Thoughts on Professionalism and Sacrifice
As I look for a job, I’m been able to reflect on certain truths about getting hired and what factors people evaluate in looking for a job, in terms of living, budgeting, and emotional health. These are just some thoughts, and if you can find some use for them, by all means, use it as an opportunity to reflect on what you look for in searching for a job, and the differences and similarities.
Hiring Employees and Emotional Health:
I think there are some significant flaws in the way people hire people based off of their accomplishments alone. It would almost be better for employers to be able to read people, assess a candidates’ willingness to learn, and take it from there. Ask me about who my favorite people or responsibilities in the places I used to work or volunteer. Ask me about a popular news issue, and look for respectful, judicious, and yet, still involved attitudes in how I respond, both in the words I choose and my body language. Ask me what I admire about my friends and what kind of people I like to work with. Look for tones of stress, conflict, avoidance, being completely oblivious, aversion to generalized groups of people or stereotyping, and distorting reality. If a person has a preference for something or some trait, look to see if they speak from general knowledge about themselves and a knowing flexibility, or internalized anger, prejudice, being startled or on edge, or even malice. If people panic somewhat or take a ton of clueless time to answer questions, that does not bode well. If they take time answering questions and make careful decisions, they are probably more logical people. If they could answer immediately, they probably care about emotions. If they can do both, that is usually healthiest from what I have seen, but those things aren’t often obvious. Look for word choice.
If you want to hire better employees, you should get impartial feedback on your own failings and those of your coworkers. Generally, people are more put off by people than anything else, unless they can’t afford to be. People look for the same things in picking out work environments as they do in friends. The only difference is that they also have to factor in their budget, their families, their goals, and what future opportunities may arise from having worked for an organization or having gained a specific skill set. From there, analytically speaking, an employee can evaluate each of those factors by priority and make an informed decision. But if you want healthy employees that can meet and exceed their responsibilities, that can hold an opinion but not cause a problem, and that can adapt to challenges and remain semi-unfazed, you need to look for signals of emotional health and make calculated decisions in a fair manner, based on what your company or organization most needs. If you need someone who is cranky as hell, but more importantly, can really crunch some numbers, hire them and be nice. See what happens. Take it from there.
People want good employees that increase the value of their staff through human capital (knowledge), the ability to work well with others, and flexibility under stress. Often, people who have a balanced approach to logic and their emotions (while still retaining each) can build their credibility by simply being reliable and themselves, and meeting or exceeding expectations genuinely. If you are the glue, you are typically least likely to get fired unless it’s necessary. If people truly respect you and care for you as a person, they may often go out of their way to help you and collaborate with you for each person’s respective goals, or the goals of the organization.
Ego and Resumes:
I really don’t like how selfish the pursuit of getting a job seems to have become. I’m really not cut out to be a “shark”, whatever that means. Whenever I revise my resume, I don’t get the pressure to talk up my accomplishments. It seems genuinely dumb. Sure, I’ve done cool things here and there, and I hope that they would have made a difference. But they were usually somewhat fun and also, necessary. Taking credit for good things I do for free is unnatural, unkind, and completely ignores the fact that they weren’t meant to be simplified and bulleted for my own personal gain and padding a future employer’s ego. I just did them. I don’t like listing what I do and then having people tell me whether or not they are valuable or meaningful. I’d rather just have people respect them, and leave it at that. It makes me sad when people evaluate good things as transactional only, and it makes me uneasy that in writing this, people may think I have some sort of false humility that I really could care less to have to think about. If it is good, necessary, and helpful, do it. Do it because you will learn. Do it because you can. It should really be that simple.
As an employee or someone looking for other opportunities, the people who are acquainted with who you are as a person but can also give genuinely appreciative assessments of your work are the people who will become your strongest references. Instead of faculty that genuinely don’t care and people entirely unacquainted with your work, ask people who respect your work and can also know you as a person (to the degree you are comfortable with). They will probably be glad to provide you with references if you ask nicely.
Criticism and Uncertain Circumstances (including unpaid Internships)
Being able to take criticism comes from making your ego smaller and being able to problem solve impartially, considering others or organizational goals before oneself. If you have strong skills and the ability to navigate complex situations, don’t settle for a job that makes you feel uncomfortable unless you have to. If you take a job for money, treat it as a chore that you simply have to do. This will lower your expectations and help you do it well, or even happily. If you take a job for free, for the experience, learn from the most you can and find a way to raise what you need (in terms of money), or learn minimalism in the name of flexibility. If you have to have fewer things and still have a stable living situation and good mental health. If you have to have fewer things and still have a stable living, mental health, and security net, don’t be ungrateful. Those things are enormously valuable and go without price. Take it as an opportunity to learn your limits and what you truly need or desire, in terms of creature comforts. This depends on who you are as a person. However, going without will make you more grateful on the long term. Waiting makes the heart grow fonder. If you have to give up your car, live with family or with several others in a tiny apartment, sleep on a couch often, or eat cheaply for an extended period of time, you don’t have to do so miserably. If you have the research and analysis skills through education to find what nutrition information you need to design a healthy way to eat cheaply, or simply ask around, you will have no reason to complain about “eating Ramen”. Use what tips you accumulate to help others; write them down. Focus on gratitude.