Yesterday, I got a phone call from a young lady who wanted me to help her write an essay about who she is. She said she had to write it in order to get a job. The request made me curious and decided to meet her in person.
She entered the room like a hurricane looking very upset. In less than 20 seconds she was sitting in a chair muttering: “Ok, let’s do it. What do I have to write to get a job?”.
While looking at her, I recalled how many times I asked myself the same question. I remembered all advices about how to write a good job application. Many of them were focused on satisfying employer’s needs. Advices were going in one direction: “Read everything about the company. Make sure you know by heart their values and then write a job application using their language. Talk about what is important to them. It doesn’t really matter what you think and who you really are. You just have to say what they expect from you and afterwards when you get hired it doesn’t really matter anymore.
I usually felt like Woody Allen in Ants movie asking himself: “I mean you know, what is it, I’m supposed to do everything for the colony, and what about my needs? What about me? This whole system makes me feel – insignificant! And I would get very same answer: You are right, you are insignificant.
Anyway, like a good little girl I shut up my voice and did what I was advised to do. And you know what? I got a job. Not only I got one job, but I got five jobs at the same time and just had to make a decision which one would I go for. Sounds great? Well….
While participating in those interviews I thought I got the idea how it feels to be a person with multiple personalities, because I prepared five great “true” stories that had very little to do with the reality. And I was talented in convincing myself to believe in the stories. I guess we are all sometimes good at it – in telling ourselves and others interesting stories that we tend to believe in.
To make a long story short, I ended up working 12 years for the same company just accommodating my stories and company expectations. I got a good position and a good income until one day I got sick. That was the beginning of a new story called: “A journey to authenticity”. So, I asked myself was that really a good strategy?
I wondered how my business carrier would look like if early in my career somebody asked me to write an essay about who I am. Maybe, instead of writing that I am a team player, very organized person who loves statistics and finance, dedicated to reaching companies goals and visions, I could have written that first of all I am an artist, very creative one, who loves math, because in my head its form of art, who is more individual then a team player, born to lead people and connect them –one naturally talented psychotherapist. Maybe then I would say that I am addicted to learning and reaching out for new knowledge. In the end I guess I would add that my great passion is to help people live authentically their life and not someone else’s while they are here on earth.
On the interview, when I was asked what my weakness is, I would not tell them: “My weakness is that sometimes I am a compulsive worker and work too much. Instead of that I could have laughed and told them that I am a compulsive dreamer who is specialized in making dreams come true and inspiring people to conquer their own dreams.
Well, all would be great if I knew that about myself then, but I found out most of those things much later in my life. Anyway, even then I knew I didn’t like finance and I was not very organized person who is crazy about team work. But, if I wrote exactly that in my job application, I might not have gotten a job in a bank or even better to say I wouldn’t search for it.
It all ran through my head for a minute and I laughed and looked at a beautiful young lady in front of me and like a caterpillar from the Alice in Wonderland I just relaxed and asked her…”So who are you?… I mean really who are you?” We sat with that question for an hour and ended up asking the same question for the next four sessions until finally she wrote her essay.
Unlike me, she found out that she would love to work for the company she applied for, because her potential job is connected to her values and purpose. I don’t have to tell you that she also got a job, because out of all of the participants she acted most congruently and was so sure that she is a right person to get hired that employer actually believed her.
So now, I dare you to ask yourself “Who are you?” each day, each week, each month until you get at least a direction. And you know what: as you grow old the answer can change…but you should be aware of the change that is occurring.
If you discover that you are in a good job position relax and be happy, and if you realize that you are not, go for your dreams and find a job that will serve your purpose and not the other way around.
And please in the meantime… don’t ask yourself: is it possible? Start by doing what’s necessary, then do what’s possible and all the sudden you will be doing the impossible – making you dreams come true.