Or Else


Whether you are a recruiter or a job hunter, an entrepreneur, solopreneur or not working, there are only a few things you control.


A lot of people struggle as they battle with their conditioning.

I’m a believer that from the time we were little, we’ve been conditioned to but to be “nice” obedient people– to work in systems and show no individuality.

I remember being brought the kindergarten by my Mom, introduced to my teacher and is the two of them brought me over to my table, beings told something like, “I’ll be back later. This is Miss Judge. Do wish he tells you to do, okay?”

It didn’t take long for the school system to translate that into, “shut up. Be quiet. Do what you told. Learn what we tell you to learn. Regurgitate a bunch of it on command… Or else.”

The or else translates into, “you won’t get good grades and into a good college.”

Eventually, I went to a good university and the threat there was, “or else you won’t get a good job.”

It took a while, but I got a job after college and the threat there became, “or else we’ll fire you.”

Although it didn’t happen to me, it has happened to many many people. They get to that good job, perform well and are fired anyway.

Conditioning over a lifetime to be docile, compliant, docile and nice to everyone is hard to break. I’m certainly not going to suggest that you be rude to everyone. That would be an obnoxious way to live life.

However, you don’t have to conform if you don’t want to.

I want to wake you up to consciousness that being nice, being obedient, doing what you’re told doesn’t guarantee you anything. It’s like that old episode of, “Seinfeld,” where George says, “it’s just not working out for me. I had so much promise. I was personable. I was bright… Maybe not in an academic way. I always know when someone is uncomfortable at a party. It’s become very clear to me as I was sitting out there that every decision I’ve ever made in my life has been wrong. My life is the complete opposite of what I wanted to be.”

“Every instinct I have in life, whether it’s something to wear or something to eat, has been wrong.”

So as a waitress approaches and confirms his usual order of tuna on toast, coleslaw and a cup of coffee, George makes his first break with habit and calls her back, saying he always has tuna on toast.

“Nothing has ever worked out for me with tuna on toast. I want the complete opposite of tuna on toast! Chicken salad on rye. Untoasted! With potato salad! And a cup of tea!”

The episode progresses to George walking up to an attractive woman (doing the opposite of what he would normally do) and commenting how he couldn’t help notice that she looked over at his direction. He’s told by her that he is ordered the same thing as she has and in a funny moment (watch the video on YouTube), says “my name is George. I’m unemployed and living with my parents.” After all, that’s the opposite of what he would normally do. She responds with, “I’m Victoria. Hi!” Doing the opposite worked!

I want to remind you that there are things that you control and there are things you don’t control.


For example, if you have a dream of doing something in particular, and you’re making the excuses of why it can’t be done and why you’re not the messenger for that idea, you can’t control the outcome but what you can do is put in the time and the effort each and every day and taking small incremental steps then move you in the direction that you want to be moving to

you can’t control whether someone’s going to buy that product or service, however, you can create the “art.” You can do the thing you dream of doing or else one day you wake up and realize, “is that all there is?” You realize one day that is over in the blink  of an eye and that a lifetime is not a long time.

You can control your time but not the outcome. You can control your effort or give up on your effort and just go through the motions.

A few days ago, Yankee first baseman Mark Teixiera announced his retirement from baseball at the end of the season. “I gave you everything I had,” and he started crying. “It wasn’t always enough, but I tried my best.”

There is more to your life than what you doing. It doesn’t really matter what’s on HBO or Netflix. When you’re ready to die, do you think you going to say, “I watch the Sopranos,“ or, “I watched House of Cards,” or whatever show you got hooked on one point of your life.  It’s the least important thing you can imagine.

I’m always reminded of the story of an old friend of mine whose uncle had passed away. The uncle and his father were popular music composers in the 1920s. He had grown up to be a mathematician and a good one at that. As he spoke to me, he said, “I don’t want to die with the music inside of me.”

You got music inside of you and you may struggle to find it but I want to encourage you to unplug for a little while. Spend some time doing what you’ve always thought of doing, not because that’s the right thing but because it will lead you to the right thing.

Just choose where you start and just keep going. It may not be that project but you will learn through experimentation.

As adults, we are conditioned by employers that everything we do has to be, “right” first time and every time.

Or else.

See how that conditioning works?

As a human being, if you conduct yourself that way, the world becomes very small.

So let’s get you out there and trying some new things. Go experiment! Have some fun! Make some mistakes (as long as no one is going to get hurt physically by them) and as long as you not risking every dime in your bank account in this process, it’s okay. Try some things. For example, if you’re thinking of starting a business to it on the side, don’t do it full-time yet.

Try working on this project at 430 in the morning before you go to work. At the end of the day, your mind may create too many excuses about why you can’t do it. Get up earlier. It’s only an hour, hour and a half, two hours of sleep I am asking for you to sacrifice.

You’ll fall asleep earlier at night. Big deal!

At the end of the day, this is the music in you and it needs to be let out . . . Or else.

And you don’t want to find out what that “or else,” is.

I know what it is for me. Don’t learn the lesson the hard way for yourself.


© The Big Game Hunter, Inc. Asheville, NC  2016




Do you really think employers are trying to help you? You already know you can’t trust recruiters—they tell as they think you need to know to take the job they after representing so they collect their payday.

The skills needed to find a job are different yet complement the skills needed to do a job.

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter has been a career coach and recruiter for what seems like one hundred years.

JobSearchCoachingHQ.com is there to change that with great advice for job hunters—videos, my books and guides to job hunting, podcasts, articles, PLUS a community for you to ask questions of PLUS the ability to ask me questions where I function as your ally with no conflict of interest answering your questions.

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