‘This is who I am – and they can take me or leave me’ or ‘I will be what ever they want me to be’ are frequent reactions to the stress of job seeking. We turn ourselves into Entrenchers, holding on grimly to our core qualities, or People Pleasers, abandoning these qualities in order to be whoever employers might want us to be.

But informal tracking of university graduates on our Employability programmes identifies distinctive qualities in those who find work quickly. Above all else, they are keen to learn. They listen and engage more than others in the workshop and ask questions informally during the lunch and coffee breaks. They connect our general guidelines with their specific direction – and are good at chatting about that with us, rather than selfishly pushy. We are never surprised when we hear of their job success: they marked themselves out as having all their ducks lined up.

Entrenchers and People Pleasers


Entrenchers can defend themselves so strongly that they prevent themselves connecting to any new opportunities. You may want to:

  • do something to experience those core qualities in some new and scary context.
  • while it’s sensible to play to our strengths, you could be in for a long wait if you are limiting yourself to contexts where they are fully appreciated. What skills are complementary to yours and can you start to develop them? Employers – like web visitors – like dynamic content.
  • Spend a day acting ‘as if’ you have quite different qualities. Reverse engineer your identify and see how it feels.

People Pleasers can seem bland, lacking substance and grit to employers. You may want to:

  • go somewhere where you can express controversial opinions and voice them
  • you can always preface them with ‘I’m sorry if anyone finds this view offensive’
  • create an attention map for yourself where 3 times a day you keep a record of what you’ve been attending to – cross media, where you’ve been going on the web, what you’ve been engaging with. Themes should emerge. Collect these together, focus them and this should say ‘This is my thing’. Now where can you take ‘your thing’ to develop it further?

If there’s one general cause of motivation at work – it’s progress. And recruiters are no different from the rest of us: a keen learner job-seeker being the best bet for contributing to this.

And we can learn vast oceans today for the cost of our internet connection. Twitter is an amazing Personal Learning Network. Every few months I attempt to organize the cowshed better: my last fix of this helped by a friend recommending Getting Things Done . I read the reviews and watched this video. They helped.

Inspiration provided, cognitive overload reduced – and all for free. Lovely.

By szcz

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