Finding the perfect job – is it a matter of skills, qualifications, connections, perseverance, presentation or luck? As ever, probably a combination of all these elements. Passion, however is what is concerning many employability specialists at the moment – while employers say they are looking for candidates who are “passionate” about their company / role, many young people don’t have a clear notion of what kind of job might interest them – let alone stir them to passion. There is no easy solution to this. It takes time, and maturity, to really know what matters most in terms of having passion for a career. Sometimes just getting and keeping a good enough job is good enough.
I am enjoying an analogy with playing bridge. This works at several levels, however – if you’re not a bridge player – remove from your mind the idea that it is all about ancient women with rheumy eyes playing while wrapped in lilac shawls. Certainly they play, but their appearance can just be a clever disguise for killer instincts. Because bridge is a game of planning, negotiation, strategy and patience. The game has its origins in 16th century whist, the element of contract coming in the 19th century when the game was known as Biritch (Russian whist). During the early 20th century the scoring system was refined, and, though there are now several systems of play, the game as we now know it was fixed. Played with four people the objective is to win by taking the most number of tricks with the 13 cards you are dealt. At the beginning of the game you look at your cards and analyse where you have strengths, for example the Ace, King or Queen and where you have length, for example 5 more cards in the same suit. A trump suit is decided, either through a bidding process in bridge or by prior agreement in whist – this suit is the one that can take any trick, literally trumping it.
For job seekers the equivalent is about considering where you have strengths, such as practical skills and qualifications; and lengths like abilities and characteristics or personality traits such as agreeable-ness or resilience. Trump will vary from job to job, it might be simple like having a driving licence or something more arbitrary, like having had experience of a particular software package. ‘No Trump’ is also an option – and in bridge counts for more points than the suits. Then you have to work out the best way of playing your hand, acknowledging that no one gets dealt the full 52 cards in one round ever.
Some people do appear to have it all – which can be disheartening for the rest of us. In these moments it might be worth remembering the notorious game called the Duke of Cumberland’s hand. This promises everything and – once played – delivers nothing. The same game is played out in Ian Fleming’s book “Moonraker” by James Bond with Hugo Drax in the position of the Duke of Cumberland. The duke, with A, K, Q and J of hearts, A,K, and Q of spades, A and K of diamonds and K, J, 9 and 7 of clubs must have thought he couldn’t lose – and gambled accordingly. Trumps were clubs and as the first 7 was played by the duke his fate was sealed and he didn’t win a single trick. There’s a link attached to show how badly the game went wrong for him.
And from my analogy: good enough can be good enough – and learning to play bridge is a skill worth acquiring.