Unemployed And Feeling Bitter?


Bitterness is a personal characteristic which most people don’t find attractive in others. It’s evident in the sneer or scowl, a smirk, the tight lips set in a smile of sarcasm. Bitterness is also one of the least desired qualities for anyone in the position of choosing applicants to extend job offers to.

While you’ve every right to feel what you feel, it’s equally true that employer’s have the right to choose the applicants they feel will add rather than detract from the chemistry and culture they wish to establish and maintain in the workplace. It’s hard to imagine any organization going out of their way to hire bitter people. Would you agree?

So yes, while I acknowledge your entitlement to feel bitter if you so choose about what’s happened in your past, it seems only logical to me that if you want to impress someone enough to have them welcome you onboard, you’d best either lose the bitterness or at the very least, conceal it.

Now if I were working closely with you and found you gave off this air of bitterness, I’d point it out. Further, I’d share with you what exactly it is you’re doing that I’m observing and interpreting as signs of bitterness. For only if you’re aware of this and you’ve some awareness of what it is that sends this message to others have you the chance to do something about it if you choose to do so. This is an important thing for anyone who works with a job seeker to do. So if you should enlist the services of a professional to help you out with your job search, let me suggest you extend permission so you’ll get honest feedback. What you do with that feedback is up to you, but allowing them to share has to be on the table.

Honestly, there are some professionals who are loathe to be entirely honest with the people they work with. It’s fine of course when there’s positives to comment on, but when there’s something unattractive and personal, not everyone is comfortable sharing their observation. This becomes what people call the elephant in the room; whatever it is, well it’s big enough everyone can see it but no one wants to acknowledge and talk about it. This can be out of a fear of confrontation, fearing an argument. It can be for fear of hurting the person’s feelings, not wanting to make them feel worse than they already do.

Here’s the thing though; whatever it is – in this case observable bitterness – it’s plainly visible, it’s a job search barrier, and until it gets addressed, it remains an obstacle to getting hired.

Have you ever heard the expression, ‘one bad apple can spoil the bunch’? This nicely sums up exactly why employer’s are fairly united in steering clear of bringing any new employee into their workforce who carries overt bitterness with them. Why would they want to introduce this person with a chip on their shoulder to a group of positive and productive employees? The fear that this one person might taint one or more (maybe everyone?) is too great to risk. The chance that the whole positive group might turn this bitter person around isn’t worth it. So it is that virtually all employer’s would rather settle on the person who will come in with a positive attitude, as demonstrated by the smile on their face.

Consider however this likely truth: You’re bitter because you’re getting nowhere with your job search; no calls, no interviews – well there was that one – but it went nowhere. It’s been some time and you’re disillusioned. Your optimism departed long ago and now you’re expecting the rejection that ultimately comes. With this belief, your body language and facial expressions reflect this prevailing mood. When you meet potential employer’s, it takes a lot of energy and mental focus to keep your predetermined presumption of failure to yourself. Over the course of a 30 – 60 minute interview, while your thoughts move from question to question and coming up with answers, your focus on concealing what has become your natural bitterness slips once – maybe twice. Those visual clues are likely to get picked up and send off warning signals to the interviewer. “Something isn’t right with this applicant…intuition…the experience of having interviewed many in the past…there’s just this something I caught briefly in a look…”

While you haven’t had any previous dealings with the person interviewing you now, your pent up bitterness from past experiences is nonetheless coming out and on display. The interviewer works under one assumption every time; this is you at your best. Well, if you’re at your best and your bitterness is on display, they can only imagine what it will be like when you’re hired and working there as your, ‘normal self’. It’s likely to be magnified and worse.

If you don’t care of course and want to showcase your bitterness that’s your call. Be prepared for a lot of rejection and as a consequence you’ll have many more reasons to justify your bitterness. Entirely your call. But that’s the thing isn’t it? It’s within your control, you’re the one in charge of how you feel and you’re the one – the only one I’ll add – with the power to change how you feel and how you come across – if you so choose.

It might make you feel better to blame others but ongoing bitterness is a choice you make.

You’ve Been Fired. Now What?


So you’ve been fired. Two questions if I may. Did you see it coming or was a complete shock? Secondly, does it come as a relief now that you’re no longer employed or would you go back there if you could? These two questions are important because both get at where your mind is my friend, and your thinking is probably not at it’s clearest right now.

Sometimes you see it coming as a distinct possibility or probability. It still stings when it happens of course, but it was looming. Maybe it was a poor performance review or a warning. Could be you hadn’t got past probation or weren’t hitting sales targets. In any event, the writing was on the wall and you even started taking personal possessions home with you in anticipation of this very thing. If this is your situation, you could even feel a sense of relief because the strain of going to work and wondering if this would be the day they let you go has been mentally exhausting.

