How to handle a pessimist in the elevator


In past blogs, we showed you how to build your flash story, also known as an elevator pitch, and how to deliver it.

We recommend you share the story far and wide. But just as with any prescription, there’s always a possible side effect. A risk that that can be a setback for you — if you aren’t careful.  In this case, it’s being trapped in an elevator with a pessimist.  You can step in feeling hopeful and step out feeling hopeless.

Research shows about 44% of people find work through networking. That alone makes the case for why it’s worth it to spread your flash story around.

It’s a numbers game. The probability of encouragement and leads increases the more you share your couple of sentences. But so too does the chance you’ll have your enthusiasm stomped on by someone.

Pessimist-catYou know who we’re talking about. The downers who respond to your elevator pitch with a grim anecdote about some friend of a friend “with your exact experience and skills” who hasn’t found work in 10 years.

They would say they’re only giving you a reality check. That’s not what we’d call it.

To give these pessimists the benefit of the doubt, they may be well-intentioned. But they’re definitely not well-informed or all knowing. They aren’t experts in your field and take it from us, they’re not experts in recruitment.

With that in mind, consider these tips:

When you come up against a naysayer, just talk weather.  

You know the saying, if you don’t like the conversation, change the subject. This is another instance when that principle applies.

As recruiters, we know it’s essential for you to protect your optimism and energy – these are qualities that sell you. So if not the weather, what about those Jays?

 Probe with genuine interest for factual details about their “friend of a friend’s” experience

Ask, “What were their projects? What were the measurable outcomes? What skills do their references emphasize? In fact, who are their references? Who have they interviewed with?”

This is another way of nudging the pessimist to realize they don’t have the facts to back up their claim that you’re (a) exactly like someone else, and (b) doomed.

At The Bagg Group, we’ve placed more than 60,000 candidates successfully over our 40-year history. Imagine how many thousands of hires have joked, with relief, to our recruiters that friends, neighbors, people in elevators, warned them they’d never get a job and there was no work to be had.

It’s easy to laugh off the pessimists as soon as you’re offered a position. It’s harder to block their doom and gloom while you’re still looking.

That’s why Bagg Group CEO Geoff Bagg has gone on the record innumerable times to urge people to not give up.   Stay committed and flexible, and think about contracts and temp work while staying on top of needs and trends in your area of expertise.

swimming-against-the-tide If you really feel like you’re going against the tide … here are some tips to strengthen your swimming from The Bagg Goup’s expert recruiters.

Waiting for a call, an email, a break is tough, unless you change your story about it:

Don’t think of what you’re doing as waiting, consider it your time of exploration.  We don’t get those often in life.

Change the word for what you’re doing, and everything changes:

Waiting is passive. Exploring is active, engaging and game-changing.  (And by the way, Bagg ProfessionalBagg Technology ResourcesBagg @ Your ServiceBagg Managed Resources and TurnKey Staffing Solutions all also offer contract and temporary placements which are a great way to explore companies.)

 Be prepared to tell a pessimist who suggests your working life is over (as if) that this is an interesting time for you…but believe it yourself first.

For you to believe it, plot it out.   Blue sky a list of things you’d like to do that are both job related and not-job related. Circle the easiest things on your list and start with those.  It doesn’t have to be a major undertaking.

Research shows 79% of us choose to move on rather than wait for more than 7 minutes in line.  

Why? Because we most us feel much better when we’re moving forward rather than standing still.

So instead of staying in waiting mode, ask yourself, “what does movement forward look like for me today?”

Finally, discount the pessimist in the elevator.  But don’t be too harsh on them.  As someone once said, it took an optimist to build a plane, but a pessimist to come up with the parachute.

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