Finding A Job You Love Starts With Knowing Yourself
By Anna Robb
What type of person are you? What type of employee are you? How old are you? Do you fit in Generation X or Y? Are you a Millennial? Are you ambitious? Do you want to be in charge or do you want to take the back seat in a work environment? Understanding you is the best way to ensure you end up in a job you like, and if you don’t know, perhaps it’s time to begin a self-study.
I hate the typecasting of generations. I have met Generation Xs who act like Millennials and Millennials who have been the most loyal and hard-working individuals that I have come across. It’s very easy to classify people and pigeonhole them in their generation as an explanation for their behavior.
More than a generational assumption, an individual’s employee profile is defined by their culture, the family and community environment they were brought up in and an accumulation of their work experiences leading up to the moment they stand in your office/theatre/stadium/audition room.
These collection of factors are far more indicative of who you are than anything else.
But not all employers may think this, so when going for a job, prepare yourself that the person interviewing you may make assumptions on you even before you have walked through the door (and be careful how you present yourself on Facebook, employers WILL look and may have that representation as an impression of you before you meet).
So how do you combat this? Know who you are. Think about your culture, be that the country that you come from, the state that you live in, the neighborhood you grew up in. Assess your family and community network and your history within it. Know that if you have had an easy life and strong family upbringing and, as blessed as that is, you may not be as tough as you think you are. Maybe you have had a difficult family dynamic and there are fears and insecurities that you face each day because of it. Think about your community and your influences. Did you party from ages 20 to 25 and let your career path go by the wayside? That’s ok. I’m not here to judge, but what did you learn from it and does that stack up to someone of your age equivalent that worked their asses off during the time you were out partying?
Do you like being in charge? Ok. Why do you like being in charge? Do you like to take a back seat? Ok. Why do you like to take the back seat? Is your position of leader or supporter a preference because that is who you are, or is it a direct result of the accumulation of things that you have allowed to influence you in your life?
If you can classify yourself, if you know why you are the way you are, that’s emotional intelligence. And I don’t mean the story that you tell yourself about who you are, I’m talking about actually who you are. It’s not “I’m a white American female that grew up in California and went to school at blah blah blah and I am a bit of a tomboy because I hung out with my brothers growing up”. That’s a story. A story you have written to characterize yourself. You are not that, no one is just that. In truth, we are ever evolving, ever changing, ever learning human beings and the knowledge of actually who you are sounds a little more like this;
I get frustrated when I don’t feel on top of my work and sometimes I can take that out on my colleagues, I don’t think and plan very well when I miss eating lunch, I am scared when I am in front of a new group of people, I am good at prioritizing my day when I have had enough sleep, I feel guilty when I don’t get the time to give my staff the attention they need.
When you know what triggers your emotions, you start to become an observer of them. Once you can observe them, then you can control them.
Emotional intelligence is watching yourself have a reaction and learning over time how to manage it. Catching it before it’s released. Oh, look at that anger arising in me as my boss is speaking to me like I’m an idiot. Let’s see if I can control this anger inside so I can have the calmness to respond professionally.
It doesn’t even need to be external. It could be completely internal and self-harming. Oh, look at me feeling guilty about eating that extra piece of cake. We coach ourselves all day every day with thousands of thoughts but are you actually paying attention to that inner voice? And is that inner voice helpful or harmful?
So when you are going for a job, don’t pretend to be someone you are not.
Being real with yourself will allow you to smash an employer’s assumptions about you. Not because you need to prove them right or wrong but because a profound knowledge of who you are allows you to answer questions with confidence and from a place that is authentic. In this way, your answers are honest and not rehearsed, forced responses that you think the employer wants to hear. If the employer sees that you are aware of your place in the world, and you have a realistic assessment of your actual strengths and weaknesses within that, you can’t go wrong.
And if you do go wrong and miss out on the job, perhaps it wasn’t the right job fit for you anyway.
So again, I ask. What type of person are you? When you can honestly answer that question, when you have really dug into the depths of your own place on this earth, you are ready to go out and get a job. And far more likely to find the one you love.