I’d like to talk today about optimism. I think it is great to be optimistic about what you do and think. Often it allows us to focus and forget about things that have passed. But how much optimism is too much? Is it unhealthy due to its ability to cover up our shortcomings?
I recently applied for a traineeship at a large accounting firm (who will not be named here). They put a large focus on hiring the right people i.e. spend a lot on their recruiting, finding those who fit their ‘core values’. Now, I got a fair way through this recruiting process, met a lot of great people, but today, I got a call from their one of their recruiting staff. I didn’t make it. It does take a great deal of guts to deliver bad news, even over the phone. Most would rather use email to do the same. After that call, thoughts were provoked. Should one start to be sceptical about what people say, especially when they speak from an overlooking perspective (such as from the viewpoint of a company)?
The recruit staff had told the candidates all the way, “Be yourself … accountants are people, they like to talk”. When I look back at the experience, it was a mistake to take their advice literally, part or whole. Everyone there is so competitive, so you have to change your behaviours to set yourself apart. I now realise what has been apparent for so long. Life is competitive. Enjoy the challenge, but don’t let it drag you down. Let each failure be a lesson for the future.
Was it also a mistake to be too optimistic? Did too much enthusiasm spoil my chances?
If anyone who I met from that particular traineeship is reading this, it was great to meet you, good luck for the future, I hope we meet again somewhere, someday.