vendredi 4 mars 2011

Qualities that make a nice person and a good friend

CV, friends, advice

I think I'm about to go insane with my CV. See, I found this perfect job. I mean my DREAM job. Perfect location. Perfect description. I don't know the salary but as long as it's reasonable, I don't care. And when I read the description I couldn't believe that it just fitted with my experience, like a jigsaw puzzle. And it's for a company I highly respect and have loved for a long time. It's so perfect which is why I'm obsessing about my CV and cover letter being perfect. The due date is in a couple of days but I want to send it off as early as possible. Problem is, I have to rely on Frenchies to help me correct it and of course noone is available exactly when I need them. If it were in English I could've sent it off on Monday or Tuesday already.

But... Just when I'd almost lost hope in humanity (after recent events and feeling kinda shit that people always let me down), my lawyer friend from Paris did a shitload of work on my CV today. I actually didn't expect it to happen. On Monday night we talked on Skype and he said to send it over and he'd have a look and he'd have it to me by Wednesday. On Wednesday night we talked again and he said he didn't have time to look at it yet but he could do it during his lunchtime on Thursday (ie today). I asked if it was possible to have it finished by 6pm today (not getting my hopes up too high or anything).

When 6pm came around and I hadn't received it back yet by email I wasn't surprised, and I wasn't angry, just a little disappointed. However, at around 6:30pm I got his reply. And I was completely blown away. I gave it to him in plain text format, not Word (because I don't have Word on my computer) and he actually put it into Word and not only just pasted it in, but formatted the whole thing for me as well. Then he basically went through the whole thing and practically retyped everything so it made sense in French, but not only that, changed the wording so it sounded more professional. You know, like using 'small' instead of 'little' and things like that. And he's a lawyer and a perfectionist and has an excellent vocabulary. I couldn't have asked a more perfect person to help me correct it.

As if that wasn't enough, he also sent me 2 links to 2 people's resumes online that would help me, as well as his own. Last night he said he couldn't show me his (for what reason, I don't know) so I accepted that but then he obviously changed his mind. It's weird how weird people get with their CVs. I've asked friends to send me their CVs and some will readily send it to me and other people will get funny about it, because it's like soooooooo private? I don't quite get it. All it does is make me think I'm not really their friend but I don't hassle people or anything. I'm just curious more than anything.

And then, as if that wasn't enough, he then spent 2 hours with me tonight going through it again to make sure there are no mistakes (after I made a whole lot of changes and re-sent it to him). And THEN (this is all without me asking for it by the way) he gave me tips on what to say in the interview when they ask me about jobs a, b and c...etc... all the while being extremely positive and encouraging. In fact he told me to aim higher - that I could do anything if I wanted to - which was so nice to hear from a total stranger no less.

Every now and then we both got sidetracked onto other topics we wanted to talk about but we had to get to the mundane task of finishing the freakin' CV. And I didn't even get around to showing him my lettre de motivation which has been so difficult to write in French...  I'm so tempted to just send them the letter in English. This is taking WAY too long.

So I was thinking back to late 2008 when my life started to take a fork in the road. I was sick of getting rejections when it came to applying for jobs so I sought the advice of everyone I knew. I'm talking almost everyone. And I went online and read stuff, and asked random people online, and signed up to various newsletters, blogs and websites about job searching. I bought and read that What Color is your Parachute? book, which wasn't the first time I'd done that. I asked friends who worked for big firms if they could find me job ads in my fields. Etc etc. And shock horror, it actually worked! I was getting lots of interviews. Sometimes 2 in the same week. I became less and less nervous with each one. I was getting somewhere!

But now the thought of doing an interview gives me anxiety and fills my stomach with butterflies all over again (because it's been a while since I've done one and because if I have to do it in French...). It's kind of funny that I give job hunting related advice when I need it myself now!

There's something I've realised and it's not just related to job hunting. It's that... it's so easy to give advice to others, yet it's really hard to take the same advice for yourself. It's easy to tell someone what to do during an interview - smile, be confident yadda yadda yet it's hard for me to actually do that. It's easy for me to give my friends relationship advice when they ask for it, yet I know, deep down, if I were in their shoes it would be really hard to follow my own advice as well. Why is that?

The other thing I wanted to say was... I discovered that if you want career advice ask a man, don't ask a woman. Of course if they are super successful sure... I know this sounds sexists against my own 'kind' but I discovered that the advice I got from men was vastly different to that of women when it comes to careers. It's all to do with our makeup and personality. It's because men know how to talk themselves up and women tend not to do that. Men are overly confident and that's why they tend to get the better jobs (I realise there's a host of other reasons too but that's getting off the point).