On the other hand, when things are going well, you’re well-liked and you feel blindsided by your firing, it can stop you cold. In fact, you’ll feel pretty numb with the news, in severe shock and disbelief. When caught off guard, you’re at risk of soon doubting anything and everything around you because you don’t want to be similarly surprised again. This isn’t a healthy attitude but it’s an understandable reaction to the news.

We’re built different you know; some of us would just get back out there the next day, while for others, a lengthy period needs to elapse before starting to look for work again. The length of this period will depend on 4 things: 1) whether you see this parting as an opportunity, 2) if it was anticipated as a possibility, probability or complete blindside 3) the length of employment, 4) your personal resources and supports.

When the news first hits you’ll undoubtedly have felt shock. A few seconds earlier, you were an employee and now you’re not. There’s that, “What to do?” feeling as the news is received. Sometimes you get the news outside of work; a phone call, email, text etc. This might sound unbelievable to some of you, but yes, a text. More often, it’s in person. There’s the dreaded walk out and you’re not only dealing with this terrible news, you live this walk of shame by your now former colleagues without the chance to slip out quietly.

Maybe though, this job was actually getting in the way of you moving forward. It was holding you back because it was comfortable. This parting is somewhat liberating and needed but resigning is something you likely wouldn’t have done on your own. In such a case, your mind can turn to what’s ahead more readily than others perhaps. Now you can get back to the field you were trained in or turn to something you’ve always wanted to do but couldn’t because you had this job you had to go to every day. And if you really disliked the work you did, it was a long commute, the co-workers weren’t anything you’ll miss etc., yes, it can be liberating.

Generally speaking, most people need a mental break. While being unemployed isn’t what you’d choose, rushing out to get a job the same day somewhere else may not be the best action. It’s important to balance your need for income and purpose with your need to clear your mind. Any feelings of bitterness, anger, revenge, failure, sorrow and regret need to come out and be addressed. You my friend, need a period of grieving for your loss. Depending on your financial health and resources, you might need to immediately tighten your belt and think twice about all your purchases. Then again, some people have been known to take a vacation and realign their frame of mind.

So many factors now to consider. Where are you on the age spectrum? Is not working at all as you’re so close to retirement attractive? How’s your health? Is this something you can now concentrate on improving? Are you the only income earner or do you have a secondary source of income that can soften this blow?

Yes you’ll want to update the resume but before you do this, it’s rather important to know whether you’re competing in the same field for a similar role elsewhere or are you heading in a new direction and therefore need to overhaul the focus of your resume?

Something to consider is who to tell. Many don’t want friends, former colleagues and family to know. Keeping silent until you land a job might either protect your dignity or result in missed opportunities. The sooner people know you’re looking and what you’re looking for, the greater the likelihood that your network might come up with opportunities to explore.

Some general advice then? Eat healthy, get some regular exercise – even a morning and afternoon walk to clear your mind. Avoid turning to drugs and alcohol as an escape. Do little things that will make you feel good; even doing the dishes can ease your mind when you look at the kitchen.  Make sure you apply immediately for any employment benefits you may be entitled to as they start when you apply, NOT when you stopped working.

Lose bitterness; it’s not attractive. This too shall pass.

Everyone Is Not Scamming


I recall when I started working in the field of Social Services being welcomed onboard and placed on a team of Caseworkers administering what was then referred to as General Welfare Assistance. In laymen’s terms, we issued funds to welfare recipients.

Now this would be back in the late 1980’s, but the words of a teammate still stick with me to this day. While I didn’t have a single person assigned to me as a Mentor or Trainer, this person took me aside on my second day and said, “Look, the first thing you have to know and remember is that everyone is scamming.” I have obviously been struck by that remark to the extent that I recall it now in 2019.

One thing I’m proud of myself looking back is that I didn’t believe it then anymore than I believe it today. However, the thing is, I could have believed it – after all this was someone working in the job I was just learning, so the assumption is that they know what they are talking about. Had I believed that person, I may have started my career in that organization with a very different mindset; one that set me up to mistrust all the people that I’d encounter; one that would have me looking for lies, disbelieving all the expressed needs that I’d hear. Had I taken that piece of advice, I might have become an embittered worker, perhaps denying all kinds of benefits to people in dire need.

My instincts back then were to actually come at things exactly the other way around. It made much more sense to me to start with the attitude that all the people I was meeting were to be believed and using the funds provided to them for the purposes issued. In the event that I became aware someone was ‘scamming’ as she referred to it, then of course our relationship would change. Many years later and in another social services organization, I did encounter a man with an undeclared bank account with $30,000.00 in it. I discovered it and he was prosecuted, found guilty and fined. There’s a process in place you see to deal with those who knowingly defraud.

