Damn, sounds dirty doesn’t it? The fact is, selling yourself is half of the equation in being successful. The other half? Having a skill or experience in a given background.
I’m writing about this because I find it to be incredibly discouraging when you look at the place the economy is in: a mixture of people graduating with degrees they can’t apply anywhere, and next to them people who feel they can’t get above and beyond a low paying, dead-end job. I look at everything and you guessed it, I view the world as a steaming pile of shit. Now, my opinion on that matter won’t change, but I will point out a few things that many of us overlook and need to reconsider.
Stop selling yourself short
Each of us have a talent or ability. It could be having a way with words, it could be great analytic skills, and it could be something far more specific than that. The point is, identify your strength and run with it. I am solid with words, if you saw me chasing after some mathematical profession and ignoring my talent, what would you think of me? You would think: he is a fucking idiot, and you would be 100% right.
We have people telling us all our lives we need to do this or that, the answer is inside of yourself, not some asinine drill sergeant routine that tells you that you have to get your live in order. Go after what you are good at and try to find a way to be passionate about it. Personalize it, brand yourself, and make yourself the core to your own success.
When negotiating terms for yourself on what you will accept for pay, have some kind of figure in mind. Know what you will say no to, also be aware of what kind of arrangement you will not tolerate. I’ve dealt with some clients that the arrangement was simply too much of a hassle to deal with, I let them go. I won’t provide specific examples, but the point is, some matches simply aren’t meant to be. Be honest with yourself, people will take advantage of good nature if you let them. Lying to yourself is only setting yourself up for failure.
“It could work!” If you are asking yourself that or saying it, the arrangement is already fucked, move forward.
Take yourself serious
People will take you as serious as you take yourself. If you treat yourself like a joke and feel you are capable of nothing, guess what? You are going to make one hell of a door mat. You have to divide yourself in a manner of speaking: define yourself on a professional level and a personal and try your best not to mix the two too much. Some will say “You can be friendly and friends with people at work!” I don’t disagree, but I will say that as long as their is a friendship kind of affiliation in a workplace it will never meet its full potential.
Professionally there is a way of viewing things, personally there is a way of viewing things, when you mix the two together the outcome is stupidity. It’s a lack of follow through for one reason or another, the two simply have separate goals. One mixes the responsibility of ‘wanting’ to be nice. The other simply focuses on the best overall outcome, do the two sound the same at all?
Anyway, point is, learn how you want to apply yourself in a professional atmosphere, and learn how and when you want to apply yourself in a personal way. The two should be divided, they can be mixed, but look at the most successful people in the world, do you think they are at work joking about how they got trashed and how hungover they are? Or does someone go into a successful establishment that way and get tossed out on their ass? Just something to consider.
When you know what you are doing with a particular skill, don’t be afraid to speak up. Successful people dare to speak up and question things, do the same. You need to be confident in yourself if you are claiming to be talented in a given way, if you second guess yourself that means going right back to taking yourself serious, if you don’t believe in yourself how can you expect others to?
Consider the area of work you want to be a part of and learn, and learn a lot. Take the time to read about it, check out books, become well-versed enough in a given field to be able to discuss it with solid fact and opinion. When you are on this level of knowledge then you are ready to apply for jobs in its given field. You can become an expert in something entirely on your own, you don’t need someones help to do it. As a matter of fact, anyone that tries to hold my hand when I am trying to learn something simply pisses me off. Take the time to learn and pave your own way toward success.
Wait it out
Wait it out for an opportunity. I get it, some people have bills to pay and you need to work something, even if it is a lot less than what you are looking for, that can make it a lot tougher. This is a situation in which you have no choice but to struggle it out and mix hunting for a better opportunity along with working something that you hate, it can be inspiring in its own right though.
If you are in a position where you have time to look though, do so. I’ve always had it drilled into my head “Work something, it is better than nothing,” I really don’t agree. I hate retail. I think people in retail are treated like shit, paid terrible, and the time put there is better off placed behind a computer running through Craigslist, Indeed, or whatever else. I use a lot of job boards as a means of finding opportunities, hearing back from one or two beats the hell out of working 20-30 hours at a retail store being treated like shit from customers, worse from store management, and at the end of the week going: “Well I’ll be damned, half my check went toward gas to get here,” sure, that is exaggerated, but the point is, retails simply isn’t worth it.
If you are a high school kid making some side money I get it, when you are looking for a way to pay for bills it’s asking too much of people for too little.
Long story short here, primarily because I’m tired of writing, don’t sell yourself short. Believe in yourself, build a skill set that is desired with specific areas, and never lose that professional confidence in what you can achieve. If you choose the path that you are going to make something of yourself and not let people walk on you, it may take a while, but you will get there.
If you choose to let people use you as a doormat, until you change your attitude, there is no going back.