Back to my friend.. I realise that 1) I'm far too trusting of people and 2) dating is actually not that different to finding/meeting friends. The only difference is you can only date one person (for the long term) at a time and you become intimate with them. With friends you can have as many as you want, and you never get intimate with them.

So getting back to this lawyer dude and thinking back to all the chats I've had with people on Skype (that I find/meet through language learning websites NOT dating ones*) and thinking about my recent and past dating experiences... there are some conclusions to be made. And I know this is basic stuff for most people but it's something I need to learn to apply (if I don't already).

1. Actions speak louder than words. 
Call it a 'bullshit' detector or what you will.. but I never really believe the credibility of someone through their words alone. They can say anything to you and it won't mean anything unless they back it up with actions. Take for example this other person I was speaking to on Skype. We got along just as well as the lawyer dude and I. Yet when I asked him for help with my CV he said he couldn't do it until the weekend. I do realise that people work, and are busy, and are tired after work etc...  but the response contrasted with the lawyer dude and my other friend was totally different. Plus after, he basically stopped talking to me. No "I've gotta go" or anything like that. The conversation just stopped dead in the tracks after that. OK...
So in a dating sense, this is totally true as well. And it's related to timing too. If someone says they are going to do something by a certain time and don't... well they're not that reliable. 'Don't say it if you don't mean it' is what I think.
The scariest thing is... With my ex (of 5.5 years that I broke up with in 2008) he was totally unreliable when it came to the time. Always late and making excuses etc. The guy I dated after him was better but still not perfect. Then, once I actually made a decision that I wouldn't put up with that sort of behaviour anymore, the next guy I dated (just before I left Sydney for France) was absolutely perfect in this regard. He was ALWAYS punctual, so punctual he made me look bad. And then the same thing happened with my ex (here). Always punctual. Never late. If he was late (even by a few minutes) he'd text to let me know. I couldn't believe that this....powerful thinking... I dunno the technical term for it.... whatever I was doing actually worked.

I kind of really got the shits with certain people here who told me time and time again they would invite me over or do (activity) with me and yet never came through with the goods. Why bother bringing it up if you don't want to do it? Are they waiting for me to call them begging them to invite me over or what? Geez I'm not that desperate! I don't get this French small town mentality and it shits me. OK I lie. At the beginning I didn't understand French protocol (still don't and probably never will) so I did make the first step. I basically had to invite myself. But then I wouldn't get a reply or something would come up (excuses).. or... I'm soooooo over it now. I mean if someone's not going to invite you over after knowing you for 5 months then they never will, right?

2. Consistently displaying nice behaviour.
I had a problem where I thought if someone did 1 or 2 nice things for me, it meant that they were my friend. That's 'proof', right? Nooooooooooo... because then they'd drop off the earth or only TALK about doing stuff but not taking any action. It's the same with dating. If someone is truly into you they will display consistently nice behaviour towards you. No treating you great one day and then ignoring you for weeks on end after or being cold towards you.

3. Offering help without you asking for it. 
With most people I feel like I have to ask for help all the time but a truly nice person and/or good friend will realise you need help and offer it without you even having to ask for it.

4. Giving time. 
A good friend and a good date/partner is someone who gives you their time. It's the most precious commodity. I give time to those I appreciate and who I consider friends and expect the same back. If they don't give me any time it's obvious to me I'm not really a friend of theirs at all.

5. Giving you something/time/help/etc without expecting anything back at all. 
If you can find someone like this they are a rare gem indeed. Sometimes I feel that people want to befriend you only because they want something from you. Then once they get it, they're gone. If someone is truly your friend you want to help them anyway but with others you soon realise if they are just using you. It's so true that when you give, you get back (but only if you don't actually expect to get something back).

I had all these thoughts going through my head when this lawyer guy was helping me with my CV. I mean, seriously, we don't know each other at all. Apart from these last few days (where we didn't talk about much other than my CV) we had only talked ONCE. I realise it took up heaps of time to do what he did. I honestly can't imagine anyone that I know here doing that for me (and to be honest, even if they did, they wouldn't have done as good a job of it because they don't have the education and the vocabulary). All I could think of was - what's going on? Yes I realise there are plenty of nice/good people in the world and my true friends are these kinds of people but I told myself not to get ahead of myself. I am way too trusting. Just because something does something nice for me once... Only time will tell I guess. I admit I feel paranoid because I've been hurt by so-called 'friends'. But for this moment now, he's restored my faith in humanity.

* You would not believe it, but I do on the rare occasion meet people who think that any kind of website where people have a photo and a vague profile is a dating website. Gosh that aggravates me! Is it too much to ask just to talk to someone and to be platonic friends? Seriously. Using a language learning website as a dating service is just plain creepy and stalkerish in my opinion.


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