Thankfully, that trial which I attended and was called to be a witness in still didn’t negatively affect my core belief in the people I had the privilege to assist as their Caseworker. And let’s make no mistake; it is a privilege. Those who are the most vulnerable in our society need good people with empathy, compassion, care and well-developed skills, experience; knowledgeable of the resources to which people can be connected. Should I find myself on the other side of the table, I sure hope to find a compassionate, understanding individual sitting across from me who believes my story and extends to me the resources I may not have the awareness of to ask for.

Now if you’ve never had any reason to avail yourself of social services, (welfare), or if your experience is limited to one or more people you know who brag about fooling the system and scamming, you might be inclined to think as this person did. Let me tell you the reality though; most people in receipt of social assistance are legitimately poor and deal with multiple barriers to financial independence. Many have underdeveloped decision-making skills primarily because they’ve had poor role models. Some have grown up in families on social assistance themselves, what we refer to a generational poverty.

Breaking away from poverty is incredibly difficult when you start off in a family that doesn’t highly value education; that may see any attempt to better yourself as a slap in the face to the rest of them. The high cost of food, housing, transportation, childcare – pretty much the core basic needs we all strive for, keep people from focusing on what many of us who have these basic needs fulfilled do, our potential. Because we go home at night to places that are safe, private, comfortable; because we put good food on the table, because we sleep in clean beds, shower at will and put on clean clothes each day, we can focus on other needs. Remove these things and suddenly our own priorities would change – and in a heartbeat.

No, I won’t ever believe or advise some new employee to look at everyone who comes to them for help as a scammer. Do some people do whatever they can, or say what they believe needs to be said in order to get some additional funds to buy better food or pay the rent they couldn’t afford otherwise? I’m know that happens.

It’s vitally important that as a society, we keep those out of power those who enact legislation and bring about changes to punitively punish the poor. On the front line, we have to trust those above us and those above them, hoping they always work and act with the best interests of our end-users in mind. That’s not always easy to see.

You know what one of the most important things you can do whenever you meet with someone who shares their story? Tell them you believe them. Build some trust. Get at the deep stuff. Then use your powers of knowledge and resources to help them help themselves. Don’t become embittered, burnt out and cold.

We’re just people helping people in the end.

Not Getting Many Interviews?


Wouldn’t it be nice if you were granted an interview each and every time you applied for a job? Obviously employer’s can’t grant every single applicant an interview; there just isn’t the time for them to interview everyone that sends them a resume. In only deciding to interview a small number of those who actually apply, it’s highly probable they fail to interview some excellent candidates.

On your side of table, that’s of little comfort if you’re among those passed over and not granted an interview. In fact, it’s hard to know whether the employer thought you were good enough to interview but there were just too many to meet with, or you didn’t measure up at all to what they were looking for.

Given the effort you go to in the entire application process, it would seem only fair that the company you apply to would at the very least acknowledge your application. I mean, even an automatic reply just verifying they received your application is exciting to someone just learning how to apply to online jobs. To someone more experienced, it means little; they’re after a human response, and to other applicants, only an interview will do as their measure of success. And then there are those who only consider actually being offered the job as being worth their time and effort.

So for the applicant, I guess it really comes down to the things you can control and leaving what you can’t aside. You can’t for example limit the number of people who are competing with you for the job, nor can you control the preferences and biases of those who might interview. The salary offered, the actual job responsibilities and the location of the job are other things you typically can’t control; nor the format preferred by the company for the interview itself; a panel, one-to-one, second or third interviews etc. Like I said, don’t fret about that over which you have no control.

What you can control however is the quality and quantity of job applications you submit. I can personally recall a time in the past when I got an interview each and every time I applied for a job. I suspect that had more to do with the times and the relatively low number of people applying for jobs as opposed to taking credit for the quality of my applications. I don’t hear many people these days claiming to get interviews every single time they apply for a job. There’s just too many other people applying for and competing for every single job out there.

Don’t get discouraged with that picture. You’re only out of the running for a job if you fail to apply at all. There’s an old saying that anything worth doing is worth doing well, and that applies to job searching and putting your name forth as an applicant. Sadly, I still see people every week standing in front of a photocopier churning out 20 resumes at a time and submitting that one document to multiple jobs. This is quantity for sure, but it’s definitely not quality. The only way this is likely to be successful is if that generic resume just happens to include what the employer is looking for, or they are so desperate for anyone to do the work they’ll interview anyone breathing regardless of how qualified they are.

To be interviewed means you need the following in your resume:

  • skills and qualifications that match the employer’s needs
  • no spelling or grammar errors
  • proof that you’ve got experience that matches their requirements

That doesn’t sound like to much to need does it? Yet, it’s surprising how many resumes fail to have all three of these things. When an employer for example says they want someone with 6 month’s to a year’s experience, someone with 10 years will often say exactly that; figuring that they’ve got so much experience, the employer will be impressed and interview them for sure. Not always is that the case. 6 month’s to a year’s experience is really code for, “we want you to know enough that we don’t have to teach you everything, but we want you to also be green enough we can mould you and train you to do things our way.” Someone with 10 years experience might come across as experienced yes, but possibly they’ll bring bad habits and a narrow mind with them and be resistant to doing things the way this employer wants them done.

