Are attitude and opportunity really so closely related?

I am going to establish a comparison between two people and will introduce an specific situation in which we will observe both of these people react, then I will properly elaborate on the generals and particulars of the current point to review:

On one side we have “A”, 30 years of age, lives with his girlfriend (they both work), some pets, no kids: “A” has bills to pay, he rents, has a loan, typical grown people obligations.

On the other side we have “B”, in her 30’s, lives with her boyfriend (she has a steady job, he’s constantly in and out of it) and two kids (1 year and 9-10 months), one pet, mother-in-law lives with them (she offers no financial aid whatsoever), they have a house in the Caribbean, have a car, family near said house, one pet, house is still being paid,they rent in the city,  have loans, credit card debts,etc.

“A” and “B” work in the same company, they are friends, actually most of their department know each other; this is a 30-35 people department and 1 manager, this is a good job: fairly well paid, amazing benefits, weekends off, home office 80%-90% of the time.

“A” and “B” don’t really feel all that excited about their job anymore… the company is in no way related to their careers”

“A” and “B” don’t really feel all that excited about their job anymore but this is related to the tasks they perform, they don’t feel challenged anymore, they are not learning anything new; in reality “A” is a Graphic Designer and “B” studied Advertising but for a great number of particular situations ended up working in the same place; the company is in no way related to their careers so it is understandable that at some point they feel frustrated, trapped and all sorts of negative thoughts invade their minds.

One day they are all summon back to the office, home office has been cancelled, this lasts a week and then except for the manager and one collaborator, the entire department gets fired, the general reaction of course is shock, sadness, stress, uncertainty, common reactions to a situation like this however “A” is happy, “B”… not so much.

“A” is happy because he feels he wouldn’t have left the company soon enough and now he can do other things he loves, he knows his girlfriend won’t be all that excited about the news but he remains calmed, “B” immediately reacts with sarcasm as a coping mechanism to hide her frustration.

They get a full compensation, an unusual fact since nowadays most companies will only compensate their workers for 60%-70% tops, the company even offers a chance to apply once again within the next 3 months for any position available and promises to give them preference.

“A” starts planning how to make the most out of this money, how to use it for what he is choosing to do next … “B” is running around in circles thinking how to make the most out of this money to pay her debts”

“A” starts planning how to make the most out of this money, how to use it for what he is choosing to do next, “B” is running around in circles thinking how to make the most out of this money to pay her (and her boyfriend’s provoked) debts, support her children and fulfill her day to day financial obligations, the rest of the team starts planning some vacation time and the places where they will be applying for a position next.

Everybody advices “B” to move to the Caribbean, setup her house, find a job, after all, it is a place with high tourism traffic so finding a job when you speak english in a place like that is not all that complicated, “B” simply agrees with everybody which “A” knows is her way to ignore them.

“A” decides to invest his money on some certifications that will help him find better opportunities doing what he loves: Fitness, he also buys equipment he will be needing to do so and to properly train people, buys a bicycle to move around the city to save money on public transportation, buys stock for his clothing company, saves some money for 2-3 months worth of expenses, prints business cards to promote his services, starts designing his website, continues boosting his social networks to attract new customers, he even takes a moment to write to a friend in the Caribbean that might be able to get a job for “B” and her boyfriend, his friend says it is a given, he tells “B” about it, she just needs to mail her CV and her boyfriend’s.

“B” decides to pay a part of her debts and stay in town blowing off the job “A” had helped her get, she is continuously texting her ex teammates to ask if they already found a job,  everybody tags her in offers, she continuously dismisses every single one of them: “they’re too far”, “I need home office to take care of my children”, “the salary is too low”, “days off are not on the weekend” and so forth, quickly everybody stops trying to help her.

“Within a month, month and a half most of the guys find job… “B” is still on the look.”

Within a month, month and a half most of the guys find job; a friend of “A” ‘s tagged him on a job offer and he decided he would give it a try in spite having no proper experience in that sort of selection process or work environment and he is now finishing his selection process and is informed he only needs to take some paperwork to RH to get hired, “B” is still on the look.

What do you think has happened?

Lets compare “A” and “B”‘s reactions:

  • While “B” saw the lay off as a failure and an extra reason to stress about “A” saw it as an opportunity to actually get closer to one of his all time goals: Becoming a Fitness Coach, he seized the moment and turned it into a positive way to start moving!
  • While “B” continued running around in circles checking what everybody else was doing “A” started “moving his chips” in silence, focused only on what he had to do to get closer to the short term goals he had set for himself
  • While “B” continued dismissing possible job opportunities “A” took  a leap out of his comfort zone and decided to take a chance into the unknown
  • While “B” is simply trying to find ONE source of fixed income “A” has 3 different projects that managed properly will report him greater earnings

“…Companies are not interested in hiring people with attitude issues, they are seeking for people that have a hands on approach…”

If we read these points (We don’t even need to read them all that carefully) we can realize that, YES, OPPORTUNITIES ARE CLOSELY RELATED TO ATTITUDE, you cannot expect to be given all the opportunities you wish for if you go around life with a crappy attitude, because it says so much about you as a person and it says lots about your character; truth be told, companies are not interested in hiring people with attitude issues, they are seeking for people that have a hands on approach, people that proves to work well with others, goal oriented, laid back, optimistic, hard working.

