Reality Check: Pride and Perceptions

Katie had set out in her pursuit of work with high expectations. After multiple rejections for lack of experience, she’d been recommended for a program to help her gain experience. It wasn’t glamorous, but she’d finally be working.

At first, Katie was excited. She’s on her way!

Then she told her friends, and suddenly the opportunity began to sound much less desirable. Katie heard, “It’s not much money, “You deserve better,” and the most cutting of all, “Yuck, I wouldn’t take that!”

When Katie’s friends were through, the opportunity didn’t seem great at all. She began second guessing, “Is this really my best prospect? Maybe my friends are right; it’s hard work, little pay, and definitely not my dream job.”

Her initial enthusiasm faded fast. “I have my pride; I don’t need to take this job. I’ll turn it down tomorrow.”

While procrastination isn’t always a benefit, sometimes a short delay before an important decision is useful! Away from her friends the next day, Katie took time to evaluate before she turned down the offer.

Before her friends had chimed in, she’d been excited. What had changed? The opportunity? No. Katie recognized that it was her perception that had changed.

As Katie assessed her options, she asked herself, “When my friends told me to turn this down, what did they suggest I do instead?” They hadn’t offered any alternatives, of course.

While, Katie has a dream job in mind, she has learned through her job search that she’s not qualified. Not yet, anyway. So, “What action will lead me where I want to go?”

Katie thought about her recent activities: sitting at home, posting resumes, answering job ads. Are those activities more effective than taking a less-than-perfect job, working with a supervisor, and having the chance to demonstrate that she is a mature, reliable team member?

She sees her choice as, “Will accepting this opportunity move me closer to my dream job? Or will it lead me further away from where I want to go?”

If Katie does choose to accept the opportunity, she may find it helpful to manage her pride and her perceptions.

Katie can choose to perceive this opportunity in very different ways.  For example, she could adopt her friends’ perception and choose to view the work as if she is doing her employer a favor by showing up.

Or, she could plan to learn everything that she can and perceive the experience as, “I’m getting an education and getting paid, too!”

Which of those choices do you think will better help Katie regain her enthusiasm?

Similarly, Katie can choose to perceive the requirement to be at work on time as an unpleasant inconvenience. Or, she could choose to see it as an opportunity to develop and display discipline. Which perception will be more helpful?

Unlike her friends, Katie recognizes that just because her first job is below her expectations doesn’t mean that her lifetime employment will be below expectations. Everyone starts somewhere, and few people start at the top.

Do you think Katie can move beyond peer pressure and make choices that are effective for her?

This entry was posted in Perception & Reality and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.