As for grammar and spelling, most employer’s figure your resume is a pretty important document in your eyes, so this represents you at your best. If it’s sloppy and full of mistakes, they fear you’ll be even worse when you work for them on things that are important to them but less so to you. This is of critical importance if you are seeking work where you will make correspondence in the course of your work, such as working in an office, but it’s important to every person no matter the job.

Look, the bottom line is this; you want interviews, and if you’re not getting many whatsoever, you’ve got to increase the odds in your favour. The only way to do this is get better at applying. If you know what you’re doing wrong, fix it. If you don’t know however, you must get help from someone who can point out some areas for improvement.

Bitterness; It’s Expensive To Carry


If a link to this article landed in your Inbox, or if it’s been printed and left anonymously on your desk, it could be that someone working close to you is taking the rather bold step of drawing your bitterness to your attention. Don’t get angry, don’t throw this immediately in the trash or click close on your browser. You can do either of those things in a few minutes. Could be they are trying to do you a favour without having to face you openly.

Bitterness is something that everyone feels once in a while. Call it extreme disappointment; maybe feeling robbed of some person or some thing we had counted on to be there for us. Perhaps you lost a loved one or you were passed over in the end for a promotion or a new job that had been yours for the taking or even promised you.

The thing is, extreme disappointment or bitterness isn’t supposed to last. It’s supposed to have an expiry period. Oh sure you will always recall the disappointment or even the heartache of whatever you feel was denied you. However, carrying that disappointment and allowing it to fester and grow, carrying it around with you like a badge of honour, is highly unattractive. It’s so unattractive in fact that not only does it show yourself in a negative light, it can be denying you many good things in life; opportunities you may or may not even know are being passed by as you get passed over.

You have to ask yourself, ‘What does carrying around my bitterness and making sure everyone I meet gets a taste of it do for me?’ Imagine if you will a straight line; on the extreme left you’ve got Joy, Elation, Excitement etc. Way over on the extreme right you’ve got Bitterness, Anger, Loathing. Somewhere in the middle  there’s a midpoint of the two. What appears to have happened in your case is that some event or a series of events, has moved you way over to the extreme right and you never recovered your center; you’re grounded somewhere it’s unnatural to be, but it’s become your every day experience; and unfortunately it’s become what others who interact with you see as your dominant trait. No one was ever meant to stay in that extreme end position; unfortunately it seems you have.

If you’ve ever heard someone say things like, “Hey lighten up”, “What’s your problem?”, “It wouldn’t kill you to smile you know” etc., these are others ways of trying to get you to move on that scale. No one expects you to do a complete 180 and be joyous, excited and elated all the time. No, that would be unnatural for your disposition. At the same time, where you are permanently is where people were only meant to be periodically, and it’s not natural.

So maybe you’re not a people-person; or maybe it’s not that so much as you’d rather do things solo more often than you do at the moment. Could be the role you have in your work life isn’t a natural fit; that the job requires interpersonal skills and a general attitude that differs significantly from your own. If this is the case, one obvious sign is that when you’re away from work – say in your personal life and at home, you’re a changed person. Yes, if you feel your face gets set in a concrete grimace and lines of stress, furrowed eyebrows and a scowl start appearing on your commute to the workplace, this could be the reason.

However, if this bitterness persists beyond the workplace and is your reality both at work and every other place you go, it’s not just work that’s the problem. In such a case, you may find yourself more isolated from people in general no matter what the circumstances. I suppose you have to ask yourself, “Am I happy – really happy – with things the way they are.” If you think the world has to give you some reasons to feel less bitter before you make any conscious effort to drop the bitterness, it’s likely not going to work out that way. It always starts with you.

Look, whomever brought this to your attention is likely concerned about you and FOR you. Sure they’d rather interact with a happier you, but in truth, they probably are more focused on helping you become what they know could be a better you for your own sake.

Bitterness grows if you feed it. So you might have the experience, education and skills to deserve a promotion. However, your bitterness which comes across as brooding and biting is extremely concerning to those making the hiring decision. They aren’t going to promote you and give you added responsibility when this position you want is one of influence. No, it’s costing you dearly, and so as you get passed over again and again, your bitterness grows and gets reinforced.

Some need professional help to face where the bitterness stems from and help learning how to leave it behind. Not all, but some. You’ll also get massive support from anyone you talk to and ask for their help as you attempt to change what has become so ingrained in how you go about things.