Don’t make the mistake to stress over things that are not even within your control, it is a recipe for failure, focus on what YOU CAN DO to make the best out of every situation, stop looking at what everybody else is doing if it’s not to learn and apply to your own, take a time to actually be honestly happy for others success, don’t be afraid to try and fail, we are only humans and be sure that the fall will teach you more than simply getting your way.

 

A shifting point in my life

When I was around 15 years old my mom made a deal with me, she would pay for my career, any career, if I would finish high school in the best high school there was; at the time this was a high school specializing in physics and mathematics, 2 subjects in which I truly suck at but, I took the deal, my mom was still a prolific civil engineer, researcher with a masters in hydraulics and a well respected profesor at her alma mater so although we were never “rich” we would get by, high mid class perhaps.

Finishing high school took me longer than expected and it meant to switch from the high school my mom wanted to the one I wanted so by then my mom had retired and the family income (depending solely on her since my sisters and I were still young and none of our parents were present) was considerably lower than it used to be so my mom told me:

“You have 2 options, either you start working to pay for your career if you want to continue studying or you start working to support yourself”

Not the options I was expecting to hear, specially after 21 years filled with a comfortable life where she provided everything, I was some sort of a spoiled brat if you will…

I decided I wanted to continue my education, Mexico has 3 major free education universities and only one of those universities has the career I wanted but I failed the test to get in by 2 points, I felt crushed but at the same time it did not feel like such a big deal for me, I wasn’t really grasping the real situation I was in but I also didn’t want to lose more time to resume my education since I had spend 4 extra years in high school alone so I began looking for private options until I found one that suited me.

After I had selected the school I wanted to attend and researched the cost of the tuitions I had to start looking for a job that would allow me to pay for it plus the materials I was going to need (graphic design is one of the most expensive careers) but I had no experience in any area, my mom was still giving me some money but only enough so I could go out to find a job, as I said I wasn’t really all that worried yet so I used to spend those days hanging out with my then girlfriend and talking to my friends.

I spend almost two months like this pretty much doing nothing, wasting my time and my mom’s money until one day I said: “ok, I’ll try to go to one interview today”, mostly because my mom would always ask me how my day had been and I was tired of lying about inexistent jobs that were not good enough.

I remembered discussing the matter with an old friend from my first high school and I clearly remembered how she told me: “you should go to a call center, they pay good money and they only require you to have a good level of conversational English and you’re very good at it anyways, there’s one downtown”, true, I was very good at writing and understanding English but I had never before in my life had a fluid conversation with anybody, mostly because I had nobody to practice with, so I did not take her advice so seriously.

One day I decided to actually show for an interview, the job seemed too good to be true to begin with but I decided to give it a try anyway, it was a scam, I knew it the second I set a foot inside the “office”, the place had a waiting room with individual chairs, a flat screen hanging on the wall with a tiny DVD player attached in the middle of it all, and all around three maybe four cubicles with brand new furniture, no phones, no computers; once I got called into one of the cubicles a woman began explaining everything about the job but I don’t really remember a thing since I was busy examining the surroundings: book shelves with fake binders in them and I’m not talking about a full book shelve, only two or three “binders”, no stationary, enough to say that when the woman had to get out of the cubicle to pick up some papers I got out of there.

I ended up walking around downtown just thinking if all the jobs that seemed well paid would end up being a scam and if it might be more difficult than I thought to find a job when I turned to my left and saw a poster that said: “We are hiring, tech support and customer service representatives” so I automatically thought of my friend who had told me about this call center (I had no idea what they were or what they did but it sounded like a good job), I disregarded it, I kept walking to the corner of the street and then it hit me just like a lightning, the thought of never doing anything with my life and becoming a useless parasite, not that my mom would ever allow that but still, the thought of seeing myself as an individual not as my mother’s son, but as a man, wasting my life; I went back on my steps and got inside the building.

I filled in all the forms, I passed all the tests, even a simulated call where I had to explain an elderly person how to send a text message from his cellphone which he had only ever used for calls, I got congratulated for my highly fluid English and I even got lucky enough to be reasigned to a contract that paid the double that the one I was initially hired for, everything turned out just fine.

Whenever I think back or whenever a person asks me about a life changing moment I always go back to that day, it wasn’t a special day, I wasn’t really looking to get any job necessarily but it was the day I decided I was going to do something for myself, the day I decided I didn’t want to be a failure or a burden, I didn’t want to live a life full of regrets, of “what ifs”, of sitting around and wonder.

It was the day I finally took a conscious, rational and mature decision by and for myself and in my mind and heart it will forever by the day my adult life really started.

Everything was new, everything was scary, I felt inadequate, ignorant, vulnerable but I felt for the first time ever that all that didn’t matter, that it was ok for me to be scared to not know to allow myself to learn without being judged without judging, it was a humbling experience that I will always cherish.