s. Please leave a message and your call will be returned promptly.” Pretty boring, simplistic and oh yes, P R O F E S S I O N A L.

There’s a lot of hype in the media over the last couple of years about the NOW generation, basically saying that young people today expect everything all at once and when they don’t get it, they just can’t wait. They don’t want to pay their dues, save for things, and need instant gratification. They want good paying jobs that are immensely self-satisfying, condo or home ownership, clothes, trips, wheels – they want it all and they want it by their mid-twenties. Maybe they get bitter when they haven’t been handed it all in rare cases. I’ve got more faith than that in this group. If they feel this way, maybe it’s because our generation told them they could do anything they wanted and be anything they wanted and they actually listened to us.

So to wrap up, reset your message on your phone and leave a positive impression. Don’t offend others before you even speak with them. Give those who present with anger and bitterness some leeway in a supportive setting. If you aren’t having employer’s leave messages and offer you interviews, could it be that you are entirely qualified but your message turns them off?


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