So Desperate To Work You’ll Do Anything?


Have you ever told someone that when it comes to work you’re so desperate you’ll do anything? Okay so you and I both know that this isn’t actually the case. There are jobs you won’t take because they don’t pay enough, the location is too far away or the job itself is too dangerous or menial. Still, there are people who everyday say to somebody in a position to help them find a job, “I’ll do anything.”

The very key to why this approach almost never gets the person the result they want lies in one word that’s contained in the opening sentence of this blog; ‘desperate’. Here’s the thought process that I as an Employment Counsellor go through each time I hear someone make the statement, “I’ll do anything.”:

  1. You’re saying this because you’re desperate.
  2. If you get this job, you’ll no longer be as desperate.
  3. As you’ll no longer be desperate, you’ll want something better.
  4. Because you’ll want something better, you’ll quit.
  5. Because you’ll quit, you’ll be right back here repeating history.

Employers know this as well. People who are desperate to work don’t usually make good employees. You can make the argument of course that someone who is truly desperate will do whatever it takes to hang onto the job they get; they’ll be dependable, work hard not to mess up and be as productive as they can because they need the money. That’s one point of view, but it’s not the reality that the employer and employee experience the majority of the time.

Look at two employers; a good one and a bad one. The bad employer hires an unemployed, desperate person and decides to exploit that desperation. They may pay them under the table or worse promise to pay them and then string them along with excuses like money is tight and that they’ll get paid next week. The money never comes of course but the employer knows the worker is desperate and so they squeeze every hour they can out of the person until they quit. Then the bad employer looks for another desperate applicant and repeats the process; essentially getting free labour in the end much of the time.

The good employer on the other hand has no such intentions of treating the employee badly. They take on the desperate worker, invest time and money into training them with the expectation that the person will get better on the job over time, and eventually come to truly be 100% productive – usually after a five or six months or more depending on the job. However, what they experience is that despite their willingness to invest in training the new employee, the employee often quits after only a short time. As the job was never really wanted in the first place, they never stopped looking for other jobs. They hate themselves when they wake up in the morning and hate their present reality going to this terrible job, and not being quite as desperate as they once were when they had no job, they just don’t show up and quit.

Therefore, it is highly likely that the good employers don’t want to repeat the mistake of hiring desperate people who are wrong for the job in the first place. They’d rather hire people who are cut out for the work and really want to do a certain job as evidenced by their past work history. They think, “If I hire this Accountant to pick mushrooms, they’ll probably quit soon because they’re really going to keep looking for a job as an Accountant. When that happens, I’ll be looking for another Mushroom Picker in 3 weeks or less.”

Look, I understand that what you mean when you say, “I’m desperate; I’ll do anything”. You’re really saying, “I’m open to considering many kinds of work that I haven’t before, until I can lock down the kind of work that would ideally suit me.” When you’re feeling desperate, it isn’t the best time to make a big decision; such as finding employment. Little decisions like whether to have cereal or a bagel for breakfast? Sure; go ahead. Making a decision to apply for work you find on a job board, that up until you read it you’ve never seriously considered or even thought of before; no! This is a bad decision. Even if you get the job you’ll immediately feel bad; you never thought you’d sink this low, you hope no one you know ever sees you at work, you didn’t go to school for this, they money isn’t worth the hard labour etc.

It’s important to understand then that good employers aren’t likely to hire desperate workers while bad employers are more likely to do so. Therefore saying you’ll do anything increases the odds of landing with a poor employer and the job will be a poor personal fit. It’s now a lose-lose proposition for both you and a good employer.

A better decision when you’re desperate is to seek out the help of an Employment Coach, Employment Counsellor or Career Counsellor. I don’t mean to self-promote here, but things aren’t working out doing things the way you’ve been doing them. What’s to risk by getting some objective help from a trained professional who can help you get more than just a job; they can help you get the right job.

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One thought on “So Desperate To Work You’ll Do Anything?

  1. I think a lot of people get desperate because they run out of money and face being on the street. That can be very frightening. Another problem is the prevailing attitude that you have no right to “freeload” off the tax payers. You should get any job you can and don’t be fussy. This view is, that it’s better to be working no matter what you are asked to do or how you are treated than being unemployed and “sponging” off the tax payers. Beggars can’t be choosers, they say. In fact, this was the attitude most people, the Ministry included, when I was on welfare.

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