It’s your life of course to live as you choose. Just don’t underestimate the cost of holding on to the bitterness.

 

Know A Frustrated Job Seeker? Please Share This


If you know someone who is out of work and they’ve become bitter, frustrated and just plain angry with their lack of success at getting interviews and job offers, consider doing them a favour and share this blog/post with them. Remember saying to them, “I wish there was something I could do to help you”? Well, this is that thing.

Hey there, hello. Please give this post a read. It might even help to read it over more than once. The person who has shared this with you cares enough that they brought this to your attention in the hopes of helping you get some results from your job search. I hope this is worth your time; 900 words so here we go…

First of all there’s this tool employers are starting to use more and more that’s keeping you from getting in to the interview stage called Applicant Tracking System software. Let’s call it ATS for short. You know as I do that for every advertised job there are an awful lot of people submitting resumes. Some resumes are from qualified people, some from desperate people who don’t stack up and of course there are overly qualified people too because they’ve become desperate too. With all these people hoping to get in and impress interviewers in person, they just can’t read over every résumé.

So this software basically scans the resumes – all of them – and sorts them into those that meet the needs of the organization and those that don’t. Your problem could be that even though you are 100% qualified for the jobs you are applying to, unfortunately the software is screening you out. So what’s happening is you see a job you really want and one that you’re a perfect fit for. You send your résumé and then wait with some confidence for the phone to ring and it never does. You don’t even get the courtesy of contact. The result? You just don’t know where you could have gone wrong, and you get discouraged, mad, extremely frustrated and it’s all because you can’t figure out how to get to meet people and sell them on your skills, qualifications and experience. You’ve become disillusioned and at times just want to give up.

Don’t give up on yourself; when you do feel like giving up remember why you started looking for work in the first place. It’s not YOU that employer’s are rejecting, it’s that résumé with your credentials on it; that resume or CV is the problem. So what you need to learn and understand is how to get past the software and on to the short list of people to interview.

So what employer’s are doing is making job postings which state what they are looking for in the people they want to interview. You may not want to do what I’m going to suggest – your choice of course – but please consider trying it. Grab yourself a highlighter. Now with the highlighter, pick out all the key words and phrases in the job posting – the things the employer has said they want applicants to have. Don’t highlight the entire sentence in the job posting, just the key words in the sentences. Do this now.

Okay done? You should have a job posting that’s now got many highlighted words and phrases. What you’ve just done is the key first step; understanding exactly what the employer has identified as their desired qualifications. The next step is just as crucial. Now what you’ve got to do is make sure that the highlighted words appear on your résumé. Here’s how. Every time you add a word or phrase to your résumé that matches what you highlighted, take a pen and put a check mark over the highlighted word on the job posting; not at the start of the sentence but right on top of the words.

As you do this, you’ll become more confident that what the employer’s looking for is now on your résumé; you’ve become a better fit. If you pulled out a résumé you’ve sent in for jobs in the past and you still have the job ads you replied to, I’ll bet that you’ll see that on paper you didn’t match up very well.

Now, so far good for you. You’ve improved your chances, but there’s more. That software they use can’t make sense of certain things you’re resume might contain. First of all it can only read certain fonts (the size and style of the letters you type). Ariel size 12 is one standard style and size it does read so even though it’s pretty basic, use it.

This software can’t read anything in italics, you know when the letters are slanted like this. Then there are things like putting boxes around certain sections or even the entire page – it won’t read anything in the boxes. Neither does it read underlined text and if you’re using a template anywhere in your résumé, remove it because it doesn’t read this either.

This means for each job you apply to you should be making up a different resume; one that addresses all the key words and phrases for that single job ad. Sounds like a lot of work but it really isn’t and you’ll start getting better results.

Look it’s tough getting ahead; which is precisely why I’m hoping you find this helpful. All the best in the job search.

 

Please Don’t Delay Your Job Search


Many people eventually experience a disruption in the continuity of their work history. That is to say they find themselves out of work either by choice or through means out of their control. Depending on why one is out of work, it is reasonable to take a break for reasons of physical and/or mental health; the length of which can vary greatly. Yet wait too long before jumping back in and you could have added challenges.

The most obvious problem that comes to mind is the gap of time between your last job and the present day. If the days turn grow into month’s, you should expect a prospective employer is going to question what you’ve done with your time. The reason this is of interest to them is because typically they like to hire people who use their time profitably; who keep up good work habits – often labelled as having a good work ethic.  You may not have paid employment it’s true, but how have you used your time to your advantage?

Now while it’s no one’s business but your own, another key reason to get back in the hunt for paid employment is to shore up the financial bleeding that unemployment accompanies. Sure you might have employment insurance of some kind where you live, but the weeks you are entitled to receive these benefits does go by quickly. True, you might also have severance pay from your last employer, but the sooner you get working, the more you can see these as additional funds and not your only funds.

