Passion, Pine Apples and Purple Squirrels

The three may not seem to be connected but they are. As a student of social media with a strong interest in content marketing and behaviourism/social labels I think a lot about what we assume, how we react to things and how we portray ourselves in a world filled with expectations. (I also have a fondness for long sentences.) Let me explain.

The pineapple theory.
Years ago I was for some reason home from work and watched an episode of the Oprah Winfrey show. She was interviewing a senior woman about dating and asked the question, don´t you get hurt when you are not chosen; to which the woman answered “No, because I look at myself as a pineapple.” The reasoning was that she knows that even if she is the very best pineapple she could ever be, there will still be people that prefer apples, or mango; but that does not make her a lesser pineapple.

The purple squirrel
is a rare mythical creature also known as ”the perfect recruit”. Do google the term for a more substantial explanation. This person is hard to find of course as specialized and talented people who are able to just blend in and give the organisation what it craves often are.

How does a recruiter really think?
The more I read about recruitment the more confused, and sometimes annoyed I get. I am a mature student, soon to be a fully trained Social Media manager. Reading job ads, as one does when one is soon to start applying for jobs, the listed expectations and qualifications seem more like an exclusion list, a wall, than an invitation to “come join the company and bring your wealth of experience with you”.  Not many people could tick all the boxes. Fair enough they also list things like “social team player” whatever that mean, I suppose that could mean a lot of things to different people. I would like to read about how the new recruit is expected to help the company move towards achieving its vision. Like they have really thought about who they need and why, beyond expansion or workload.

Same, supersame or different?
The older I get, the more I start to resemble a pineapple. Or an orange or a pear if you want to get physical about it. When I was younger I was a bit more like a fruit salad, like Mika sings “I can be anything you like”. Now a days I am still flexible, but I know exactly what kind of fruit I am and also how to use my own “flavour” to enhance others. Recruiting someone who is not already homogenous will force the workplace to look at itself with new eyes every so often and either move with the times or have their existing culture reinforced. If you never scrutinize yourself, progress will be much slower. Of course you should be qualified to do the work but experience from other markets/jobs should be seen as positive. I have a dream that companies would anonymize applications, letting me and everybody else offer up what we know and where we want to go.  My name, my gender, my age should not be relevant only my experience, my competence and how compatible my future plans are to those of the recruiting company. Maybe I should start a competence agency and call it Pineapple!

What about the passion?
Everybody can get, and is, passionate about something. How do we harness this? How can I as a private person use my passion for creative writing or training my dogs, into a transferable skill that I can use to bring value to my workplace? And will it ever make a difference? Well, I do blog, as myself and as my dog Buddha. A way of showing a future employer that I have a genuine interest in writing. I make little videos of how I train Buddha and post on his Instagram, because I like watching such videos myself and to show that I know how to use the media. Hopefully, I will also show that I embrace social media, that I am a patient person, that I am not afraid to try new things and that I enjoy connecting with other people.  Problem is, I don’t know if a recruiter would look at it that way. Anyone? Suggestions and insights are more than welcome

Do you want a squirrel in your fruit salad?
I think transferable skills are like gold dust because they transfer also to colleagues and sometimes the whole business culture. But then again, being a melting pot of experience and competence with people contributing with more than eight hours a day doing what they are told may not be everybody’s cup of tea. If you do work in such a company and happen to be placed in Gothenburg, feel free to contact me.

Maybe it’s because we have studied content marketing for weeks on end now, but if everybody is a publisher, and the whole company is expected to contribute to and live by a content strategy, it kind of follows that companies also need to look for co-workers that connect with their employer on a deeper level or else they cant “live the brand”. Maybe creating your own hybrid fruit/squirrels would be better, instead of waiting for the rainbow so you can dig you could just turn on the water…

From the point of view of a mature pineapple which is still way of its expiry date.

// Jeanette

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