rude recruiters, job-hunting librarians, and more

A random assortment of stuff —

1. I loved reading all the comments about people’s secret fantasy careers — and especially seeing how drawn a lot of people are to careers that might look mundane to others. If you haven’t read them yet, do! It’s a fascinating read.

2. Speaking of things I enjoyed recently, I also really enjoyed the recent round of resume reviews that I did. It’s super satisfying to help people fix their resumes up, to the point that I’m contemplating making it a permanent offer. Maybe cover letters too. Stay tuned…

3. This is a great series of job-hunting advice for librarians, with much of it applicable to non-librarians, written by our occasional commenter Modern Hypatia. I especially loved the final piece in the series, on bits and pieces.

4 This is a very entertaining post by another commenter here, kristinyc, about how a rude and condescending recruiter did pretty much everything you can imagine to turn her off to the job that he was ostensibly recruiting her for.

5. This is a good article from the Harvard Business Review about how to deal with having multiple bosses.

6. Last, see if you spot anyone surprising on this page of “celebrity” INFJ’s. (That’s a Myers Briggs type, to those unfamiliar with the lingo.) I am using this as conclusive evidence that I am a celebrity on par with Plato, Thomas Jefferson, Leonard Cohen, and the others listed there, and I intend to begin behaving accordingly.

{ 34 comments… read them below }

  1. Kristinyc*

    Thanks for linking to my recruiter post! I got an offer for that job today! I haven’t accepted it yet because I’m waiting to hear from a few other places, but I’m considering it. :)

  2. Sabrina*

    OMG that scares me b/c that’s the field I want to go into! Except I have zero experience and I live in the middle of nowhere. :(

  3. Perfectshinist*

    “I am using this as conclusive evidence that I am a celebrity on par with Plato, Thomas Jefferson, Leonard Cohen,”

    Hitler and Bin Laden were also on the list. Good thing the only thing you tell your followers to do is write good cover letters.

  4. Jennifer*

    Whenever I take the Myers-Briggs test, I get INFJ, but a psychologist who used to teach a course on Myers-Briggs told me he thought I was an INFP. So I don’t know what to believe anymore!

    “…and I intend to begin behaving accordingly.” I imagine you going to a busy restaurant, and when the Maitre D’ says there are no tables, you respond, “Don’t you know who I am?!” while thrusting a print-out of that page in his face. :)

    1. Eva*

      I’m the INTJ admin of Celebrity Types. Thanks for the link, Alison! :)

      I realize it’s a stretch to put you up. (Even if I do believe your advice *deserves* to be on bestseller lists!) The thing is that my ENTP coadmin and I are hard pressed to think of famous female INFJs. We have 4+ distinguished women of every N type except INFJ where you have now joined Simone de Beauvoir and Marti Laney (author of the bestseller The Introvert Advantage).

      If anyone can think of other candidates, we’re all ears! (Don’t worry, they won’t displace Alison. ;))

        1. Eva*

          Well, if I am to speculate – and keep in mind it could simply be that my coadmin and I share this particular blind spot – I think an explanation might be found by looking to the work of Simone de Beauvoir.

          She describes women as ‘the second sex’ who are oppressed not only by men, but by each other and even by themselves. She famously said that women should not be allowed the option of staying at home to take care of the family because too many would then choose to do so, her take being that it wasn’t *really* a voluntary choice, but a submission to the expectations of others.

          From my experience I do believe that self-sacrifice is a problem area for INFJs. Their perceptiveness can end up doing them a disservice because it leverages their empathy and conscientiousness: Not only do they feel called upon to help alleviate others’ burdens and to meet their expectations, they actually pick up on psychic burdens and expectations that others aren’t voicing or perhaps even conscious of having! To a greater degree than any other type, INFJs seem to carry the weight of the world on their shoulders. And even if there is no inherent difference between male and female INFJs in this area, other people might expect more womanly servitude from the women and more manly achievement from the men, causing a gender difference in behavior where there might be none in preference.

          So maybe there are lots of would-be high-achieving INFJ women out there who are forgoing self-actualization for the sake of others, or to put a more positive spin on it (albeit one that Simone de Beauvoir would disagree with), who are choosing to actualize themselves through caring for others rather than e.g. writing a book?

          1. Jen M.*

            You pretty much nailed it!

            I’m an INFJ, and I can completely relate to what you have written here.

            1. Eva*

              Thank you for the gratifying feedback, Alison and Jen. :)

              One has to wonder just how overrepresented INFJs (and secondarily other IJs) are among the readers of this blog! Any chance you’d care to do a personality type poll among your readers, Alison?

              According to Google Analytics, 273 of your readers have clicked on the link to Celebrity Types and spent an average of 4 minutes and 53 seconds browsing the site, so I guess MBTI does hold some interest. (Well, either that, or people just love celebrities!) Anyhow, I’m crossing my fingers in hopes you’ll share my curiosity! :)

  5. Eva*

    (Oops, I replied to a comment instead of just leaving one.)

    I’d like to add that I’m curious to hear from people who have experience with MBTI (and/or other personality tests) in the workplace. I expect most HR people share Alison’s disinterest in using MBTI as a professional tool, but given the popularity of the workshops, surely someone must have war stories to tell nevertheless?

