There’s no such thing as “employers”

I just bought Dick Bolle’s What Colour Is Your Parachute? 2015 because it was on discount! πŸ˜€ And as usual, I love his books. I love the conversational style of writing and how advanced his advice on job hunting is (he rewrites his book every year since 1970! Imagine how polished his thinking and writing is!). I really recommend this book to those who are interested in this field of career guidance or just simply looking for a job.

Let me quote from page 44:

“Employers” are individuals, as different from one another as night and day. “Employers” span a wide range of attitudes, wildly different ideas about how to hire, a wide range of ways to conduct hiring interviews, and as many different attitudes toward handicaps as you can possibly think of. You cannot possibly predict the attitude of one employer from the attitude of another. All generalizations about “employers” (including those in this book) are just mental conveniences.

[Oooh! I just learned I could do this blockquote thingie.]

As I get to know more friends who hire people, I learned this as well, that each employer is an unique individual. The thing thatΒ  caused one not to hire you may be the very same thing that causes another to hire you. Don’t you just love how complex and intricate life and their experiences are? I told you how I was timid in many of my interviews and most employers saw that as a weakness, but I was finally employed by my first boss, who saw through my timidity into who I was. So, there are people out there who value who you are and value the strengths that you have and who may even not see your weaknesses as limitations!

Dear friend, if you are still searching for a job and have received many rejections already. Fear not, your job is on your way. You have yet to meet your lucky star! And do pick up “What Colour Is Your Parachute? 2015” to get tips on how to find a good job!


Dream Employee


Reversal of power balance

I told you before that I enjoy this reversal of balance?

I enjoy telling people that some employers are desperate for employees. Just to let them see that it’s not always the job hunters that are desperate for jobs. πŸ™‚

Just so you might have a little bit more confidence, knowing that sometimes they want you more than you want them. πŸ™‚

Irony of job hunting

Sometimes we try so hard to be someone we think others would want, when all along they have been searching for someone just as we are.

I need to start practice describing myself as I really am.

Quotes from Life is Tremendous

I have glanced through this thin book called “Life Is Tremendous” by Charlie “Tremendous” Jones and found some nice quotations I would like to share with you!

“We don’t consider manual work as a curse, or a bitter necessity, not even as a means of making a living. We consider it as a high human function, as a basis of human life, the most dignified thing in the life of the human being, and which ought to be free, creative. Men ought to be proud of it.” – David Ben-Gurion (p. 24)

Charlie shared how he got his job during the Great Depression and hence naturally knew that having a job was a privilege. So in line with the conversations in the comments section in the previous post!

“Don’t worry about being of more use where you aren’t; the best job you’ll ever have is the one you’re on. No job ever made a man but a right man can make any job.”

“Don’t spend your life trying to make right decisions; invest your life in making decisions and making them right.” (p. 85)

Published by Living Books 1996

The Purpose of this Blog

I like to help people find jobs. Why?
Perhaps in the past I would tell you it’s because I had difficulty finding one so I empathize with those who still do and I want to help them.
But over time, I realize that I develop another reason why I do this.

As I quote myself telling a friend, I want to reverse the power balance. I want to empower people who struggle to secure a job either because of poor job search skills, a lack of confidence or other reasons. In this world, the unemployed are look down upon, while those who have high paying or prominent jobs have status. The unemployed have less opportunities to learn new things and upgrade themselves, while the employed, though many don’t realise, have at their fingertips multiple opportunities daily to do so. The unemployed becomes depress from a lack of good things to do, the employed often get so stuck in the rut of working they no longer have the joy of when they first received their job.

I believe that working is more than earning. I believe in the sanctity of work and its ability to through suffering purify us. I believe that work is a gift. How can it be that by occupying my time doing something worthwhile puts money into my hand? Work is a gift. I hope to help people recognize it.

Don’t be quick to say “No”

I learnt this in the past year – not to say “No” so easily. I’m Biology-trained but now my work is Humanities-based. And I don’t regret one bit of it at all. Hope this would inspire those who have been thrust into a job area not of their choice.



Changes in Perspectives

I used to think there is a perfect job for me, where I didn’t need to change myself, but I would fit in exactly.

But after a year of searching, I have change my stance about finding this dream job.

Today, I believe in working hard become good in something instead of trying to find something I’m good in.

hi i’m an engineer

Recently come across some career-related postings on Facebook. Would like to share them with you! πŸ™‚

The Burns Rule

I’ve always wanted to share this with you. The best advice I’ve ever read about interviews came not from career-counseling books, but actually from a popular psychology book I read called “The Feeling Good Handbook” by David D. Burns. He’s a clinical psychologist specialising in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

I will modify the content of his points in the section “Turning Failure Into Success” in the chapter “How to Give a Dynamic Interview When You’re Scared Stiff”, except for the last point, which I find the most important and I hope to preserve it entirely.

