Lesson of the Day

Just got home from a 17+ hour workday, feeling energized. There’s nothing better but to end the week without a backlog from work because you’ve slaved enough and finished everything that’s on your plate. 🙂

Today, received a call from a friend of mine. MBA-certified, beautiful with a good career track in one of the best consultancy firms globally, she was every guy’s dream and the envy of many women.

She seemed lost.

Originally, my firm had an opening and she applied for it. Actually, she applied for two openings at two various divisions in our company. 

“How much is the salary range?” she worried asked me twice during my long conversations before. Seemed like she wanted to leave the consultancy field as the work forced her to be mobile 24/7 (making her wave her personal life goodbye) but hesitated to leave the lovely compensation package. She figured, the financial industry was a place where one can work, get paid well, with less stress than her previous job.

I made no assurances with the compensation. Contrary to public opinion, the financial field is NOT a glamorous job. If it was, I wouldn’t be found late Friday night working on a project till midnight. Last weekend, I had less than 5 hours sleep because I was working till 4:30 am.

No, the financial industry is NOT a glittery job where all you do is shake hands, exchange money and play golf. There’s a lot of dirty work that comes along the way, ‘cept that we have to look professional enough while we do it. The rest is still the same, if not more difficult.

Anyway, when a person already has a stereotype in mind, it’s hard to change her mind. So she thinks I have a grand job, terrific. It’s true — love my job — wouldn’t stay if I didn’t, but seemed that she was looking for something different. An easier job with similar pay so to speak, while money was never part of my motivations.

So she was gunning for both Jobs A and B. However, Job A suffered less of a good reputation than B. It was a slightly clerical job, although by itself, offers terrific exposure to the regional office. Job B was in helping others manage their $$$, recommending stock/bond/derivative/etc. ways on how to increase one’s net worth.

It doesn’t take a genius to see where her interest lie. “Isn’t that secretarial work?” she asked when I told her about Job A. “Do you need an MBA to do that job?” she asked as a followup question as if to say that Job A was beneath her.

I kept silent… it was not my position to defend any job. My role was merely to explain and educate a candidate about a certain position and let her decide which one she prefers.

Unfortunately, our firm has a fair policy of allowing a person of applying in one position at a time. Though she initially went for Job A, she took out her bets and placed them all on Job B.

I shrugged my shoulders. Everybody has their own requirements when they go job hunting. Not every job is made for every one. Hence, despite her being at the forefront in the list of Job A, we moved on, considered other candidates and finally settled on three competent applicants who wanted the job.

A few weeks later, she called me and asked about Job A. “Have you found anybody yet?” she asked.

Ummm… we’re already in the final round of interviews,” I answered. It was true, at this point, my boss has already settled on the few, and is on the last leg of the interview process. There was little chance he would consider anybody else given that all the short-listed candidates were all competent and well-suited for the position at hand.

I didn’t get it,” she said. She was talking about Job B.

As it turns out, she was in the final list of applicants but given her lack of relevant work experience, the other person got the job. It bummed her that she was edged out by someone who wasn’t more competent than her, but was more senior in terms of experience and age.

Honey,” I carefully explained, “You have to understand. Given a list of candidates that were equally competent, any advantage counts. Hence, if a person has already worked in this industry, it allows her to ramp up quickly and get results twice as fast.”

“Is it because you don’t want to spend the money training the person?” she ruefully asked. “Is that how companies cut costs now?”

“Don’t think of it that way,” I sincerely answered.

It was true.

Companies train people they think are worthy. However, we do not look for people to train. We’re not a training company. We hire people who can deliver, and the sooner they can, then the better. It wasn’t that we didn’t want to train people. Quite the contrary — my firm offers continuous opportunity for us to get trained. However, we want people who already have the skillsets to win and get the job done. We train them on our systems, where to look for the files, but how they do it, those skills, they should already know.

There was something wrong with her mindset. Personally, I always believe in destiny. If the job is for you, no matter what you do, you’ll get the job. If it’s not for you, then you won’t get it no matter how hard you try. She was taking this a tad too personally. 🙁

If Job B was really meant for her, she would’ve gotten it despite other more experienced candidates out there, pure and simple. But since she didn’t get Job B, she “settled” and was inquiring about Job A instead as if it was a consolation prize.

The irony of it was if she went for Job A in the first place, she most likely would’ve received the offer.

If she really wanted to do Job A, she would’ve done really well, and it would’ve been a start of a beautiful career. In a way, if you perform, no matter where you start, you will slowly and surely rise up the ranks because good workers are so hard to find.

But no, she thought of Job A as “secretarial,” and I don’t delude myself into thinking that she really wants it. It’s more of, “Since I can’t get Job B, sigh… then guess, Job A will do.”

This sort of mindset is flawed I think. It shows that one has no clear path on where one is going. If you don’t know what you want or where you want to go, then how can you get there? If she was pretty clear in the beginning that A was really what she wanted, she would’ve gotten it. If she had showed just how much she wanted B, she would’ve gotten it.

But if you have a mindset that you can do either A or B though you prefer A, then it’s hard to get anywhere. People don’t see the drive, the need, the want. Without that, the it’s hard for the other to give you what you want. How can they if you don’t even know what it is…?

So this is a lesson for me — yes, for me.

To always stay true to oneself, to one’s desires and dreams. To never be swayed. To be neither here and there and everywhere. To be decisive when the time comes. So that when I see something I want, there’s no hesitation. Just to reach out and grab it.

That’s my valuable lesson. Hope you’ve also learned something today!

Hope you have a great weekend! Looking forward! 🙂

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