Home » Creative writing » The Golden Job Search Tip

The Golden Job Search Tip

Often I thank the powers that be for my determination to research, firmly haggle, ask to speak to managers or someone who can really help me, and pretty much make a pest out of myself in order to keep change in my sad little pocketbook. I am thankful because, through so much financial struggle, I have held on to my online service (my ability to blog and search for work) and my ability to watch all manner of greatness, or crap, on cable television. I happen to have a weird triple bundle of services that actually saves me money as opposed to getting rid of one service or the other. I finally realized that when it was wearily pointed out to me by a very tired voice at the other end of the line, during one of my fact-finding missions. Thus, I am able to turn to a cable on-demand diversion to accompany a meal or help lull me to sleep. No matter how hard I try to find something else, I gravitate toward “White Collar” from  the USA network. I hate it when those reruns go away. Yesterday, the reason for this finally struck me.

Rare children's storybook based upon The Man f...

Ilya, Napoleon, and Mr. Waverly Image via Wikipedia

Ever since childhood, characters like Neal Caffery, the suave, extremely personable, former(?) thief with the quick agile mind, have fascinated me. There was my love of “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.,” mostly to watch the genius of the intelligent spy, Illya Kuryakin (not the debonair Napoleon Solo.) Then came Mr. Spock, the Vulcan first officer in “Star Trek” who could mentally MacGyver the perfect plan to get out of any scrape with the instant analyzation of a confluence of facts that only he could notice. Now I am enamored of “White Collar,” and not just because of this show’s loving visual tribute to New York City, or Caffery’s ability to make a suit look as casually easy as a classic pair of jeans — or that he could bring back the fedora single-handedly. No, it’s his ability to think on his feet. He has an innate ability to read people, get around what they want and on to what he wants, without them minding his masterly use of pure charm. Unlike the universal disdain for dumping the entire bottle of perfume on at one time, a truckload of charm masterly summoned up with your needs in mind, is a balm to the ego, and rarely feels like too much. Captain Kirk could do that sometimes, but his anger got in the way — a lot. I like Jason Bourne, of “The Bourne Conspiracy,” too, but his knowledge of the right thing to do, also lacks the people skills that I’ve come to value with maturity. It’s actually Neal Caffery who can get most jobs done. And, of course, therein lies the rub. One recent episode showed us how Neal managed to get a specific job working for a high-powered businessman, in order to facilitate a long con. His memory of specifically researched facts, his skill at artfully dodging the unexpected, and his ability to recall and use unrelated facts, at just the moment they become related, explains the most important elements that are needed during job interviews. There are fields that are so specialized that the best resumé wins in the absence of egregious people skills, but if you are unfortunate enough to have none of this education or to have been forced out of your previous field by innovation or a cheaper workforce elsewhere, you may have already availed yourself of job services that hammer home research, memory, and exemplary people skills, as what you need to get the job. Above all else you have to be a good “fit” and prove your ability to be pleasant while you find your way in a job, with little or no supervision. With so many applications filled out for every single job, employers can afford to hold out for a Neal Caffery or the applicant closest to him. Why wouldn’t they? I want him, too, and I can’t even offer him a job!

suits [uniform and uniformity]

Business Attire Image by the|G|™ via Flickr

A lot of the out of work  have actually made jobs for themselves by lecturing and giving seminars about this very subject. I say good for them. It’s not their fault that I get depressed every time I hear that my basic personality type is the opposite of what I need to become gainfully employed. One such lecturer actually had a look of disbelief and disdain at an audience member, who questioned how she could manufacture this other perfectly calibrated personality. He sneered at her, “Well, you better get one fast if you want a job!” My sister finally had to tell me that maybe I don’t want to subject myself to these lectures any more. That the deer-in-headlights, sinking feeling I always had after attending one, didn’t  seem to be doing me any good. And she’s right. I’ve internalized the important points. Now it’s time to figure out how to do it.

What I need is for there to be a Neal Caffery cult to kidnap me, lock me in a room for however long it takes, and hammer all these abilities into me until I can wander back out as one of the brightest, quickest, most desirable fedora wearers the world has ever seen. So far, the only time I feel even vaguely like that is when I’m sitting at a keyboard, or when I’m designing something in knit or crochet. Yeah, I know. Whoop-de-doo.


