When presenting yourself for an opportunity, you do what City Hall council does with the roads when we expect dignitaries in the country. You beautify your resume and tweak it to what a prospective employer is looking for to fill their vacancy. If this is sufficiently impressive, you get an interview invitation for which you take special care in your grooming and arrive in your best professional attire.
You are a great advertiser and your knack for creating attention-grabbing written and visual communication is unparalleled. You take this a notch higher by putting your best foot forward during the interview. You are the epitome of knowledge, skills, and experience and boom! You land the job. Congratulations!
When you get the job, you will become better or so you told yourself. You’re actually very good talent, you think. Your current employer just never gets to see that side of you because… well, because he pays you peanuts, you live on a shoestring budget and the old goat is a daily pain in the wrong place, right? Now that you have “luckily” landed this great opportunity that is in “a challenging environment that allows you to express yourself and grow your career while meaningfully contributing to the organisations goals”, you will magically morph into the model executive. You will be presentable, productive, reliable and dependable. You will meet your deadlines and surpass your targets every single time… And all these great traits in you will be realised because you’re now “motivated”. Wow. It’s a pleasure to meet you, Angel, I am also an annointed one!
All you have done is gloss yourself in your target employer’s favourite colour and fraudulently landed the job. In some cases, the end justifies the means. In this case, you’ve made lots of false promises about who you are, what you bring on board and how productive your cost centre is going to be with you in it for your new employer. The trouble is that today, most experienced employers are wiser. They have burned their fingers one too many times by trusting and hiring your ilk for long enough and they get cynical when you paint such a perfect picture of yourself. You’re going to need to prove that all the glow in the picture you painted is not just creative use of Adobe Photoshop. The very first promise you will need to deliver on is your personal presentation so when you come dressed less than impressively and report a tad bit late on your first day claiming that you “under-estimated the traffic”, I want you to know that your new employer has warning signs lighting up all over your outfit and your wrist-watch.
All seems to be going well for a couple of weeks and then you’re late on a deadline because “you’re still learning the ropes”. Well, it is a new environment and one should be cut a little slack while on probation but this is not how you presented yourself. All the qualifications and experience you confidently highlighted during the interview process are starting to crack rather alarmingly. Another one or two of those infractions and it’s official; there’s a red alert on you. How could you have been so great during the recruitment process but prove to be such a disappointment immediately after?
You didn’t fool anyone but yourself. It only takes one more missed deadline or substandard presentation and your new employer soon accepts that they made a mistake. By law, you get a seven-day notice during your probationary period to find another opportunity elsewhere.
The problem, in my opinion is not you. You changed everything on the outside but failed to deal conclusively with the most important part of you – the inside. Everything you do is controlled by your thoughts, feelings and habits which constitute your self-image and attitude.
Your employer bought the colourful, calculated and powerful words you used to match your resume to their job description. Your well-fitting business suit, immaculately coiffed hair and practised amiable disposition got you the job but the real you is not as easy to tweak in such simple and easily attainable ways. The real you requires guided instruction on where you are, how you got there and the belief systems that keep you there.
The real you requires deliberate understanding of your purpose. The real you needs to understand the meaningfulness with which it is wise for you to approach every endeavour.
The real you needs to muster the requisite will to remain on track no matter how colourful the distractions, to understand your place as a born leader and influence the support of all around you to follow you out of choice rather than obligation.
The real you must appreciate the meaning of praxis so that your walk and talk are in alignment – you are an authentic person. The real you needs to understand that however successful your journey is, however well you live, you must leave well – like only leaders do. Your legacy forever makes your purpose in life a significant one.