What if we had a singular root cause for career difficulties? What if that weren’t bad management, commutes, colleagues, or workloads? What good manager hasn’t had a bad day? What commuting road hasn’t had a collision? What decent colleague hasn’t acted… human? What acceptable workload hasn’t had difficulties? What’s left is bigger: our expectations are smooth, yet the reality is chaotic. If that’s the root cause, then is the resolution just to accept that chaos?
“You’re a rockstar!” That’s the most consistent compliment I’ve received throughout my career. Every positive interaction I’ve had with any rockstar has had two factors, their humble upbeat attitude and leaving you feeling great, with the 10 minutes hanging out with fans waiting to meet Albert Hammond Jr (guitarist from The Strokes) particularly reinforcing that notion. Let’s explore 5 factors I’ve noticed from rockstars and how you can apply them, even if you don’t like rock music!
Jane’s last day into that misaligned technical role ended innocuously. She received two paid weeks to look for work matching her career scope. Other than assisting as she could within her skillset, that time was spent job hunting. Time to go. She went to her lead’s office.
“Any prospects lined up?”
“Nothing solid. I have two interviews lined up soon.”
“I’m so sorry this happened to you. You have my contact information. Stay in touch!”
One thing that’s hurt me frequently was thinking that professional contacts were friends. The problem stems from misgauging what layer of trust we operate on. When I talk like a friend yet they think we’re merely acquaintances, they won’t reciprocate. Is there an easy way to prevent this awkwardness? Is it just as simple as being friendly with people, waiting an arbitrary period of time, before considering them friends? Can our colleagues ever become friends?
I think we fear interviews because of uncertainties. There are infinite factors outside of our control, and remember to “relax, nothing is under control.” What might be under your control? Yourself! Control your physical fitness by resting, eating well, staying hydrated, and arriving early. Control your mental fitness by finding something humorous to enjoy beforehand. Control the interview by preparing yourself with one flexible story that you can build on throughout the conversation. Here’s mine:
I have the technical aptitude, mental fortitude, and capacity to learn a few higher paying skills in my field. I’ve turned them all down. One director was stunned at my no. This is because I realized the work that will inspire me to wake up at 4AM to start my day is not and will never be their work. When you find that work, it’s easy. How do you find that work? Gotta dig deep.
I’ll sometimes ask questions a self-aware videogame character might ask to progress the story along. (…I was a character in a videogame…) Especially when there’s enough time for parting words, I like asking for advice. Along with the extra lives’s worth of experience, these are the most rewarding conversations, because when faced with the reality that we may never meet again, any pretenses are dropped, and we exchange unfiltered truths about ourselves and our realities.