With St. Patrick’s Day just passing, I recall teaching English with foreigners from other English-speaking countries (England, Canada, Australia, South Africa, etc.) in South Korea. Among the diverse crowd I met, I found Irish lads and lassies very interesting. The two Irishmen who made a strong impression on me were named John and Cathal (it was pronounced “Kah Hull,” but I American-ized it as Carl). As contriving as it may sound, these two were almost complete opposites. One of them was an optimist and the other was a realist. One made great first impressions and the other left negative lasting impressions. Everyone loved one and hated the other (I didn’t hate him, I actually appreciated his honesty).
John the Listener
The reasons why everyone loved John (aside from his good looks) was because he was good at listening, giving advice, and being friendly to others. I personally enjoyed his good attitude. All of these positive characteristics are associated with employability skills that candidates need if they want to be valuable in today’s workforce. I know for a fact that our career office staff provides exceptional customer service by using these skills. We actively listen to every customer’s personal circumstances to assure we tailor services to their employment goals.
Carl the Talker
Carl was extremely intelligent and knew how to get what he wanted while exerting the least amount of energy. He is what characters in mafia movies call a wise-guy. I enjoyed working alongside Carl because he made me look like the perfect worker in my boss’s eyes. For every project he declined, I took. For every insult that came out of his mouth, a compliment came out of mine. Lastly, for every time he talked, I listened. His knowledge was his strength, not his initiative. I would not recommend being like him when searching for a good/better job. Employers can detect this right away once they pull you in for an interview.
I don’t think either of these lads was better than the other. Knowing both of them made a huge impact on my personal and professional development. John was pleasant and Carl was well-informed. John’s ability to be a friend made my stay enjoyable. Carl’s information on the oil shale boom happening in America at the time is what pushed me to move back home to become a greeter at Workforce Solutions. If you adopt the strengths and neglect the weaknesses of these two types, you’ll be as good as a pot of gold.
I hope these short descriptions will make you ask yourself, “Am I a John, or am I a Carl?” I am a firm believer in that there is an employer out there for everyone. Nobody has the perfect personality, but you can strive toward improving your flaws through self-identification. In community and office seminars facilitated by our staff, you can learn ways to identify your personality traits. Once you’ve accomplished this, it will be easier for you to match with jobs in our region. You can also determine ways to be more like John and less like Carl. I love the Irish culture, history, and people (not too keen on the food). With this St. Patrick’s Day just behind us, use these lads to assess yourself and the impression you make.
Diego Trevino is a Regional Facilitator for Workforce Solutions in the Houston – Galveston area. Before joining the regional team, he served as a greeter, employment counselor and staffing specialist. Earlier in his career he traveled to South Korea where he taught students English. He uses past teaching experiences and present workforce knowledge to conduct job skills seminars throughout the 13 county Gulf Coast Region.