You could also find – although you would never have thought so in the past – that you come to find certain aspects of being out of work attractive. So much so in fact, that giving what it takes to find work, often described as a full-time job itself, is more work than you’re ready to put in. This isn’t good! You could be falling into a bad situation where you’re rationalizing that your new-found free time is your right to enjoy; that you’ve had it all wrong up to now.

If you’re in a situation where you’ve got a second income in the family from a partner, could be that you’re immediate need to contribute financially to meet payments isn’t that urgent. While this is the case, your partner might now be caught in a very uncomfortable situation of wanting you working to contribute financially, but also not wanting to put too much pressure on you to get a job. Caught up in this predicament, they might be feeling increasing pressure at the same time you seem to be feeling very little pressure at all. This isn’t a good recipe for a happy partnership.

Of course as many people find, conditions in the job market change from time to time, as does how to even go about finding work. Many people who have to suddenly find work after decades of having held jobs find they don’t know how to go about it. The memories they have of handing out resumes in person and their personal experiences of having found getting a job easily are soon replaced with current realities; the job search experience has shifted and continues to evolve.

I need not tell many readers that the issue of age crops up often too. I’ve got people in their mid-forties telling me they are feeling their age is working against them. If 20 somethings are saying they aren’t being taken seriously because they lack experience, have we got to where only the 30 somethings are the ideal age to find work? Let’s hope not!

Despite all the above, there is another reason – the most troubling quite frankly and the hardest to overcome – that you should get back into the job search earlier and not later. You could develop a very unattractive attitude of bitterness, resentment or anger. Without even being aware of it, you might not be able to help it showing on your face, in your sighs of exasperation, your body language etc. Suddenly you’re at risk of becoming a prematurely old and bitter person who may have the skills to do the job and the experience, but the attitude you’ve come to own makes you a bad hiring choice.

It’s only natural to look at ourselves and see what we’ve got to offer an employer. We know more than anyone what skills and experience we have and how these could benefit others. Unfortunately, what we may fail to see when we look at things from this perspective is the people we are up against for employment and what they offer. Employer’s don’t have this dilemma. They have the benefit of having many applicants from which to choose for the jobs they interview for. They therefore look not just at the skills, education and experience applicants have, but at the intangibles too; the feelings they get from the conversations they have.

These feelings – call them gut reactions if you will – they pay attention to. They are trying to address the chemistry that will exist if you’re hired. Will you add to something positive or bring negativity and disrupt the current situation. A growing period of unemployment can make coming across as upbeat, positive, happy and enthusiastic harder to do, if not downright impossible.

Sure take a reasonable break after your employment ends to refocus on finding your next job; but do get going!

Believe In Yourself, Then Get Going!


“It doesn’t matter if I believe in myself or not because that doesn’t change the fact that other people are holding me back, denying me my chances. Bitter? I’ve got every right to be. Unemployed, no job interview in years; at my age who’s going to hire me now? I haven’t got a hope. I might as well just pack it in and give up.”

The above pretty much is word for word what I was told by someone out-of-work recently. Examining what was said, breaking it down into pieces, here’s what I see as issues:

  • no personal accountability
  • self-perception as too old
  • loss of hope
  • bitter, frustrated attitude
  • lack of interview experience (perhaps fearful as a result)
  • unemployed

That’s a quick summation of what’s been expressed. I wonder as you read those words if you did so in your own voice or if you imagined another? Did you picture the speaker and if you did so, what did they look like? Have you pictured a woman or a man and how old did you create them in your mind? 64? 60? 58?

The above statement came from the mouth of a man of 51. His prevailing attitude is unfortunately his biggest problem because quite frankly he’s projecting a strong, negative image. An employer would find him a tremendous turnoff for he comes across as a cancerous virus, dumping his negatively on everyone he interacts with. He’s got a self-imposed scowl on his face, appears to look at people with smug disdain, and there’s no way he would be welcomed into a workforce for fear he’d infect those around him. Even though he’s of average height, he somehow appears to look down on those around him.

The irony is that he’s got job-ready skills and experience. The bitterness he’s carrying around with him however has left him with no patience for tailoring his résumé to each job. This he declares is an utter waste of his time. I didn’t point out that being unemployed time is one thing he has in abundance. Why go there and be provocative?

Now the one thing people know who have worked with me is that I’m not afraid to share with people my personal opinion when it comes to identifying their challenges. In other words, I’ll tell you what I believe you need to know and not only what you’d like to hear. It might be nice to hear only the things which you are doing well, but sometimes the most important information you can have shared with you are the things you might consider changing and/or improving upon.

