The Painful But Helpful Truth

I received a call from him on a Saturday. I was puzzled because it wasn’t a working day. I received the call as I was waiting for my bus, on my way to meet up with my family — they were in town for a few days to visit. I didn’t want to have the discussion right there and then. The timing was off. I tried to move the discussion in the next couple days as I’m tied up with family affairs but he replied back with “This is the only time I have, we either have this now or we may not get a chance to talk at all”. Judging by the tone of his voice, he wanted me to take him more seriously. I had no choice but to comply with his conditions (I asked for a favor, not a paid service).

We talked for an hour. Eighty five percent of that phone call was filled with negative observations about how crappy and unprofessional my resume was. I was basically bitched at for forty-five minutes. My ears bled (figuratively) — I almost cried listening to his harsh criticisms. He asked why I did this or that or why I didn’t write down this or that. He had a bunch of questions I didn’t know the answer to. I felt very stupid.

The whole time I thought I had a kick-ass resume. That same resume (he ripped to pieces) got me two jobs right away — but I could’ve never been more wrong. My resume was (in his words) “elementary”. No wonder why I couldn’t get any job interviews. But that criticism was exactly what I needed.

We’ve all heard it before, the truth hurts but it also sets you free. After damaging my ego /self-confidence for forty-five minutes, the rest of the phone call were loaded with compassion and words of encouragement.

The two words that fuelled my desire to get my shit together were “TAKE RESPONSIBILITY”. He said that I needed to start taking responsibility of my future — not only in terms of my career but my life. He noticed how the number of rejections I’ve received in the past fucked up my confidence sooooooo bad that I’ve forgotten about the fact that I have everything I needed to succeed.

The experience and skill sets I’ve gained were unique and he thought they were impressive. But I failed to communicate it. His words pushed me to stop thinking about excuses as to why I can’t do this or that. He made me realize that I have potential — that I can succeed. But none of those would be possible if I keep failing to take responsibility of my own actions.

Eliminate Your ‘Excuses to Avoid Success’

Before we ended our conversation, he asked me to write a brand new resume and that I send it to him on Monday which was two days after the phone call. The deadline he gave was very tight. I was tempted to use my family as an excuse to get an extension because I wanted to spend time with them as well. They’re only in town for a few days. I was in a position where I have to make a tough decision to either use the weekend to craft a new resume OR spend time with family? Which matters more family or career?

I was torn. But I’m also done with excuses. I needed to start taking responsibility as I was advised. So what did I do? I did both — spent time with the family during the day and spent the rest of my night crafting a new resume. A part of me wanted to complain about the situation I was in but complaining isn’t going to solve my problems. Instead of using my time and energy to complain, I focused on acting on solutions.

Monday came. He was impressed with my new resume. I had high hopes of getting interviews this time but things still didn’t turn out as I wanted. Three months later, I’m still not getting calls. Now this tells me that getting picked for a job interview is not only affected by the quality of my resume, but it is also highly affected by the job experience and skills I’ve listed in it. Again, that was an obvious fact on writing resumes but those were the things I overlooked. However, there are other lessons I learned throughout that experience:

Writing sincere messages are read — not ignored. “When you really need help, people will respond. Sincerity means dropping the image façade and showing a willingness to be vulnerable” — Jack Canfield.

Even if YOU THINK the chances of success are very slim, so slim that it seems like doing it is a waste of time, do it anyway. You’ve got nothing to lose. “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” — Wayne Gretzky

Be aware of your actions and thought process. You can’t change things you can’t see.Awareness precedes change” — from Life Lessons from The Monk Who Sold His Ferarri

Read the rest of the article on Improvement Curve



I write about insights drawn from the life of a father, full-time employee, digital artist and a newbie writer.

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RJ Reyes

RJ Reyes

I write about insights drawn from the life of a father, full-time employee, digital artist and a newbie writer.