“I’m Willing To Do Anything.” NO YOU’RE NOT!


“I’m willing to do anything.” Whenever I hear someone say this, I immediately know that the person is going about their job search in a way that is likely to take much longer as they search for work that pays well, is meaningful and which they enjoy. So I have no reservation about replying, “No you’re not.”

When someone says, “I’m willing to do anything” there are numerous jobs and careers that I could suggest which the person would find boring, hate, beneath them, scare them and outright refuse to do. In addition to these jobs, there are those jobs that the person is entirely unqualified to even compete for. It’s only a sign of their ignorance and stubbornness if they still insist on saying they’re willing to take on some job with training that they aren’t currently qualified to do. For example I might say, “Are you qualified to be a Forensic Scientist working in the field of Archeology?” and if they reply, “If they train me, sure”, then I know the person isn’t in touch with their present reality. If they haven’t got any education beyond grade 12 at the moment, no one is going to even look at them to do this kind of work. In short, they aren’t qualified to do everything so they can’t do ‘anything’ even if they are willing.

So the question I always ask of people who claim they are willing to do anything is, “What kind of work do you want to do that you are qualified to do?” This question almost always results in the person sharing what they’ve done in the past and they then tell me they which jobs they no longer want to do or are able to do, and the jobs they’ve liked or want to pursue.

I’m guessing you’ve had the experience yourself where you ask someone a question to which you get some ambiguous reply; the result being you have to ask a second or third question to get them to reply with an answer that gets to the question you originally asked. It’s like when you speak with a child and ask them why they did or didn’t do something and they say, “Because.” That’s never a satisfactory answer and so you realize you’re sucked in to asking the obvious next question, “Because why?” As the adult, you have to probe to get at the motivation or lack of motivation behind the child’s actions or inaction. The same is true when you ask someone what kind of work they are looking for and they reply, “Anything”.

As an Employment Counsellor, I get this reply quite regularly from those I come into contact with. My instincts tell me as they utter the word, “Anything”, that a conversation is in order before I can realistically help them. Some typical questions include:

  • What jobs have you done in the past?
  • Have you got any physical or mental health issues that limit what you can do?
  • What have you enjoyed in your past work?
  • What education or qualifications do you have?

There are several other questions to ask, but if you’re someone who is looking for work and don’t really know what you’re after, you might consider answering those 4 questions yourself.

Of course there’s the issue of preparation in order to make the most of your job search. We both know that job searching can quickly become a frustrating experience and as humans, we don’t tend to voluntarily engage in things we find frustrating for very long and we don’t throw ourselves into such activities with much enthusiasm. Enthusiasm however, is exactly what you need to have if you want your job search to result in success.

Yes, you could just get lucky and land some job you find soul-sucking and mindless, but wouldn’t you rather find work that you actually enjoy doing; work that pays a decent if not good or great wage? Would you like your next job to be one you stay at for some time so you’re not back looking for work in the near future? Well maybe yes and maybe no depending on what you like or don’t.

My suggestion to you is to seriously look at what kind of work you want. You may have to upgrade your education with a course or two or possibly a few years to get a degree. If you really want that job bad enough in the future, get going on that education now. You might need to revise your entire resume, and if you lack the ability to target your resume to the jobs you want, get some help down at the local employment centre in the city or town you live in. These activities and others like them aren’t a waste of time but rather an investment in your own future.

When you know what you’re after and you communicate that clearly to anyone who asks, you stand a much better chance of the person being able to assist you solely because you obviously have some direction. Saying, “I’m willing to do anything” reveals your key weakness which is you haven’t figured out what you really want to do. The person you’re speaking with isn’t likely to point you in the right direction because you don’t know where you’re going so how would they?

I’ve yet to meet the person who is really willing to do anything.

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2 thoughts on ““I’m Willing To Do Anything.” NO YOU’RE NOT!

  1. This is good information! However, I am an Employment Specialist, at a women’s DOC inmate halfway house. I always ask those questions but in reality, they have to have any type of job and employers who will hire not only felons but inmates. What suggestions do you have for me? Thanks, Dee Manatowa

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your comment and your question Dee. Those with criminal records do have problems and the situation is even more complicated when the person is an inmate. A couple of things come to mind. First you could help by establishing a relationship with local employers and if you, get them to take a chance on some hires based on their relationship with you. That could mean sending the best of what you’ve got to establish a good record. Some professions seem to be more receptive to taking chances on these people rather than others; depends on the record and how long the period of time has been since the transgression and sentence. You could also advertise and see if employers would contact you who are willing to take a chance on giving someone a 2nd or 3rd chance. Sometimes employers have records too and feel inclined to help out someone who is where they were. The key I think is to have supports in place for the new hire to ensure they don’t blow a job with a dumb move. Good luck.

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