If you are not where you want to be in your career or in life in general, there are a few different attitudes you can take towards the situation. The optimist will look forward to the future knowing or hoping that things will improve. The pessimist will often assume that things won’t get better and that they will have to go through life doing things the hard way, even though they deserve better. Then, of course, there are those who are somewhere in-between.
No matter what your attitude is, one way that many people are able to improve their own situation is by simply asking for help once in a while. However, you first have to realise that your situation can improve and you can get that great career, promotion or whatever else it is you want out of life.
There is the old Henry Ford quote that goes “whether you think you can, or think you can’t–you’re right.” It’s somewhat of a cliché since we’ve all heard it so many times, but it remains true to this day. I’ve found this is especially true when it comes to getting your dream career.
During a recent conversation, I was reminded of how often I see people miss career opportunities simply because they have the impression that their situation just won’t get any better. They have a less than positive attitude and it’s likely their situation won’t improve unless they believe it will and they take the chance to reach out for a hand.
I sometimes interact with dozens of people in a week who are not where they want to be in life. The biggest thing holding them back is usually their career. They are stuck in a job they don’t like and have little hope because they think they’re on their own. They mostly come from overseas like I do, but often can’t seem to find opportunities to progress forward with their careers.
There is one thing that so many of these job seekers have in common, and it’s the fact that they often don’t know how or when to ask others for help. Maybe it’s out of pride, or maybe they are self conscious. Maybe they don’t think they can be helped or maybe they are too afraid to ask. Regardless, it’s completely fine to ask for help every once in a while and it can be hugely beneficial in your job search.
After catching up with a friend last weekend, I found myself having an interesting conversation with my Uber driver at around 3am on my way home (Uber is a private taxi service if you didn’t know). It was a conversation I’ve had at least a hundred times in the last year, but this time it really got me thinking.
Once we got past the small talk about the weather and such, we started talking about how he got into driving for Uber. I’m sure he’s sick of having that conversation with every other passenger, but nonetheless we had a good chat.
He told me how he had moved from India a few years back and got a degree in hospitality here in Melbourne. He proceeded to tell me how he hates hospitality and how he just did the degree because it was an easy pathway to a permanent residency at the time. I thought, ‘fair enough’, but “what are you doing now?” I asked him.
He told me that he has been working full-time as a fry cook at a small restaurant for the last few years in addition to driving for Uber. It’s technically hospitality, but he despised the work he was doing both at the restaurant and for Uber. When I asked him “what do you want to do?” he told me about his dream to work as a IT consultant in a big technology company.
Without yet eluding to what I do for a living, we discussed why he was still not working in IT after all these years. He had a surprising number of reasons for not pursuing his goals. Not only that, I got an earful of “reasons” why the world was out to get him, why nobody would hire him, why nobody would even give him a chance and why he was probably going to end up working two jobs he hated for the foreseeable future. He called them “reasons.” I call them “excuses.”
Nothing he said was a valid reason for not achieving his goals, he merely didn’t believe his situation could change nor was he willing to do anything about it. He just went through life feeling sorry for himself. Though, after about five minutes worth of excuses for not having a better career he finally turned and asked me what I do.
I briefly explained something to the effect of “I work in a business that helps people from overseas get great careers through professional internships, visa sponsorships, recruitment and many other pathways. Most of the people we get jobs for are in the accounting or IT industry.”
After saying that, he went on to tell me how “lucky” I am to have a “normal” job and completely seemed to ignore what I had just said. The truth is, I could have likely found him a great job, or at least an internship that could finally get him on the right track towards his dream job. I had essentially just told him I could help him get a job. However, he was convinced that he was a victim of bad luck and everyone else somehow managed to stumble their way into a great career.
An attitude like that certainly won’t make anyone want to hire him. Though, if he had simply asked for a bit of help or advice, I would have told him about the various IT positions that I’m hiring for at the moment that very likely could have launched him into a great career. I’d have been more than happy to help him get his career on track, but he refused to listen to what anyone else had to say.
I got out of the car and wished him good luck, and with it I was unfortunate to see yet another individual suffer through a miserable career when a simple attitude adjustment could make all the difference.
Generally speaking, people like to help others and give back where they can. It’s a large part of why the people at Career of the Day do what we do. Asking for help is nothing to be ashamed of, and you’ll always be glad you did looking back. Sure, you can figure it out yourself, but you don’t always need to.
The moral of the story is that you have the power to change your situation if you are not where you want to be. Sometimes all it takes is asking for a little bit of help and recognising when a good opportunity presents itself.