Posted by: Marc Cappelletti | October 10, 2008

You’ll Find Something

I wrote this when I first moved to NYC. That was a year ago so I thought it was appropriate to break it out again.

“You’ll find something.”
That’s what my barber tells me. In fact, that’s what everybody says when they learn that I just moved to New York City without a job.
They say, “I’m sure you’ll find something,” if it’s a good friend.
“I know you’ll find something,” if it’s family.

“Something” is, of course, many things to many people. For some, it’s an account position at an interactive advertising agency. It’s New York, so I have to mention finance positions. For others, it’s a writing gig. For other others it’s tossing out the spit buckets at a local boxing ring to get some free gym time. You never know. Towel please.

What I’m wondering isn’t if I’ll ever find what I’m looking for – even Bono hasn’t done that. What I’m wondering is why we are all preprogrammed to produce positive generalities when consoling someone in need. So far, no one has told me that I might have to work construction, tend bar, walk dogs or maybe all three and possibly become stuck in a position of dependence. Maybe I’ll have to sublet my place and move to a cheaper one. It could happen.

Could you imagine a friend saying, “If you don’t find something, I know a fabulous loan shark – you know, just in case…” It would be ridiculous. Even absurd advice can’t end so abruptly. What do we do instead? We say “… But I’m sure you’ll find something.”
Why?
This phrase is not intended for the advisee’s benefit, but for our own. We utter things like “I’m sure you’ll find something” or “It’ll all work out” so that we don’t feel inadequate about our advising skills, even if it means it’s not the best advice we can give. The result is more of a pep talk than true advice – heaps of icing to cover up the fact that the cake probably isn’t as good as they would prefer.

When someone tells you that they think you’ll find something in regards to employment, ask them what they would do if they were out of work for a period of time. Make them see the issue from your perspective – from a tactical perspective, and one in need of a solution, not a sugar-coated . This will bring the conversation to a workable level. If you ask the person what they would do I guarantee you won’t hear, “Oh, I would find something,” in response.

I still haven’t found what I’m looking for in terms of answers to our conditioning to avoid hard-nosed advice, but I have learned that the more people you talk to the more perspective you’ll get. You’ll become stronger in the process. If you notice yourself having trouble even finding people to seek advice from don’t worry. Keep at it. I’m sure you’ll find someone.

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