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Blog |   22. Mar 2019

Madina Balgabek


Being yourself has never paid off. I’m not talking about Van Gogh or Amy Winehouse. I mean ordinary people. The rest of us.

Even in the hour of promoting individualism and acceptance of all races, genders, nationalities, body positivism, wrinkles and freckles, we still cannot fully be ourselves.

It almost feels as though this movement didn’t reach the labor market. We’re all weird in our own beautiful way but still hide some parts that are not yet discovered and approved by the media or tons of psychological tests and studies.

Until then, it’s a very slow process of finding a company that places greater value on personalities rather than the top-performing 5% academics. I’m back to talking about job hunting and how it’s affecting my viewpoint on the process and how it makes me feel.

Being yourself has never paid off. I’m not talking about Van Gogh or Amy Winehouse. I mean ordinary people. The rest of us.

I decided to write candid motivation letters, speak honestly at interviews and follow the ‘just be yourself’ advice. I must admit it hurts when your true self is regarded as something irrelevant and that can make you feel ugly.

The first hurdle is to find a job ad that is unique and speaks you as an individual rather than addressing you like you’re one of a gazillion oxygen molecules floating around. The classic job ad for student positions, interns and entry-level positions has the exact same meaning: We want the perfect Barbie in our house.

They all want smart and somebody whose CV screams ‘I know what I want to be when I grow up’. But how many of us know exactly what we want to do after graduation?

Applying for jobs at the moment is making me feel insecure about who I am in this world and why I can’t be seen

In Kazakhstan, people say that if you don’t know what you want to be, go study economics, finance or business. So, unless the child in you has always dreamt of tapping on a keyboard and talking to people in meetings about how to make more money or save more money, you’re the same as everybody else.

Another quality that recruiters mention is a candidate with strong communication skills. But you also need to love Excel because you’re going to be stuck in it for 4-5 hours a day. You need to be service-minded and willing to help your colleagues as well as goal-oriented and good at making decisions fast – and execute, execute, execute.

Well, you all know there are many personality tests that can describe your employee-type in all sorts of ways and one of them is called ‘Insights’, which says that people can be differentiated by four colors: red for impatient and execution-oriented doers; yellow for ‘I hate doing the same thing every day’ creative minds; green for ‘let’s have peace’ people lovers; and blue for those Excel number-crunchers with a flair for analytics.

And execute, execute, execute

People can have all four colors in their personality and use them according to the situation. But people mostly have one or two dominating colors, and the main idea is that blue and yellow, and red and green are opposite personalities. So how can you expect a person to be great at crunching Excel all day, everyday and at the same time bring creative problem-solving to the table?

Applying for jobs at the moment is making me feel insecure about who I am in this world and why I can’t be seen.

I can attend dozens of CV and cover letter workshops at CBS and more, but I don’t want to be turned into an ‘everywoman’ as advised by this Japanese proverb: “The nail that sticks out gets hammered down”. Is there a new way to make people feel less miserable and irrelevant, and more motivated and happy?


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