After deciding upon what to share; the information the person needs to hear, the next challenge is deciding how to communicate that information. Sometimes a soft, gentle approach works best, lest you offend the person. Letting someone self-identify their challenges works well on occasion, or having the person tell you what others have suggested to get at what they’ve perhaps heard before. Ah but then there are times you decide that while this person before you is deserving of your respect, what they truly respect is blunt, raw, no holds barred, tell-it-like-it-is, is, in-your-face brutal honesty; “Your attitude sucks. You’re your own worst enemy. Stop using your age as your personal crucifix.” Take your pick.

When all is said and done two things really emerged; he’d stopped believing in himself and he wasn’t doing anything to help himself. Instead, he was engaging in self-destructive behaviour, threw up and fortified on a daily basis a defence that kept people away from him and limited himself in the process. To actually get the help he needs, he’d have to drop the façade, open himself up to trying and be receptive to intervention. Ironic then that before he could believe in himself, he chose to find someone he believed in and respected.

Getting some job interview experience is relatively easy. You start preparing by defining what a job interview actually is. You find the questions you’re likely to be asked, go over the format you’ll use to answer them, cover body language, first and last impressions etc. then have a go at a mock interview. Building on that, you ready targeted resumes with the help of someone who knows what they are doing. With better applications circulating, interviews are coming so get ready. So much for the easy stuff.

The more important and harder aspects of preparing for job interviews is what’s going on between the ears. You can improve your chances immensely simply by going in with a positive attitude which comes about when you actually DO believe in yourself. Look, no one owes you a job. Like most other people, you’ve got to prove you’ve got what the employer is looking for and needs, backed up with proof from your past. Are you going to face rejection? It’s highly likely so expect you’ll put in some effort that won’t produce the immediate results you want. Get over it. Don’t give up. Get going again. You owe it to yourself.

Job searching requires some mental fortitude. Believe in your ability to eventually succeed and get what you’re after. This must be your prevailing thought. Accentuate the positive and you’re not required to see the world through rose-coloured glasses.

If you have a hard time changing that attitude ask yourself honestly what it’s doing for you to keep it.

 

 

 

 

 

What’s Your Status?


Not all those who are out of work are seeking it, nor are those who seek it similarly motivated to find it. It could be that you or someone you know are among the growing number who are either dissatisfied with their current job but content to keep it or unemployed and increasingly frustrated to the point you are no longer actively looking. In both cases, the growing numbers are unsettling.

There is a tragic irony at the moment when what employers’ look for most in those they hire are enthusiasm for the work to be performed, bringing a positive attitude to the workplace and self-investment. Where’s the irony? It exists in the growing numbers of workers who have for some time now grown increasingly bitter, discouraged and frustrated with the prevailing behaviours of employer’s generally, who treat their employees as expendable and interchangeable.

Ironic as that might be, there is a real cost to our society that is hard to measure quantitatively but is real just the same. Treat an employee with respect, give reason for them to believe that they can aspire to positions of greater responsibility and corresponding income and workforce engagement increases. With a more engaged workforce, individual workers commit more to what they produce, increasing their overall efficiency, resulting in turn in better products and services.

However, the opposite is also true. Treat an employee with a lack of respect, give them little reason or hope to think they will ever aspire to positions of greater responsibility and limit their financial empowerment, and they disengage from the workforce. Individual workers are less committed to their work, productivity drops as does the quality of the goods and services produced. Rare indeed is the employee who will continually invest fully of themselves and continue to invest at a high level when they don’t feel valued by their employer.

As for the unemployed, it is no surprise to find that when a person has little to no reason to feel encouraged and hopeful that they will find a job, they lose enthusiasm for the process. We might meet a person who is out of work and depending on the moment we find them see them heavily invested or entirely detached from seeking employment.

Whether a person is looking for a survival job or a job with meaning that they attach to it, how they experience the job search has a great deal with how fast or prolonged that job search will be. So the job seeker who finds themselves getting no replies at all to their applications – not even an acknowledgement that they’ve applied – this person will grow increasingly despondent. The person who gets acknowledged, and even better the odd interview and some meaningful feedback has reason to hope.

It is common for an unemployed person to wonder, “What’s wrong with me?”, “What am I not doing?”. Without feedback, some go on making the same mistakes out of ignorance, then lose enthusiasm to even look or eventually stop looking altogether. The cost to the person then rises; gaps in resumes appear, smiles morph into faces of consternation, the optimistic turn doubtful, the experienced lose their relevance.

No wonder than that a number of employers openly question the quality of applicants that approach them for employment. Where did all the highly motivated, skilled workers with current work histories and best practices go? It is far too easy to lay all the blame at the door of all employers. Some in fact are exceptionally good at cultivating investment in the people they employ.

