The above artwork is by Meg Elizabeth.
© All rights reserved by Meg Elizabeth.
In Your Significant Social And Work Relationships, It’s Not So Much About How Good You Interview. It’s More About, Over The Long Term, The Qualities Of The Daily Works You Do
~ by OneMoreOption
A relative of mine, who is looking to get a job during his Summer break while attending college, was receiving advice from different relatives on how to edit his resume, cover letter, and prepare for job interviews. He received excellent advice. At the same time, while I listened to different family members advising him on how to prepare and do well at an interview, I thought: Life’s not about the interviews as much as it is about the consistency, pleasantry, and quality of the daily works you do.
As with any significant principle, there are exceptions to this rule. But I sat there thinking about all the various kinds of interviews I have been through, for work, for social groups, or for dating. I have done an adequate job in life at performing well during interviews. People who interview me can tell I care about the processes and people. I dress and groom well. I learn about the company and prepare a description of why I want to do the work.
From doing good interviews, I have been able to get my foot in the door: either earning a job, or winning a part in a play, or getting to go on a date. I’m not trying to devalue the importance of preparing and doing well during interviews.
But the real rewards in life more often come from the pleasantness of your demeanor, the quality of your social skills, and the consistency of your ability to get the required work completed over long periods of time.
You should not put too much stress into your preparation and performance during an interview. Sometimes you’ll interview very well, get “the job,” and soon discover you’ve obligated your limited time, thoughts, and energies to a workplace, supervisor, line of work, or person that is not a good fit for your preferred pursuits.
More energy should be put into finding the kinds of work you want to do and the kinds of people with whom you want to ally.
In the workplace . . .
I wish I could tell you that achieving all the above long term objectives is fairly simple or achievable. But it is not. It is incredibly difficult and complex. You can do the same line of work, but work for two very different supervisors, and the difference in supervisors can make the workplace (and daily routine) completely pleasant or unpleasant. Even if you find an ideal match to a line of work you enjoy (an extremely difficult pursuit for some people), you still are often dependent on the social dynamics of both your workplace and the authority hierarchy.
In social relationships . . .
There was a woman who famously (for 15 minutes) recently wrote a blog post about the difficulties of being a lean, beautiful blond in the workplace. She explained how it wasn’t as easy or as pleasant as many people might perceive. I am not a lean, beautiful person, so I cannot relate to her issues nor verify their veracity. However, I think I can understand some of what she described.
I think it would be very difficult to be a beautiful woman, constantly having to deflect the social advances of others, constantly discouraging social interaction. I could joke and say: It might be a nice problem to have. But I’m guessing it would not be a nice problem to have. For practical purposes, beautiful people may often “interview” very well, getting their foot into a proverbial social door. But after the first couple weeks of euphoria wane, no amount of physical beauty can effectively help a person improve their social skills. And over time, the social relationships that endure are more often a result of daily performing considerate and sensitive attributes. Because some physically attractive people receive so much positive feedback from their appearance, they may have less incentive (and less real feedback from which) to development more accurate social awareness and well-suited social skills.
For my children, I don’t hope they will be physically attractive, or that they will make a great first-interview impression, as much as I want them to behave considerately and pleasantly day in and day out over the long term, because the latter will help them more in their work and social relationships.
Sometimes, being great at interviews gets you into places you don’t want to remain.
But performing consistent quality work and behaving socially considerately, less often gets you into places you will soon want to exit.
In the workplace . . .
People who stay pleasantly employed for long periods of time, at workplaces they enjoy, tend to be people who both get the work done and are pleasant to work with. There are exceptions to this rule. There are people who keep to themselves and stay at a job forever. There are people who achieve a wage or position they desire, they are unpleasant to work with, and they still work at a place for a long period of time. There are types of workplaces where, after being there a certain number of years, it is difficult to fire an individual – so pleasantness and quality of work are less determinative. But in general, people who pleasantly stay at a workplace for a long period of time do quality work they enjoy, with a pleasant demeanor.
To give readers a caution in considering my advice: I have never been a person who has been good and pleasant to work with for a long period of time at a workplace.
In social relationships . . .
On social fronts, I have maintained long term romantic relationships and friendships – but I’m not exceptionally good on social fronts either. I’ve had at least my share of failures.
Having said that, I believe similar general principles apply to social relationships. Relationships that pleasantly endure tend to be between people who agree to daily do quality work and be pleasant and fun with each other. Yes, there are exceptions: couples who are often unpleasant with each other, but choose to stay together out of loyalty or duty – but those relationships don’t fit into a category I am describing: both pleasant and enduring.
Why am I emphasizing these concepts?
I emphasize these longer term objectives because if you remain socially active with many people, then you don’t have to be so worried about your physical appearance or your first impression charm. Good people tend to recognize other good people. If you consistently are kind and considerate of the social or work needs and desires around you, then if you stay in contact with many people, someone will see your consistent pleasantry and quality works. Good people will likely discuss you with their friends.
In the long term, work and social rewards in life don’t come as much from being shiny and attracting as much as they come from being considerately responsive, correctly interpreting and providing what is desired around you.
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