Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Shyness a stumbling block for job-seeker

The shy person is at a disadvantage in a career chase. He keeps his talents under wraps while others less talented outsmart him as they are outgoing.

The shy person is unsure of himself. He is scared of others. He cannot go up the ladder of success because he is tense, ill at ease, and has a series of tight sequences inside.

He has, by virtue of upbringing, seen others look down upon him and reprimand him. This makes him shrink inside. So, when he goes for an interview, he is convinced that he is going to be disapproved — read rejected. And, more often than not, he is.

Here is one revealing anecdote. A bright student, a son of a high-ranking police officer, was coming to me for civil services interview tips.

I told him: one question you are almost sure to be asked is: what if you are not selected?

I told him that most candidates, exhibiting confidence, would say, “Sir, I will try again.”

This, I told him, was a stereotyped response. Instead say, “I have no reason to believe I am going to be rejected.”

I explained, “You have planted an idea. And an idea can change your life.”

It did happen in this case!

When the possibility of criticism worries you to such an extent that you dread facing a situation, it is necessary to take steps to get rid of the emotionally crippling, sinking feeling.

You develop a sinking feeling when you fail to overcome the fear of criticism or rejection.

The painful emotion associated with the experience of rejection and reprimand, lingers on in your memory. It resurfaces when a similar situation confronts you. Now, apply this to a vital interview you are facing on which your career hinges. It raises its ugly head, tells you you are unworthy, fit for rejection. And you come out of the committee room, head hanging.

It may be traced back to your school days. A sarcastic remark made by a thoughtless teacher may have made you feel small in front of a class of forty. You hid your face in humiliation and shame.

Now, it happens in adult life. You are facing only a group of four or five interviewers, but the complex rebounds on you. You replay the past role. When someone notices you, you retreat into the background. Take heart, this is learnt behaviour. You can unlearn it. You can overcome your shyness.