I’ve always been that awkward person. The one who talks too loudly or not at all.
The one who never really nailed small talk, who overthinks social events, and leads with her heart rather than her head.
In my career my awkwardness has followed me around, tripping me up and making me second guess every move I make.
A few weeks ago I picked up Jennifer Romolini’s book Weird in a World That’s Not: A Career Guide for Misfits, F**k Ups and Failures and it has profoundly changed the way I look at my career and redefined my idea of success.
Romolini is a weird person who has created her own success in the world that’s not weird, and in a world that’s not always kind to weird people.
At 27, Romolini was broke, unemployed, and running around New York City in a cheap polyester suit attending every job interview she was offered in the publishing industry – and not getting any of the jobs.
Eventually, she returned to her hometown and resigned herself to a life of waitressing. Then she got a phone call. One more media company wanted to interview her, and after attending the interview, she got the job.
You see, after dozens of rejected job applications Romolini tried a different tact with this one. She was honest, she was authentic and she was just her weird self – and they loved it.
Romolini says the single most important advice she can give to jobseekers is ‘DON’T fake it til you make it’.
“Don’t oversell yourself. A smart boss will see right through it and will not hire you; a less smart boss will believe you and expect you to flex those skills on day one and you will start your job on the wrong foot and perhaps never recover,” she wrote.
“You have merit as precisely what are you at the moment. Stick with that.”