The Right Kind of Selfish

Last night, a group of my friends and I were discussing our work situations. Some of us have had some really great circumstances but majority of us had horror stories ranging from: unexpected lay-offs; bullying bosses that killed our confidence; businesses closing; black balling; being unable to move up; and managers lying to us about the job description so they can pay us less. Some of us have moved on to greener pastures, while the rest of us just felt stuck. But are we really?

After that conversation, I recalled something I wrote from two years ago regarding the cut-throat business mentality that seemed to dominate the area I grew up in. I was tired of being surrounded by selfish, “Machiavellian” type people. So I decided to move out of the area in hopes of finding a more honest, down-to-earth option for a career. To my dismay, I soon discovered that I was going to deal with these scenarios everywhere. At that point, I made a choice: I would stop allowing myself to be the victim. I needed to be selfish, in the right way.

I wrote the following about this realization and the things I learned along the way:

“I decided that there was a type of selfish that was fine- being selfish of yourself. Sometimes you need to put yourself first for once, as long as it doesn’t take advantage of other people. I started to care about myself and because of that, things changed for the better. I missed so many opportunities to fulfill dreams of mine because I was too busy putting other people first. This time, I didn’t let anyone hold me back and I’ve done so much because of it. I’m actually proud of the things I’ve accomplished because I finally allowed myself the chance to achieve them.

With each accomplishment came an increased sense of self-worth. I began feeling good about myself. I believed that I could do anything I wanted if I tried hard enough to make it happen. I learned how to make sure no one made me doubt my abilities or question if I was good enough. I became self-assured and felt that I was someone worthy of great things; that I had more to offer–that I was more than average.

With that self-worth, I was able to handle life’s curve balls: I learned that giving people the benefit of the doubt doesn’t mean they won’t disappoint me. However, when that situation arises, I could now deal with things much better. I also realized that when something goes wrong, two things can happen: I can let the situation control me or I can determine the end result. Earlier in life I would get so wrapped up in the negativity of the situation that I’d be consumed by it. But now I know how to take it for what it is, figure out a solution, be proactive, and move along. There’s so much good out there, why would I waste another second on something that clearly isn’t?

This selfishness allowed me to grow as a person. When I believed I hit a brick wall, I now realize that there’s ways to get around it even if it takes a bit more effort. I learned that sometimes life doesn’t just hand me things and that it’s up to me to make opportunities happen.

It wasn’t until I finally took the time to care about myself that I realized not all selfishness is bad. This way of living has helped me become a better version of myself and, in turn, allows me to offer the best I can to those around me. Maybe if more people took the time to focus on themselves and strive to reach their personal goals, they wouldn’t need to use others to get ahead. Wouldn’t that be quite the concept?”

I know that many of you out there have had rough situations like the ones mentioned earlier. I know there are also plenty of you that are burnt out and beat up from lost job opportunities and dead-end interviews. Sometimes it’s hard not to question if you’re good enough if you’re dealing with rejection after rejection. It can also be hard on your confidence and ego if you weren’t even given the opportunity to be rejected. But you can’t let that define who you are. Otherwise, you’ll portray a lesser version of yourself and others will judge you based off of that because that’s all they’ll see.

Get your self-confidence back, that way you’ll be able to put your best foot forward in your next interview. Take a break from checking the job boards and take some time to build yourself back up. Set personal goals for yourself, even if it’s a small one. In my eyes, an accomplishment is an accomplishment no matter how big or small. Building that confidence back up could allow you to handle the set-backs better and know how to react in a way that can bounce you back in a favorable direction. I believe that you can find what’s right for you if you try these suggestions.

As of right now, I don’t know what the future holds for me. However, I am confident that if I take the time to do these things, then I will be paving the way to the greatest future possible.

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Is Job Hopping Really a Bad Thing?

Some recruiting and hiring managers would look at a “job-hoppers” resume and most likely shred it without even a second thought. Job hopping was considered to be career suicide in the past because employers would consider the candidate to be a high-risk employee. The assumption was that they were flaky, would not be committed to a company, and would leave the company high and dry. This assumption has caused recruiters to turn the job hoppers away in previous years. The economy and workforce has changed since that outlook but, unfortunately, hiring practices have not changed with it.

Job hopping isn’t always a bad thing and recruiters shouldn’t turn away a candidate without digging deeper. Sure, there are the people that fit the unreliable, job-hopping stereotype. On the other hand, there are plenty of people in this economy’s workforce that do not. For example, some people may not have willingly job hopped. Over the recent years, many people have been laid off and/or have had a hard time finding stable work. Because of this, people may not have left jobs voluntarily or may have had to take odd jobs just to stay financially afloat. These individuals may have been the most dedicated and hardworking employees a company could have but were just dealt a bad hand. Without investigating their job history further, a recruiter may have missed a gem.

