Textured Thoughts In Text

(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com and Steve’s Tumblr.  Find out more at my newsletter.)

Gods I needed to see this article – Late-Stage Pandemic Is Messing With Your Brain. I feel so close to this author I never met, and far less alone.

This article is about what we’re experiencing during the pandemic and why. It’s filled with all-to-familiar descriptions of things we’re all dealing with. Such as:

. . . I feel like I have spent the past year being pushed through a pasta extruder. I wake up groggy and spend every day moving from the couch to the dining-room table to the bed and back. At some point night falls, and at some point after that I close work-related browser windows and open leisure-related ones.

These are words with texture. Though the article lists of science facts and quotes from experts, but these words remind you someone else out there is like you. It’s great to know why but this article also says yes, I am there as well.

We need articles and writing like this.

Earlier I noted I had gone from “please no Pandemic writing” to “let’s write about it.” This article is a grand example why, not just for the facts, but for the feelings. Facts explain, but feelings help us understand. Those personal words, those tar-sticky sentences that attach to our minds, create connection.

This is why even in an area that may be oversaturated – like the inevitable writing about the Pandemic – it is valuable to write and write well. Those deep connections you make with your textured words, those gritty little sentences, help people “get it.” They may “get” a scientific truth or just why you’re complaining, but they “get it” and take something away from the experience of reading.

Writing and writing well will connect you to people, even over things that may seem banal. So keep writing, as we all need that connection. If anything in these lonely times, we’re reminded of how even text from a stranger helps us feel understood and seen and be part of something.

Steven Savage

Steve’s Job Search 2012: Empathy

(Steve’s seemingly never-ending series of what he learned in his last job search continues . . .)

On your job search, you’re dealing with people.  People like you one way or another.

I’ve always emphasized empathy towards people doing recruitment, but over the last year and over my job search I began to realize how often we don’t empathize with others in our job search.  What of the people in HR?  The people doing the interviews?  The people you’re talking to that you may be working with?  The poor folks applying that annoying online test?

They could use empathy too, just like anyone else.

I found that having more empathy for everyone in the job search was good for me as a person.  It’s so easy to view the search as a kind of hunt or challenge or gauntlet, when really it’s just a bunch of people like you.  Remember that, take the time to think how they feel, to relate, to understand.  You’ll save yourself a lot of bitterness, delusion, and being a jerk.

The job search – as inhuman as it can seem sometime – is all about people.

I think this increased empathy helped me a lot in the job search.  I got more interviews.  I felt more comfortable with people – and helped them feel more comfortable.  I understood their needs and helped communicate how I could fulfill them.  I had a better sense of what was really going on for recruiters, companies, and jobs.

Also, it was more relaxing.  When you remember people are people, it’s easier to work with them.

Oh and needless to say, i felt like I was being a better person.

Not sure you can feel empathy during all the chaos?  Take a moment to put yourself in the shoes of other people and ask how you can help them.  During an interview put yourself in the interviewer’s shoes and ask what they feel and what they want.  Relate to them as people.

You’ll be surprised to find how easy it is to understand them just by taking a moment.  That moment may get you the job, save your sanity, or both.

Empathy.  It makes you a better person and helps you find a job.

– Steven Savage

Steven Savage is a Geek 2.0 writer, speaker, blogger, and job coach for professional and potentially professional geeks, fans, and otaku. He can be reached at https://www.stevensavage.com/

Frustration Friday: Remembering In Our Success

Yes, the economy sucks bad enough I expect it to have an event horizon, but you know what?  Some people are going to come out ahead in all of this crisis.  Some of you very people reading this blog, as well as a lot of other people who have yet to discover it (but hopefully will).

In economic downturns some people always come out ahead, because of luck, good location, avoiding disaster so they can prosper, or seeing new trends.  Sometimes it's a combination, but disasters do beget opportunities.

Some of these people (hopefully some of us) will thus come out of the mass global meltdown richer and wealthier (there is a difference).  Some of us will rise from ignorable fates to greatness in these hard times.

I sincerely hope those that do remember what it was like when life was lousy and have empathy for those who did not prosper, for those that lost out, and for those who are and will be poor.

A concern I have is that after this economic mess, those of us who prosper may end up so focused on our own success, after going through so much pain, that we'll forget how others suffer.  I worry that our own suffering means that, in our success, we'll have lost empathy for others.

I sincerely hope that doesn't happen.

These hard times are a chance to learn about the human condition, to extend our feelings to our fellow man and understand them, to widen the circle of our lives.  The hard times we go through are instructional, and teach us much.

Sadly, in hard times we can also cocoon ourselves away and forget about others.

So, I sincerely hope that there will be less of this, especially for those of us who prosper in the hard times.  The world will need more people who understand the pain of others to navigate the tough times ahead.

(Yeah, I know, not exactly my usual ranty Frustration Friday, but this was written post-Thanksgiving, so I'm thoughtful.)

Steven Savage