A Lesson In Arrogance: How To Prolong Getting A Job

By Charlene Holsendorff 

     He showed up at my workshop and found a seat apart from the attendees gathered in what was a very large room. I requested (cordially) that he please sit closer to facilitate cohesiveness, since the group was so small.
     He complied, but not without noting for everyone's benefit that he didn't see what difference it made what seat he's in since he is, after all, IN THE SAME ROOM.
Really... ?!
     I've learned to pick my battles and decided this wasn't worth the adrenaline rush.
Throughout the session he demonstrated the tell-tale body language of 'I'm not sure I'm buying this" and did, in fact, challenge some of my comments.
Which is okay, don't misunderstand where I'm going with this. I encourage questions and comments and make the point of pausing throughout my sessions to ask if questions or clarification are needed. Questions and comments aren't the issue. The motivation behind them certainly is: trying to one-up the speaker just isn't cool.

     I once had a client, let's call him Phil, who was quite the accomplished professional - a business strategy executive, in fact. He'd been let go during the workforce reduction of a major company. As smart and articulate as he was, Phil was nonetheless arrogant. He carried a manner of incredulity about his job loss - that it was beyond comprehension that a company would let him go.
Certainly losing one's job is a blow to the psyche and emotions, absolutely. I don't gloss over the fact that job loss is near the top of the list of major life experiences. And most would indeed go through a period of disbelief or denial.

     A select type of personality interprets job loss as an affront to the ego on a very personal level... that this is something that happens to other people - not to me, because I am better or different than everyone else.
     I happened to run into Phil at an executive networking breakfast several months ago. His job search coaching with me had by then long ended, and I was genuinely glad to see him.
"Things are about the same," he responded when I asked about his job search. "I've had a few interviews but nothing has come about from any of them."
"Are you generating new networking contacts?" I asked, my career coach instincts kicking in.
"Yeah, I'm doing all that," he said dismissively, his eyes warily dancing about the room for more engaging prospects. "Most don't have the connection to the top-level people who should be talking to me. Others don't get back to me fast enough, who needs that?"
It quickly brought back memories of haughty interaction during our coaching sessions. "Well, take care, I said, "keep in touch," and excused myself. It occurred to me, wryly, that it had been about 2-1/2 years since he started his job search. How incongruous is it that no one has snatched up this obviously more-brilliant-than-anyone-else professional?

     That was a question for another day, I decided, as I headed across the room towards a group of professionals who weren't hovering above the crowd.

Request a complimentary Resume evaluation by contacting Charlene at: chrleneh@verizon.net
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