Small Talk

There’s something to say for enthusiasm

I’m not feeling amusing today. I am feeling righteous anger, or at least I think it’s righteous.

I just heard a radio commentator give the job-search advice that you should never apply for several different jobs at any one company because “It makes you look desperate.”

Apparently companies only want you to apply for a single spot and convince them you are uber-qualified for it.

Wouldn’t that be lovely in a perfect world?

And when did enthusiasm suddenly become desperation?

If I had hackles, they would have shot up when I heard this advice.

I suppose it was directed at the recently graduated or the nuclear physicist, but it is a slap in the face to a huge part of our current job-seeking society.

Why? Because they ARE desperate and, as a result, ready to flex.

Their company has gone belly-up or perhaps they’ve been laid off because their employer figured out how to foist their job onto some other overworked staff member, making them obsolete.

This was six months ago and they have been unable to find another like position for which their training is a custom fit.

They haven’t even been able to find a less familiar position and they have truly tried. And now they can’t pay their bills, repair their car or afford food and may soon have nowhere to live. It doesn’t take long in southern California.

Or perhaps you are one of the many who were never steered toward college or a trade.

You had a split or marginal home life, and worrying about your future education and employment didn’t even make the top 100 concerns.

You took what jobs you could get but they didn’t train you for anything special.

They barely kept a roof over your head as a single 20-something.

Now, you realize it’s time to get some experience and you are quite willing to do any number of things simply to get your life on track.

And no, you can’t put your life on hold to earn a degree that won’t guarantee a job anyway.

You can work a cash register, stock shelves, take orders, add in your head, assemble things and organize paperwork, but more importantly, you are a quick learner, you are honest, diligent, punctual, reliable and enthusiastic.

You are willing to give any number of positions a shot, but heaven forbid you indicate that on your resume and “look desperate.”

Besides, to list enthusiasm and loyalty on a resume is often disregarded as trite, since you had to apply online, they haven’t met you and have no reason to believe you’re not blowing smoke.

My words to every Human Resource department out there is to get a reality check and remember the value of on-the-job training and giving someone a chance.

You may well be passing up a worthy, capable and loyal employee simply because they don’t fit your precise job description.

Enthusiasm counts for a lot, or should.

Jean Gillette is a freelance writer who knows too many young men and women who are “desperate” and shouldn’t be discounted for it. Contact her a