Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Some days, you do what you have to do...

Ever have one of those day where you'd rather just hide, stay in bed, and curl up with a good book?

I'm having one of those days. The weather has turned cooler again (not that it warmed up much from recent seemingly arctic temperatures), and it looks like rain. That's the kind of day when this usually happens to me. Also, I'm reading a good book, and when I find a good book it is sometimes very difficult for me to pry myself away from it.

Now, I didn't get to stay in bed with my book. I had a meeting and a workshop to go to. So, not only did I have to get out and about, I had to wake up early in order to get a ride to the 9 a.m. meeting. Add to the fact that I knew ahead of time that the meeting would not be the fascinating highlight of my week and the fact that my eustachian tube has been plugged off and on for the past couple of days, which means an earache. None of this helped my mood this morning. Neither did the prospect of riding home on the bus. I don't mind riding the bus generally, but in cold weather and with all kinds of creeping crud going around, I'd just rather not.

Now, though, that I'm back home and could, technically, head for bed and that book, I'm not in such a bad mood at all, even though I'm not in bed and not reading my book.

What's the difference?

The difference is, while the meeting was as underwhelming as I'd expected, the workshop I attended afterward was energizing, interesting, and helpful. It wasn't one of those deadly dull affairs where the presenter gets up and lectures to you for a couple of hours, maybe flashes a few PowerPoint slides on a screen or a whiteboard. There wasn't even a set topic for the session.

I think that, back in the Sixties, it might have qualified as a "rap session". Am I the only one here old enough to remember those?

The whole purpose was to generate topics for workshops for members of CVP. We're all looking for work, many of us at an age that makes employers less than eager to hire us. Toward this end, the facilitator asked each of us (there were maybe fifteen of us in the workshop) to introduce ourselves, talk about our area of expertise, and then say what one thing would we find most valuable to take away from a workshop.

Because we were a fairly diverse group in regard to our backgrounds of education and work life, just listening to each participant talk about what they have done and what they would like to do going forward was quite interesting. What was instructive, however, was what each of us said we would like to take from the workshop, that would help us in getting where we want to be. It turns out that many of us have very similar worries or issues, despite our diverse backgrounds.

My "takeaway" suggestion was that I would like to be able to discuss my abilities and talents without feeling like I'm "blowing my own horn" or bragging about myself. I have a great deal of trouble with that because my upbringing was such that I was taught that one just does not brag on what they can do, that doing so is unattractive and unseemly. Because of this, I have a tough time in job interviews trying to sell the interviewers on my potential worth to their companies.

To my surprise, I was far from the only one who had similar issues with either feeling self-worth or communicating their worth to potential employers. Our issues came from different places, to be sure. Along with my upbringing, the fact that communicating my worth to a company feels like I'm selling myself to interviewers is uncomfortable to me. Also, I did not get the sales gene, and selling myself and my talents has always felt even more uncomfortable than trying to sell a product. I've tried sales jobs before (I was even an Avon Lady for awhile, back when Avon Ladies actually went door-to-door in an assigned territory; it was an awful experience). Sales is just not a good fit for me. In other words, I'm miserable at it.

The facilitator said something that might make it easier for me. She said that what is really needed is that I share myself rather than think of it as selling myself. And that makes sense to me. I don't know how that readjustment in my outlook will work in practical terms, next time I apply for a job, but the concept is one that I appreciate. I can share much more readily and successfully, I think, than I can sell.

So, I'm in a much better frame of mind this afternoon than I was this morning.

All of this has me thinking, though...when you would rather just stay home and read a good book, or do whatever it is that you enjoy doing when you would rather just hide from the world, what does it take to get you out of hermit mode?

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