My friend Tim likes to send me links to job listings he’s considering and ask my opinion about whether he should apply. Pretty much without fail, my answer is yes (or really, YES!). There is always something—he’s not sure he wants to work for such a large company, or he’s worried that the hours will be too long, or he’s not sure if he’s really ready to leave his current job. But the thing is, it doesn’t matter. He should just apply!
I’ve bragged about jobs that I’ve rejected, but now it’s time to come clean and tell you about the jobs that have rejected me. Let me state for the record: I am someone who has been rejected from many jobs.
I’m pretty good at some things. I’m a fast reader, I can bake really delicious gluten-free peanut butter cookies from scratch, and I’m excellent at making up answers to questions I don’t actually know much about. If anything, I am sometimes overconfident in my abilities. Yet any ideas I have about having gift for public speaking are entirely fantasy.
Last year, a Gallup poll found that a lowly 30 percent of Americans are actually happy at work, and many complained of “bosses from hell” as a major reason. The truth is that it’s difficult to be a good manager. A good manager should, ideally, both direct your work and help you grow in your skills and career. She should be supportive, provide timely feedback, and help when you are stuck. She should be able to do all of this on top of the work that she needs to do herself. It’s said that people are promoted to the point of their incompetence, and this is especially true when it comes to management, since dealing with people is a skill that few people actively cultivate. And there are so, so many ways to be a bad manager.
“I think if we make a special effort to cultivate good relationships with people at work, get to know the other people, and bring our basic good human qualities to the workplace, that we can make a tremendous difference,” he writes. “Then, whatever kind of work we do, it can be a source of satisfaction.”