Sunday, 2 October 2016

Ordinary or extraordinary - How can we tell?


I was born and raised in the East of Europe. I lived in Italy for ten years.

I came to England in June of 2014. I instantly fell in love with the English culture. I love the politeness and diplomacy of people in general. And I love the rain. I really, deeply do. - It's crazy, I know. -
I found a job in three days and many superlatives were used to describe my personality, sense of duty, character and so on. After long years of unspeakable mistreatments, it made me feel that I was finally treated as a human being and valued as an individual. I couldn't believe my luck and I was very happy and grateful.
One month later, I was asked to apply for an office job and I needed a cover letter, plus a "serious" CV.
An English friend offered to help me with that.

I said I needed some examples as I had no clue of what English companies expect from people. She then asked a common friend to show me his cover letter.

I've started to read to instantly burst in laughs thinking it was a joke.
“No, it is not a joke. It's how it works in here.”
In total disbelief I thought for a while and said I cannot provide anything like that. "It isn't me."


“What are you planning to do then? You have to give value to yourself. This is selling your skills, your experience, your entire being.”


“I cannot use these words. It's ridiculous. Do people believe in such absurdities? Take our friend. He's an average human being - and it's nothing wrong with that – but the superlatives he used when describing his person are all false. I won't lie. I would keep cleaning apartments for whole my life if that's what it takes.”




But my friend had faith in me. She knew I was a perfect fit for the job, she trusted my capacity of delivering great service to any company, she didn't give up and wrote the letter for me. I was in tears and felt extremely ashamed. I couldn't believe what I had to do to apply for a job I didn't even want! I went into my room, closed the door and sobbed for hours until she came with a bag full of chocolates. I ate three while she's explained to me that I will have to adapt, as I did so many times before. “It's not the end of the world and all the superlatives I used in your letter are absolutely true. I know you very well. Have a look.”
She handed me the letter and after I read it, I said: “But I don't believe these things about me! You know that well.”


“Of course I know, but that's because you have no confidence. You are extremely hard on yourself and set too high standards. There is nothing ordinary about you. How come you can't realise how amazing you are? These superlatives are not misleading. Not in your case at least. Trust me. “


“Then how can a company make a distinction between ordinary and extraordinary people if each job applier uses the same words and are all superlatives?! How could anyone tell who speaks the truth and who's inventing?”
“That's the job of your face to face interviewer.”

“But my English is a disaster. I have never been to an interview before. I am terrified and I am sure I won't be able to say a word. They will never see me for the person described in the letter. They will humiliate me.”


“Nobody will humiliate you in here, people are not like that. And if they don't see you for what you really are, then it's only their loss. You'll go to the interview, no matter how it goes, you'll still get something from it which is experience. ”


I listened to my friend because I trusted her judgement, she's a remarkable human being, and I will always be grateful for helping me so many times.

I've got the job, but not because the interviewer thought I was fantastic. And she did say something that made me feel humiliated. I still remember those words, but I knew she didn't do it on purpose.

I came a long way since then and I now believe that I deserve most of the superlatives people use when speaking about me. But they mean nothing to me. They don't make me feel proud of any of my achievements or qualities.


In a world where fantastic, brilliant, great, amazing, magnificent, excellent, and so on, are used as simple interjections, I feel just average. And it's sad, because I am no ordinary person.

What words we have left to use when we really think something or someone is outstanding?!
None.

What's the point of always giving your best if when you leave, the letter of recommendation will contain exactly the same words as the one for a person who often came late, didn't respect the rules, avoided to commit, etc.?

I might not feel valued all the time, but I still do my best because that's a choice I made when I was just a child. 

I might not always deliver outstanding results, but not because I didn't do everything in my power, but because I am only human and I have limits. 
And you should do the same, so you can have reasons to respect yourself.


Have a fabulous day. Not an ordinary fabulous, but F.A.B.U.L.O.U.S!


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