This problem of disengagement isn’t confined to the out-of-work only. There are many current workers who are holding on to jobs they once found challenging and satisfying who are now just putting in time. They are performing at levels just good enough to keep their jobs, but they mentally invest less and less and produce items and offer services with less investment. The result is that the employer becomes interested only as it affects their bottom line and addresses not the core of the problem but oft-times the symptoms.

So why do workers stay in jobs they no longer feel engaged performing? Primarily it comes back to the economy. It’s precarious to leave the known for the unknown; security of employment only to start new and fresh in the hopes of not just getting a job elsewhere but regaining things like seniority, similar benefits like the number of vacation weeks one’s earned. With so much competition out on the streets already, maybe it’s fear that keeps many from moving on. And of course, putting a résumé together, writing letters, going to interviews, being rejected, trying again and networking etc. just seems like so much more effort than what one’s doing at the present.

This isn’t a good recipe for finding the brightest and best. This is a recipe that could eventually with the right agitation lead to major changes by way of disruptive instigation brought about by necessity for change. More people growing anxious about finding employment; more finding it harder to feel acknowledged for their efforts as well as their results.

While respect for the job seeker isn’t the only answer, respect for people no matter their employment status and ensuring that work performed is meaningful and appreciated is a good start.

What’s your take on some of the thoughts I’ve raised here?

Fed Up Being Unemployed


Okay let’s start with the premise that you’re fed up. I mean you’ve grown so frustrated with trying to get a meaningful job that pays well that it’s left you confused on how to succeed and bitter. It seems no matter what you tried in the past, no matter who you applied to for a job, in the end the result was the same; you’re not wanted.

Seems to me that hearing the message, “Just keep trying” rings kind of hollow. How many times can you be expected to keep at it hoping for a better result? So you give up. Then after having packed it in you start feeling that it’s worth it to try again. Why? Usually it’s because the life you’ve got at the moment isn’t the one you want for yourself; you deserve better and you’re motivated to try again until you ultimately succeed or you give up once more.

Maybe you’d be open to hearing a few words of encouragement? If so, I’d like to offer you some. I suppose the first thing I’d like to say is that it is a good sign that you aren’t content to keep living the way your are now. That feeling that you want more is the seed of Hope that’s buried deep in your core. ‘Hope’ my dear reader, is at the core of so many people’s thoughts who push off from some known shore for the great journey’s they embark on. Hope is what causes them to leave the safe and known for the uncertainty and yet-to-be discovered.

Now keeping with that image of some adventurer embarking on a journey; the early stages of a journey involve traveling through the norm. The sailor who sets to some unknown land far away first has to get beyond the waters that are well chartered. The hiker deviating from some known path had to first hike what they knew to get to the point where they chose something previously passed up on.

It’s the same with you and your job search. You rely on what you know when it comes to looking for a job until you come across some better way of going about it. This makes absolute sense. However, just like the hiker and the explorer decided at some point to do something they’d never before done, it also stands to reason that you should do something you’ve never done if you expect the results to be more satisfying than you’ve experienced. Going about looking for a meaningful job the way you’ve gone about it in the past is likely to end with similar results; results you don’t want to experience again.

It’s important to realize that you’re not at fault or to blame for going about things the way you are; even if you later realize a number of mistakes you are made. After all, until someone introduces a better way, a more effective way of getting you where you want to be, the only way you’d have succeeded entirely on your own is through trial and error, until you lucked out on whatever works. That seems pretty high risk and could take a long time.

So it seems like you have a choice to make; do things the way you’ve always done them assuming this is how everybody goes about looking for work or, open yourself up to getting help and direction from someone who knows a better way. That ‘better way’ by the way, is likely going to involve some effort on your part in two ways. One, you have to pause long enough to be open to learning the new way and two you have to be willing to give it a shot and carry out what you learn.

Keep something in mind will you? When you’re learning something new you will likely feel the urge to just get going and apply, apply, apply! But throwing your résumé around everywhere hasn’t worked to this point has it? Pausing to learn, being taught something new isn’t  everybody’s idea of a good time. You might be the kind of person that finds sitting down and being taught how to go about looking for work in 2017 is really pushing your limits. Do it anyhow. Seriously; you want a different result don’t you? Sure you do. This is the price you pay for success.

Look you deserve a decent job. You probably aren’t going to end up running some major corporation or discovering the cure for Cancer. That you want to improve your lot in Life however, do something you find personally meaningful and make a future that’s better than the present is commendable. And if I may add, you’re worth it; we all are.

You should seriously think then about reaching out for help. Where to start though? Check in with just about any Social Services organization in your local community. If you’re not in the right place, a few phone calls will likely get you pointed in the right direction. Best news is that the help you need is likely free. Sit down with open ears and a good attitude and do something you haven’t done yet; give yourself over to their expertise. If it works, great. If the chemistry doesn’t work, try someone else.

When you decide to improve things and then act, you’re already becoming the successful person you envision.