Playing the blame game
Every now and again, we all play the blame game. Hopefully whenever this happens, we’re lucky enough to have someone around to point it out to us.
In 2005 I lost my job. I was working as a temp back then, and we were the first to be ousted. Us temps and the older employees. Most seniors were offered early retirement and either forced to take it or they were simply kicked out. And thus the slate was cleared, making way for the colourful and structured re-organisation plans management had been presenting on PowerPoint animations.
It took me quite a while before I got a new job. And after initially feeling disheartened, I gradually grew angrier and angrier with every rejection.
What really hurt was that some employers lacked the decency to answer back my application… Yes, times were hard.
And then there were those, who’d first look at you a bit suspiciously, to subsequently ask how come you didn’t have a (paid) job. A few dared directly ask you, whether you were on welfare. “What do you think?” I’d snarl at them. “I’m 40 something, woman and black”. This made most people uncomfortable and it was sure to shut them up on the subject. Until one day, an acquaintance looked me over and answered back with a little grin, “Be glad you’re not physically handicapped as well”. Good one.
Reviewing the event we did earlier this month (read Use it or lose it) with Wil Dirks, he told me “The worst thing an older jobseeker can do, is point the finger at the employer and whine that they find you too old or too expensive”.
Playing the blame game in trying to convince an employer of the opposite, is a waste of time. It’s too negative a starting point and therefore won’t work.
As an experienced jobseeker, you first need to find out what your qualities are. Then, look up the potential employer market that can use those qualities. Finally, exhibit yourself as much as possible to ‘your market’. And there you have it: your Positive Personal Strength strategy in a nutshell.
Naturally, there’s always the problem of costs. But Dirks believes that if you ‘package’ yourself in such a manner to make an employer think, “Hey, I want this one!” the costs’ factor will not matter in the end.
Now, let’s take this back to me. In time I learned to deal with the job loss situation and I dropped the blame game. For let’s face it, after I had lost my job, I didn’t have a single clue about my ambitions or my personal strengths. And that was the main reason why I couldn’t get hired. I’d apply to any and everything. I wasn’t focussed.
Okay. So, I’m 40 something, woman and black. But that’s what you see on the outside. What you don’t see, is that I’m also intelligent, knowledgeable, witty (in a Woody Allen kind of way), resilient and strong-willed. And that’s the message I’m putting out there.
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