    1. Heather*

      We did this as a team building exercise at my last job. It was interesting, and accurate, but really didn’t tell me anything that I didn’t already know about everyone else. However, those who are not as intuitive were made aware of how other people were in the team. That said, I don’t think many people besides those who were already intuitive/feeling wound up using this information in their interactions with others afterward. As an INFJ I know things things without having them be spelled out, and seeing them spelled out would only reinforce how I was already interacting with people. Those who are less conscientious to begin with I don’t think changed their behavior towards others much at all. If this makes sense.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        That fits in well with what Eva said to me about INFJ’s; she said that we tend to be less compelled by Myers Briggs stuff because we get a lot of that stuff intuitively anyway. Which is kind of how I’ve always felt about it; it’s like a really interesting novelty trick (to me), but not necessarily something I’d USE. If that makes sense.

      2. Eva*

        Thanks for sharing your experience, Heather!

        I’m so into MBTI I have a website about it, but it seems that when introducing it to the workplace, it’s mostly in one ear and out the other, with at most one or two individuals gaining significantly from the introduction to MBTI. (Then again, maybe that’s actually a good success rate for this kind of thing?)

        However, it seems Nichole has a different story to tell. (See below.) I hope she returns to dish the details about her workplace’s obsession with The Test. :)

  6. Nichole*

    Thanks for the link to the Myers-Briggs site. At my job, we’re obsessed with The Test. One of my coworkers had a small crisis of faith when he tested as a strong J…just like everyone else in our “fun” department (student life at a college). I’m a textbook INTJ, and I never hear the end of it.

    1. Eva*

      I’d love to hear more about your workplace’s obsession with MBTI! How did it start, how do people view it and use it, how does your INTJ-ness manifest itself in ways that people tease you about, and what was that coworker’s crisis of faith about? :)

      1. Jamie*

        Let them mock, Nichole – there are plenty of people like us who really appreciate co-workers who are hardwired for logic.

  7. Jamie*

    I am ISTJ – no matter how many different tests, always ISTJ.

    What I want to know is for the question about if you’re walking in the woods are you thinking about ideas or are you enjoying the breeze on your face (paraphrasing) why didn’t they have the option “I would be wondering why the heck I’m walking in the woods – and if I could only get some bars on my phone I could call someone to rescue me.”

    Just me? Okay.

    1. Eva*

      I’m curious, do you have any workplace experience with MBTI? I’m really interested in hearing how it pans out when MBTI is used in professional settings!

      (Oh, and do you have any ideas for other ISTJs we might put up on Celebrity Types? :))

      1. Jamie*

        I’ve never seen it used in a workplace setting – but I think it would be useful in hiring. Workplace fit is a huge issue – and some things we can change or deal with, but knowing our hard wiring (and those of the other team members) could help situate people properly.

        I would be very interested to hear from anyone who has used it in a workplace setting, as well.

  8. Anonymous*

    RE: #4, rude recruiter

    Dear Kristen,
    THAT. All of it… it’s amazing and ridiculous that recruiters treat candidates that way – it makes me wonder how they treat clients and how they keep those clients. What a tool.

    I read part one and two… and would love to hear what you decide to do and how the recruiter handles it. LOVE your writing style- your voice. Not sure how to follow your blog but would love to – is there a link/email/rss feed?

    I also enjoyed the Muppets Museum decriptions. Makes me want to get my butt on a train (and subways) and go!

    You’re at a great age, in a great city.. and sounds like life is going to get (continue to be) very interesting and exciting for you! (MM wedding sounds fun!)

  9. Anonymous*

    RE: job-hunting advice for librarians

    Ok, I’ll admit it – I am a total information junkie.. and a chronic connector.

    Since I’m not a librarian I skipped straight to the ‘bits and pieces’ link ( btw, I love that you provide links Alison. Thanks!).
    – I found myself thinking that the advice is very sound and can apply to many positions – it’s well worth reading. There was a link to sign up for email updates, which I did.
    – I also found myself scanning my brain files to remember who in my circle and wider circle is a librarian and where I know them from – and if I am connected to them on Linkedin so I can send them the link to Modern Hypatia’s website (answer: yes, off the top of my head I know 1 person. she’s a member of the hiking group I organize and yes, we’re connected on Linkedin. This is an awesome reason to reconnect. Thanks!)

    So much good information and food for thought today!!
    Thanks everyone :)

  10. Brittany*

    That recruiter sounds like a total NIGHTMARE. Alison I linked to your blog and Kristen’s article on my blog today because it inspired me to tell my most annoying recruiter tale!

  11. Heather*

    INFJ here! It’s funny how on sites they’re always like “this is the rarest type” but all my friends are INFJs. I think nerdy smart people who like the web trend that way.

  12. Andy*

    Have you written about being an INFJ anywhere? I’m always interested in hearing about others’ type discovery process.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Nope! I took the test a while ago, but had never written about it. Eva somehow typed me accurately based just on what I’ve written here, which is pretty amazing.

  13. Anon*

    This post is fantastic! I have a job interview for an entry level position in an academic library on Friday. So, thanks for the link to the job-hunting advice for librarians!

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