Published 16/8/2013 on GoThinkBig
Jobseeking can be pretty miserable, we all know that – so don’t you get fed up of people telling you to be positive? How To Be Jobless, our anonymous blogger, thinks she should be allowed to be negative if she wants.
“You’ll never get a job if you think negatively.” What a popular myth this is. Unemployment slithered into our lives, and many see fit to react by reaching for their pom-poms and scissor-kicking for “positive mental attitude”.
These people are bastards. Bastards with yoghurt for brains. I know this because when I cracked them over the head, they said, “Careful! Don’t you know I have yoghurt for brains?”
I didn’t really. I just nodded, went home, cried into a sponge (one’s own tears are a great exfoliate, probably), and liked their Facebook status so they wouldn’t suspect I’d saturated sponges over something they’d said.
So it’s my fault, is it? I’m jobless because of my reaction to being jobless – feeling embarrassed and a little bit DESPERATELY UNHAPPY. Well, shame on me.
It’s a good time to pretend to be Amy Winehouse: they tried to make me to go to negativity rehab, and I told them in no uncertain terms that I intend to do no, no, no such thing.
One conversation happened after a particularly low month of “But…this job was The One…” Have you ever spotted a position so perfect for you, you fantasise they tailored the ad directly to you, because they’re too shy to just call and offer you the job? Yes, I have on occasion pictured the editor of the Guardian Life&Style section pulling my hair and running away.
Well, after too many incidents in which the hair-puller turned out to be Crazy Barry who lives down my road, I found another job listing I couldn’t have written better for myself.
My words: “I applied, but I’m not getting my hopes up.”
I was then lectured on the importance of staying positive by a woman so well-connected in her field (by accident of birth), she’s never even applied for a job on the open market. Ever. She once made a comment that distinctly implied she thinks job interviewees are served canapés. Apparently, “positivity and optimism” are the keys to getting employed. Yeah, that and falling out of your boss’s loins.
1) My face hurts
Faked enthusiasm is dangerous. It’s always the “Have a nice day!” employees who snap and spray bullets about.
A study by Michigan State University showed that a fake smile can actually worsen one’s mood. But a study by me showed it can improve one’s chances in a crazy eyes contest. So, swings and roundabouts.
2) “Being positive” is not a mystical good-things magnet
Sorry to spit the shine off your feng-shui’d world, but being positive has no necessary effect on whether or not you get a job. As long as your actions are hopeful – you apply for jobs, prepare for interviews, wash your hair – the voices in your head shouting “You lying polyester-clad TROLLEY-FACE, you will NOT be in touch!” can’t be heard over your glittering portfolio/firm handshake/willingness to work weekends.
“Smile and the world smiles with you”? Again, sorry to shoot down those bluebirds that dress you in the morning, and put them in a pie, which I deliberately undercook and throw at you, but what a fallacy. Why not “Cut out carbs and the world cuts out carbs with you”? Er…no. Cut out carbs and the world parades carbs in front of you. While smiling.
Positive feelings don’t attract positive events, they’re a RESULT of them. Did you flip it so you can trade in this sad sack for someone you can stand to be around?
Look, we know we’re not the best company right now, but please, don’t tell us this “negativity” is the reason we’re still unemployed. That’s like saying our muffin top is the reason we eat so many muffins. It’s illogical, hurtful, and makes us hungry for muffins.
3) People without hope have awesome lives
Positive people drink protein shakes, go to the gym and marinate things. People who’ve temporarily lost hope get to live the DREAM. Like eating doughnuts – old ones. For breakfast. Without even counting them. God, the textures. We’re unburdened by the pressures of daily life, like whether shoes are strictly necessary for a breakdown in the frozen aisle.
Why would you deny us the wallow? It’s packed with experiences you positive people can only DREAM of allowing yourselves. You think you’re cool with your cocktail hour? We have cocktail MONTHS. We’re in Screaming Aug-asm right now. Still recovering from Cuba Julibre.
Why would you recommend all the sludge of unemployment and none of the perks? Hang your heads in shame, you shoe-wearing, steak-marinating Pom-Pom flingers.
4) Your limitless supply of positivity is a reminder that we’re fresh out
“Cheer up! All your limbs work brilliantly! Look, a robin redbreast! Bright side! BLINDINGLY BRIGHT SIDE!”
We don’t want support in the form of positivity being vomited in our faces. In fact, it’s pretty disgusting to us that you have such a limitless supply. It’s like taking your poor friend to lunch, but instead of picking somewhere that does good chicken, you take them to the Ritz and order them the caviar-encrusted lobster swimming in champagne. At some point it’s not so much kindness as flaunting your privilege.
However well-meaning you are in showering us with sunshine, it doesn’t last for us. It follows you right out the door. Don’t underestimate the healing properties of a simple “Mate, your situation sucks a big old pile of monkey balls.”
5) Being a loser is a prelude to greater things
The hero of the story has to get into a losing position before coming back to rescue the earth and get the girl/guy. The BADDIE is the one who thinks their win is just around the corner. So would you mind letting us believe all hope is lost so we can rise up and save the bloody day?
So have a wallow, jobseekers, and feel free to whinge at me on Twitter. Misery loves company, and I am that company.