Shame

May 24th, 2010

I started working with the blue collar job seeker last week – he came over on Thursday for our first in-person session.

Granted, I’m not a coach, but I’m coaching him. I’m confident I can help him get to a certain point, and he needs the help.

On Thursday we talked about a bunch of things (mostly drilling down on my posts from last week), and he said something that I’ve been thinking about since our meeting.

He had an interview and was asked if he was currently working.  He is indeed currently working, but he’s not proud of where he is working.  So his response to where he was working was “I’d rather not say.”  And he left it at that, and didn’t say.

This saddened me because he is working IN HIS FIELD.  He is doing real building maintenance stuff.  The company he is working for is associated with a company that most people joke about, or talk about if they reach the end of their rope… it’s not prestigious… but it’s a good, solid company, and he’s doing what he’s trained to do.

He came across as ashamed to be working there, and that can’t help in an interview.

Let’s flip the coin… and share about another guy. I heard about this other guy who has great credentials but has had a hard time landing a job.  He was brought into an interview where he was told he was the least qualified, on paper, but he is hustling.

How is he hustling?  He was doing a number of jobs to pay the bills, including stocking shelves at a grocery store.  This showed the employer that he is a hustler, and that he is going to work hard to get the job done.  This type of dedication and work ethic showed the potential employer that he was the type of person they wanted to hire.

Should you be ashamed of your temporary, step job?

Please don’t.  Thom Singer blogs about this here.

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6 Responses to “Shame”

  1. Eleanor Farmer says:

    Jason, I say that any honest employment is nothing to be ashamed of. In today’s economy we have to do what we can to survive until the “real thing comes along.” I’m sure you will be able to help your client see the positive side of working in his field even though it may not be for a prestigious company. He needs to demonstrate that he is performing at the highest level of expectations and that he can offer his best to another company as well. A positive attitude makes for a strong interview experience.

  2. Karen F. says:

    Ouch…I feel for the guy. But hey, this is America…we do what we need to do to thrive and survive in this economy. There is no shame in that at all.

    As long as we are all hustling, we can fully expect a door to open somewhere. :)

    Just keep the faith alive!

    Karen, The Resume Chick (on Google if you need resume help)

  3. Dawn says:

    What if you are not working in your field? How do you explain during an interview working almost 2 years in a different industry just to pay the bills?

  4. Kathy Bitschenauer says:

    Hi, Jason.

    I feel for the the guy’s predicament. You can help him realize is that no matter where he works, when a background check is done, the next employer will find out. All he needs to do is say where he works and a brief statement of what his duties are. It may also help to coach him around ways he can handle both the emotions he is feeling and help him see a way to gain a different perspective that will help him in the next interview.

    There may be more than what’s on the surface behind his shame at working where he is. Never underestimate that possibility. Certainly don’t compare him to the “hustler” guy.

    Some people need a little more “hand holding” to move forward, i.e., gentle care and support. Respect where he is in his journey now, and help him even with “baby steps” to move forward, always holding them in unconditional regard for who he is and his personal dignity.

    Comparison to another can lead to judging the one we are trying to help. Find a way to him to to land on his feet that best fits HIM. With your tangible respect and support for him, he’s more likely to accomplish that goal.

    Those who can already ‘hustle’ don’t NEED the same kind of care. They can take big strides with only a little guidance or by pointing them in the right direction. Who really knows why one person can do that, and another person cannot?

    This economy and the uninvited fallout visited upon people’s lives makes it a time to be gentle with one another (but not a doormat or an enabler). There is so much suffering, and no ever knows how deeply another person is experiencing it.

    Kindly,

    ~Kathy B.

  5. Jason Alba says:

    @Eleanor, agreed, and thank you!

    @Karen, thank you for the comment, I agree.

    @Dawn, great question, I’ll post it as a blog post and see what others say… stay tuned to the blog (a link will show up in the comments below).

    @Kathy, this comment was terrific and helped me rethink how I deal with my buddy. I have a tendency to be more brash on the blog, and customize it so that it appeals to my readership, but this great advice that I’m taking to heart – thank you for leaving the comment :)

  6. Rita Carey says:

    Whew,Kathy! your comments resounded within my heart. It is so easy to slip into that “trainer” mindset and expect everyone to just do what we know needs to be done. Your comments reminded me to be ever diligent in assessing the emotional stamina, ego-strength and internal beliefs of each client. I needed that!
    Thank you.

    (Jason, the scenario was a catalyst for great discussion and contemplation…Thank you.)

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