One thing that’s hard to do with blogs is to give people anonymity. We want to cultivate positive relationships, but people fear reading stories where they are portrayed in a less-than-stellar light. I would almost suggest that simply writing a story as it played out is dangerous in itself.
The reason for this is because of the divergence between the narrative inside most people’s heads–how they see themselves–and the reality of their situation. Usually there’s imbalances because no one can fully see themselves as they appear to others. It always becomes a pain, however, when dealing with someone who has taken the delusional way out.
So my story is simple: Several years ago, I gave some career advice to a colleague. They had recently graduated and were asking around if anyone knew of a job for them. I sent them a website that had ongoing postings of the latest jobs, but they were actually infuriated. They were asking for someone to give them a direct pipeline to a job, not for a link to something they’d have to make an effort and apply for.
Therein lies the rub in that this person claimed they wanted to work, but they didn’t want to expend the effort to throw out an e-mail of their CV. I have to add that I’ve never seen examples of this person’s work, so what does that tell you about their passion, or lack thereof?
They never ended up getting on track for that specific career. Years of frustration has mounted as this person works a heavy load to make ends meet. Yes, in their mind, they were better than what has materialized. But in reality, they were never “up” for it.
As happens with those feeling the pinch, their focus becomes self-directed. They tend to look at others who have it “easier” and feel betrayed. There’s already social separation, but then it becomes more and more pronounced. What’s the answer, if any?
Again, sometimes you can help people, and sometimes you can’t. The juncture for meaningful change is not passed by any means. We use up time, but there’s always more time. The individual in question could still go out there and get what they wanted–but only if they really wanted it. They don’t, maybe they never had anything more than a vague commitment to a career they picked by default.
Most important part of this story is whether I learned my lesson: You can’t help people unless they really want to be helped. Whether that’s helping someone with a lift or helping someone make the major leagues, they have to make an effort for it to happen. When that effort is absent, there’s nothing anyone else can say or do to change things.