One of the totally random things I’ve done a lot of in my working life, both pre and post career transition, is recruiting. Recruiting, hiring, whatever you call it, basically I spend a lot of time looking at dozens or maybe even hundreds of resumes trying to figure out who I’d like to interview. And then, I have to know what questions to ask in the interview to get at the information I really want and need.
It’s a lot like dating, actually.
Anyway, it might sound counter-intuitive, but here’s one of the weird little things that’s in my mind when I’m hiring: I don’t really trust people who look too perfect on paper to be able to handle tough jobs.
Let me explain what I mean by “too perfect on paper”. These are the people who seem to be on the course for success from the day they’re born. They get in to a good college straight out of high school. While they’re in college they do exciting internships. Probably study abroad. Get good grades. Make sure they graduate in four years. Then they get a good job right out of school. And then, never do they find themselves unemployed or in transition. The only time they’re looking for a new job is when they’re in search for a better opportunity.
Nope, I don’t trust those people to handle the tough jobs. For the really hard jobs, the ones with lots of obstacles, I look for someone who’s obviously fucked up at least once in their lives and then managed to pick themselves up and dust themselves off. Because really, we learn from experience. And the best way to learn how to survive failure (and let’s face it, failure can be humiliating and ego-shattering and cause even the strongest of us to doubt everything we ever believed in) is to have survived failure once before. And there are some jobs where failure is kind of built in. You might succeed sometimes, but chances are you’ll fail sometimes, too.
So when I look at resumes, I actually look for people who’ve struggled a little and won. Who didn’t always have a smooth path. Not for every job. The perfect looking people are a great match for some other jobs. Just not the most challenging ones.
So, you’ve probably guessed where I’m going with this. I feel similarly about men in the dating world. I was talking with a single woman I know. She’s younger than me and maybe that’s why our perspectives are so different. But she was saying that she was wary of divorced men. She felt like she couldn’t trust them to stick to their commitment. And well, I just think that’s insane.
I think that lots of good, smart, well-meaning people get divorced. And maybe the experience of having been married once will make them better partners the next time around because they’ll have learned from their mistakes. I kind of deeply believe that. That the divorced men I’ve dated were better boyfriends than the never marrieds. I don’t exactly discriminate against the never marrieds (that wouldn’t be fair, especially as I’ve never been married), but if I were using a point system the divorced guys would definitely get more points.
I wonder, am I the only one who thinks like this? Probably.
Tags: divorce, failure