Credentials or Character…Which One Will Get You a Job?

Lately, I feel at a loss for how I can be part the United States “righting” itself again.  We’re off kilter as a country and our economic future seems hopeless.  The nightly news is negative and daily life seems to be more of a grind than celebratory.

As a Relationship Systems Coach, my role is to help people develop a sustainable lifestyle…as opposed to remaining emotionally stuck and becoming dysfunctional!  Life is not easy – Yet we’ve absorbed the kooky idea that it should be.


In the beginning, young America built its’ empire upon the base of chutzpah, hard work, sweat and tears.  We were a country that worked together for a higher cause and held each other accountable.  Through the years, we subtly shifted our philosophy.  We decided to teach “easy” because we didn’t want our children to suffer like us.  We didn’t want life to be TOO hard – Hence, “The Dumbing-Down of America”.  It’s been happening for many generations and is the result of the sliding scale, interpretation of abuse and bullying.  With the never-ending buzz about having to meet our emotional needs, and honing our interpersonal skills, we stopped building character…and started building resumes.  On the whole, young people today have an inability to deal with challenge, accept change and have a laundry list of conditions about finding the right job.

Mike Rowe says it best in his response to a young man seeking career advice –

Stop looking for the “right” career, and start looking for a job. Any job. Forget about what you like. Focus on what’s available. Get yourself hired. Show up early. Stay late. Volunteer for the scut work. Become indispensable.

Mickey Drexler is the CEO of J. Crew.  He’s fed up with the “manufactured resumes” of newbies right out of college “who make it a point to brag about what they’ve learned touring the world, studying abroad and tackling humanitarian crises.”

Let’s be honest here.  I don’t know anybody who would want to hire someone who’s still wet behind the ears, touting their life experiences.  It just screams ego.  For those of you who don’t agree – Don’t get your knickers in a twist about Mr. Drexler not appreciating the candidate’s worldly experience.  Rank, title, status and privilege are part of the realities of employment.  How you use it and abuse it is a different conversation that highlights the difference between management and leadership.

To all you grads out there just entering the workforce, by all means, “Follow your passion”.  But once you fall into the trap of thinking career, instead of finding a J-O-B and gaining work experience, you’re gunna need a therapist.  Define your goals and focus on promoting your character to your future employer.  Be eager to please and meet expectations of the work relationship.  Focus on the reality of needing to pay your bills.  Trust me; your emotional needs will be met when you have money left over to buy a pizza!

Kathleen Mangiafico

Kathleen Mangiafico, ORSCC is a Relationship Specialist. She works with individuals and organizations on how to navigate through cultural and generational conflict. With a mix of corporate/non-profit experience and a 19 yr. culturally rich marriage (with 3 vivacious boys!), she has the expertise to shift your perspective from, "Who's doing what to whom?" to "What's trying to happen for the sake of YOUR business relationship?" Connect with Kathleen.


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