Why Job Seekers NEED To Be Nice

Jason Alba
Jun 6 · 4 min read

In 2014 I wrote a post titled The Power of nice, compassion, helpful, optimistic, etc. It just resurfaced for me and I can’t believe that it isn’t in my “favorites list.” Here it is, with a few updates.

I’m a critical person.

But I know and even hang out with some very nice people.A lot of people think I’m nice. I try to be nice. And helpful. After suffering hardships (like my layoff, even though it was over 13 years ago!) I find it much easier to be compassionate and empathetic.

But I find myself slipping into a critical “they are idiots” mode too often. I don’t know why. Am I becoming more impatient with people, in general? Are my chemicals out of whack? Are there outside factors I feel I don’t have control over, and that frustrates me?

What I do know is that the fruits of being nice are much better than the fruits of being mean, critical, impatient, and even calling things like they are (aka just trying to be honest).

Lately I’ve decided to let go of the negative energy that is hurting mostly me, and focus more on positive energy. Complimenting more, smiling more, thinking positively more, and especially giving more.

I want to give more. I want to share, help, encourage, inspire, and give hope. This is where I need to spend my time… not on being Mr. Grumpy Gills (anyone catch that movie reference?).

And thus, I move forward, giving more, offering more, and being nicer.

That is a personal mini-essay of something I I had to get off my chest. I shared it here because I like the idea and power of sharing things publicly, and having accountability because I’m going public with it.

However, it’s clear to me that job seekers suffer from exactly what I wrote above. It’s easy to become a victim in the job search… such as when you think:

  • Everyone is doing everything wrong;
  • People don’t appreciate who I am;
  • I’m being discriminated against because of _____ (fill in the blank — there are hundreds of reasons to discriminate)
  • I’m about to lose everything;
  • Everything I’ve worked for means nothing to anyone;
  • If they could only see what I can really do, they’d hire me right now;
  • etc., etc., etc.

It’s easy to let these deceptive phrases into our life, into our head, and eventually into our belief system. When these beliefs become our reality, personal destruction happens. Depression sets in. And then, when we are on the path to becoming “a mess,” we get nowhere.

No one gives us introductions to their contacts. Then we feel like they don’t trust us (they don’t!). Down the depression path we continue.

We fail in our interviews. Then we feel like we really aren’t competent (because the interviewer can’t see it). Our inability to communicate what’s in our heart and within our capabilities gets in the way of making progress in our job search, and we further go down the depression path.

We see the world as dark, cloudy, and hopeless, and convince ourselves that there really isn’t anything worth fighting for. Our half-hearted efforts to go through the futile motions (which usually means applying to jobs online) are met with deafening silence. No one sees the value in us… and we begin to see us through their eyes. We are useless, and can add no value.

This becomes our reality. And now, more than ever, we repel people away from us.

They want to help us but they somehow know we are not ready to be helped. They want us to be happy but they know that until we can work through this horrid mind-game, nothing they do can make us happy.

I invite you, I beg you, I implore you to re-read my personal essay above. Read it out loud. Agree with any (positive) part of it, and incorporate that into your own life, minute-by-minute, day-by-day. Heal from the inside, and prepare yourself so you can be helped by others.

If you can, write your own personal essay. An essay of healing. Put it where you will see it throughout the day. And read it regularly. Even read it out loud.

You are getting multiple negative inputs every day in a job search. Why not force true and positive inputs to combat the negative inputs? You have to convince yourself that you are good, healthy, and “worth it.”

Win. This. Battle.

Jason Alba
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