“We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.”
Career transition, and life itself, requires wearing a mask which periodically covers our authentic self. The most frequently asked question of job seekers is, “Tell me about yourself.” You cannot respond, “I need this job more than you can ever imagine,” as you may scare the interviewer. What the interviewer needs to know is who you are as a worker, a contributor, a manager, a nurse, or a technical guru. You must sell yourself, giving the good points and minimizing the liabilities.
You know this. You wear a smile to demonstrate confidence, providing a better chance of landing the job. But we need to understand that being authentic with those close to you is another issue.
If you are having financial difficulties, you need to talk with people who can assist you. You must be authentic with what is happening in your life. Finding a part time job or working in a retail store to help with the bills is critical if your finances are in shambles. Walking away from your mortgage payment may not seem like an option but could be better than loosing everything.
This past week we saw the stories in the Dallas Morning News about the Mayor of Coppell with the sad, sad ending of two lives. The news indicated the Mayor was distraught about money and let very few people know how desperate her situation was. The Dallas Morning New had a series of stories last Sunday about people in financial straits, pretending to be people they weren’t, using credit cards to maintain appearances.
We live in a materialistic society and area. Many have McMansions which they can’t afford if they are unemployed. Some find work but must cut expenses severely with the reduction in pay. Others lose significant amounts when they relocate. Loosing $25,000 to $100,000 to sell a home is not unusual in some areas. Are you in that boat? You may need to talk with someone at the bank or credit union, an accountant, a financial planner or someone who can help you with the decisions. Would it be better to take a new job in Ohio or California? Can you afford to wait for the economy to become robust?
Kermit the frog says, “It’s not easy to be a frog.” And it’s not easy to be authentic one minute and selling only your attributes the next, but our society requires great acting ability and the wisdom to know when to be authentic and when we must wear a mask temporarily. Career transition requires that we cope successfully with the emotional roller coaster and to reveal the authentic self without destroying or scaring others.
If you need financial or emotional help, please seek it quickly. Wearing a mask all the time will not help you become another Clark Kent or Superman. You must deal with the emotions and financial impact of your situation. If your feelings of hopelessness last more than a few weeks, please seek help.
If you need resources, the author has a list of respected career counselors. To find financial consultants, it would be best to seek referrals from your minister, rabbi, neighbors and friends who can provide references. The faith based employment groups also have resources available to help you with your search, as well as providing emotional support for your transition.
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