Another reason why a candidate may have job hopped is because they haven’t found what they are looking for. There are so many options a person can have when it comes to workplace, job type, culture, benefits, etc. Sometimes a person will take a position and realize it is not a right fit for them. Once they come to this conclusion, they may move on to find something they can be happy with. Is this a bad thing? No, it’s probably a good thing that a person is very set on what they want out of a job and employer. Will they potentially leave your company within the first year? Maybe, if you don’t take the time to determine if you are a fit for each other. This candidate clearly has an idea of what they want and what they won’t settle for. You know what your company can offer. It would pay to take the time to look deeper and see whether or not you would be a fit for each other before making the investment.

Some job hoppers take temporary/short-term positions to obtain experience for a company or position they have their heart set on. I could actually use myself as an example for this one. After finishing my BSBA in Human Resources I had attempted to apply for human resources based jobs only to be rejected due to lack of experience. Well, how was I supposed to get experience if no one would hire me to get it?  Simple: take temporary positions that were more flexible on hiring people with little to no experience. Sure, it’s been a bumpy ride over the past year and it’s been scary to not have a stable job, but it’s what I had to do. I could wait forever for a company to take a blind chance on me or I could take temporary jobs here and there and gradually build my experience to meet the requirements that the companies have. Job hopping was an investment for my future.  My resume probably looks like a recruiter’s worst nightmare but if you take away all the companies and job titles, you’ll be left with the experience, knowledge, and skills that companies require.

Sometimes job hoppers might be more valuable than employees that have been with you for years.  Job hoppers have experience in working with many different companies. Their experience will expose them to procedures, practices, software, and much more. Because they have knowledge of different ways of doing things, they may be able to help your company find ways to be more efficient. Maybe they can suggest a new way to do a task that can cut down the time to complete it. Maybe they know of software that would better suit your company’s needs. Perhaps they have connections or have networked with a client that you’ve been dying to get business from. I’m just saying: sometimes job hoppers can open minds, eyes, or doors for your company.

So, recruiters, next time you receive a resume that has a horrifying job history, please remember the details above before making assumptions about the candidate. Take the time to speak to the individual and assess whether or not they could be a good employee for your company or a costly decision. Sometimes you may be pleasantly surprised. Some of these candidates may just be waiting to commit to a dream opportunity that presents itself.

Some other articles you can read on the subject:

http://excelle.monster.com/benefits/articles/3643-job-hopping-career-killer-or-savior

http://www.hreonline.com/HRE/story.jsp?storyId=533347268

 

The Importance of Hiring Employees That Ask “Why?”

It seems to me that too many companies are reluctant to hire candidates that have a strong sense of curiosity, especially in terms of why company policies and procedures are the way they are. The reason why companies choose to pass on these candidates is because they feel that they will be too hard to manage. Additionally, most people are defensive when it comes to change. However, sometimes this change is necessary.

In the past, employees only got information from education and what their employers taught them. They rarely questioned if there was a better way because they didn’t have access to information to make them wonder. But now, things are different. Candidates in this job market have the advantage of technology at their fingertips. They can research information on subjects, explore different ways to do things, and network with people around the globe to get different perspectives. With this knowledge, people tend to start questioning an employer’s current practices and offer suggestions for better ways to handle business.

I believe that this is the age of “why” and some people have dubbed the new Gen Y as Gen “why” because of this. The issue is that many employers seem to shy away from this rather than welcome it. They may fear that the worker that asks “why” will cause issue in the workplace and cause chaos because they will influence other workers to start question “the way things are.” Although that is a valid concern, I think that more employers need to embrace that and find a way to channel it in way that can benefit the company.

To gain a competitive advantage, you need to be one step ahead of your competitors. You need to know how the market is shifting, what the consumers are demanding, and how to create a product or service that can be addicting to the public. How can a company be one step ahead and look forward to new opportunities if their whole workforce dutifully follows all policies, procedures, and practices that they were taught? To move ahead you need to have the people that challenge what is. You need to encourage innovation, allow employees to express their ideas and suggestions, and find a way to control the idea enough to make it work for your industry.

Too much regulated structure in education and the workplace will kill creativity, and ultimately your competitive edge. Do not deny the person that questions things. These will potentially be the people that find a way to have three steps ahead of the competition rather than one. Be open to it, encourage it, and listen to those who have the courage to speak up. I often wonder how many companies have kicked themselves for denying a candidate or employee that seemed to go against the grain, only to have that person go on and create their own empire. I think of people like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates that got denied jobs and went on to outshine the companies that turned them away.

Companies need to stop telling people that things can’t be done because they’ve never been done before. Stop closing your minds to new ideas. Why not be the company that wows the world once they show them what is possible? Why not go down in history as the company that took that chance? Why?

Find the candidate or employee that asks you why- they will be the one that changes the business world.

Here are some other articles you can read on the subject. Enjoy:

http://www.inc.com/harvey-mackay/the-power-of-why.html

http://www.reliableplant.com/Read/18393/power-of-asking-%27why%27-how-it-makes-employees-think-grow

http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2012/03/change_your_employees_minds_ch.html