12 thoughts on “The Golden Job Search Tip

  1. Good luck with your job search. It must be hard to keep coming up empty-handed in the employment department.
    On another note, I have lived outside of North America for too long now and don’t even know the show “White Collar.” Strangely, however, one of the things my partner and I are looking forward to in our move back to the US next week is watching American television. So maybe we will finally catch up.
    Hope you have a great day!

  2. Lady Sparks, I absolutely LOVE this post! So masterfully written! It does seem that one has to almost reinvent themselves in this job market, doesn’t it? I love how you take me into the story. Even I can readily see that you are among the smarter of the lot. Unlike most, you’ve figured out that this – job search, job attainment, job retention – is very much like acting. I’m not advocating a fabricated resume by any means, but maybe just a redirecting/ re-positioning of some of your best skills (among them communication, and interpersonal skills). This, my friend, is YOUR second act! I believe you can wow them. Your personality is anything but basic! Brilliant! (BTW, I finished a hat and half a scarf last night. I have 3 more items to complete this week.)

    • I wish! For me interviews tend to feel a lot like tests, and my mind seizes up a little. I’ve never met the interviewer who wants to put you at ease or give you a little time to blossom. But on the page — I’m comfortable. This is a conundrum I’m still working on! Thanks for your confidence, it warms my heart!

  3. Argh, this is just what I hated in high school when I was applying to colleges — my mom kept telling me to do this and that, and it all felt so fake to me. I still hate it whenever I feel like I have to act like someone else, for any reason.

    Good luck as always with the job search, and I hope you find the right mix of inner integrity and outward projection of confidence and aplomb. 🙂

  4. Good luck! About Neal, well, he’s the best, ever. Reminds me of Arsene Lupin. And the rubbish they talk about ‘job personality’ don’t mind it. All you need is confidence and skills and I believe you have both! Get goin! 🙂

    • A few weeks ago I saw a film from the thirties about Mr. Lupin! Very smooth! That type seems to always be a favorite.

      Thanks for the good luck wishes. About ‘job personality’, I’ve always felt that I have confidence and some good skills. It’s just that a lot of interviewers don’t have the skills to recognize me when they see me. I don’t dazzle, or at least give that twinkle of the eye, like Neal does. So far I only know how to do that when I’m flirting. Business flirting walks a potentially dangerous line that can only be tread with an absolute recall of facts. I wanted to be an actress when I was a teen, but remembering lines did me in! And (to slightly misquote Shakespeare) therein lies the rub!

      • Well, not many people are aware of the French Gentlemanly thief Lupin (they think it’s the werewolf teacher from HP) and a more known representative for the class is Robin Hood. I was happy that you clicked immediately 🙂 You like to read?
        I’ve always been into acting too!
        About the ‘twinkle in the eye’ thing, don’t worry Re, you don’t really need it. Business flirting, I think, is pretty tacky a thing to do, plus it can get you into a LOT of trouble. Neal is a different genre in himself. That ‘twinkle’ comes naturally after you’ve fooled the cops all their lives 😛 😉 People often me that I have that twinkle (No, I’m not a thief :P) and I think it’s probably because I have always been the ‘I know I’m great and if you don’t think so, well I don’t care’ kind of extrovert. I get just as nervous and jittery as others, but I just don’t show it.
        Here’s a handy tip for you – Everyday, jot down five great things about you in a journal or a sticky note
        (paste it somewhere u can see it often in the day). Read it aloud to yourself every now and then and feel it when you say. Also write about your ‘job’ qualities or the skills that you possess. Whenever someone compliments you about something, jot it down in the same place. Try a new haircut (a new Fedora :D), a new colour in your wardrobe. Most importantly, spend at least an hour everyday doing something you really like and enjoy – you’ll be good at it anyway 🙂 . Try new things. Soon, you’ll be much more ‘Cafferyish’. 😉 😀
        Modesty can sometimes ruin things. So show us how awesome you are! Bye bye modesty, hullo flamboyant awesomeness! 😎
        P.S. Sorry for the free advice! Don’t mind! I know that you’re awesome, but I want those interviewers to feel the same! 🙂

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