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Key tip in most career-counseling-type books: Always have alternatives or Plan Bs! πŸ™‚

Don’t base your self-esteem on how well you do. We are more than our performances. We are more than our outward appearances. We are people of value and worth, regardless how terrible we perform.

Don’t blame yourself for a rejection. Don’t be too harsh on yourself when you have made mistakes or have been foolish. We often are our worst critics. Be gentle and patient with yourself. πŸ™‚ Transitioning is a tender period. Guard your heart! Don’t let it become too discouraged or wounded.

Don’t blame someone else for a rejection. Even if our interviewers disparage us, are mean to us, or do nasty things to us, let us be gracious to them. Let’s be honest, living in this world isn’t easy. Let’s be gentle with tough people. Thankfully most of the time interviewers are fair people.

Think about rejections as opportunities. I see rejections as chances to thicken my thin skin. Let your heart grow stronger but your skin grow thinner! Protect your heart, but allow each rejection to bolden you for the next one. I still have not mastered how to do this yet, but I hope by sharing this, I open your mind to potential threats and opportunities of rejections, so you will not just flow with the tide but are alert to protect yourself and capitalise on such opportunities.

Remember that an offer you don’t really want is worth its weight in gold. “This is the “Burns Rule”: People only want what they can’t get, and they never want what they can get. What it boils down to is this: trying to get the first offer can be tough. Since you’re what people can get, you’re not in demand. But once you get an offer, even if it’s not the one you want, you can easily get many more offers. Since you’re what people can’t get, you’re in demand. Everyone will want you.

Let me give an example of how this works. A divorced woman with two children applied for admission to graduate school in psychology. Her options were limited to programs in Chicago, where she lived, because she didn’t want her kids to have to change schools. She had her heart set on a highly competitive program at the University of Chicago, but knew her chances for admission were only marginal because of the large number of applicants. After her interview, she was informed that she had not been selected for the program, but she would be placed on a waiting list of alternate candidates.

Six weeks later another school, in a less desirable area and with only an average reputation, called to tell her that she’d been admitted but without financial assistance. She was told that she had to decide within two hours.

Her heart sank, because she still had the dream of attending the University of Chicago. She called me in a panic. She was distraught and wanted to know what to do.

I explained that this was her golden opportunity, and suggested that all she had to do was to call the University of Chicago and tell them that she was under pressure to accept an offer that very day from another school, so that if they were interested in her they’d haveΒ  to move quickly.

She was skeptical that this would do any good, but she called the admissions office and explained the situation to the secretary of one of the professors on the admissions committee. Within ten minutes the professor called back to inform her that they were extremely interested in her and if she would consider attending the University of Chicago, they would offer her free tuition plus a stipend of $8000 per year for living expenses. She immediately accepted and ultimately received her doctorate there.

Why was she suddenly accepted when she’d been ignored? Because she was in demand. They probably thought that if someone else was pressuring her to accept an offer, she was an incredibly desirable candidate. This made them want her as well. It’s basic human nature to want something that’s a little beyond our grasp, and this is true in school or job interviews.

If you want to take advantage of the Burns Rule, you should court every suitor when you’re applying for a position. Once you get an offer, even if it’s an unappealing one, you’re over the biggest hurdle because you’re in demand. Leak this information to the people you’re interested in. Let other interviewers know that you’ve had an offer, but that you like them very much and would be proud to consider their offer as well. If you do this in a friendly manner, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised to discover that you will suddenly get many offers.

You may object to this strategy, thinking it amounts to manipulation. In a way, you’re right. I felt a little guilty when writing this section. I was concerned that I might come off as exploitative or insensitive. If I offended you, I apologize. However, I felt that this information was necessary, because the people who conduct interviews wield great power. They’ve got what you want, and they are intentionally playing you off against many other candidates so they can get the best possible person to work for them or to attend their university. You need a little power too, to balance the situation. I want you to get the best possible offer so you’ll feel happy and excited about the opportunity just ahead of you. Then you’ll do the best job you’re capable of, and everyone will win.”

I honestly don’t know how you feel about it. But some of us are under the impression that we cannot let the company we are applying to know that we are actually applying to other companies. Maybe this might change your mind a bit.

Does it work for the Singaporean context?

Is it unethical? Manipulative?

Have you tried doing this and does it work?

Feel free to comment and discuss!

But I place this information here with the same intentions as the author, if it really does work (the bit about playing hard to get), I hope it helps you.

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