Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Value of Confidence is Dignified - and Damaging?

“…I can promise that meeting with me will not be a waste of your time. I will make myself available at your convenience. You may contact me at 404.1111.1212 or  Thank you for your consideration.”-Brian E. Payne

That’s my Closing on/in my cover letter. A friend of mine shared her cover letter with me a few years ago, and I decided to ‘borrow’ the closing remarks. It tickled my interest then – and it definitely fits my personality now. So, it is my non-cliché Closing. It is my way of projecting confidence prior to meeting me. 

At one time in my life I was incredibly shy. I was so self-conscious…having a large head and dark skin can challenge your self-concept. I recall how I would position my head in such a way that would not reveal its enormity. Basically, I avoided the profile view. But, I never allowed my unappreciated spooky complexion to defeat me. Light skin has played out…well, not completely. Herman Cain is not liked by politically-leaning African Americans for one conscious reason and one subconscious reason: he is a conservative Republican and he has that coonish skin. 

Avoidance or some degree of it is extremely popular for teenagers and young adults. When we are that age we try to do everything right so that we are not ridiculed by friends and friends of friends. As we age, grow into maturation, we…well not all of us…become more confident in are physicality and in ourselves in general. Confidence grows and evolves…

Confidence is a subjective characteristic that’s typically gauged by others. Actually, one can be the most insecure person but project bold confidence – and that’s usually what people walk away believing: ‘She is so confident.’ But, truly, she may in reality be one of the most self-doubting persons on earth. Thus the reason our conclusions regarding confidence are subjective. 

Conversely, I am filled with a tenacious confidence. Not as a result of something invalid. No…I am self-assured because of the results I have produced academically, athletically, and professionally. So, when another friend indicated to me that she likes my cover letter - but has an issue with my Closing. She said, “It reads a cocky.” That ensued a pause…a double read…a stop! 
What did she mean “cocky”. Knowing my friend I know she is only trying to help. She wants me to gain employment. I certainly understand that. I appreciate her because she has been in my corner without any judgment of me for almost 20 years. We have also provided each other with affection and companionship for what feels like a lifetime. 

Perhaps, a HR Generalist, Hiring Official, a resume/cover letter Reviewer, or one of these faddish life coaches my find my Closing cocky - but in my two decades of reviewing over 1200 resumes and cover letters, hiring up to 90 job seekers, nominating and placing well over 500 Peace Corps applicants, and approving 25 plus men/women for employment - I have determined that self-assurance is valued in the workforce. I definitely understand that there may be some intimidation that some feel. I am a big black guy living in red Georgia! That in itself terrifies white and BLACK people! 
BUT I refuse to lower, adjust, or downplay my High Point and Howard University-groomed competency and country boy likability to appease someone sitting across the interview table from me. I just can’t do it. Sadly, in a moment of doleful desperation during this stint of unemployment I have. The sense of ego loss and shame from dishonoring Minnie Payne’s guidance (a larger than life Humanitarian Legend) that I felt while sitting there looking anxious is probably what caused me not to get selected. I shrank myself to appease an overpaid, fat, full of himself, bad breath black House Negro. 

When I left that make-shift interview I decided then and there that I would NEVER EVER ‘hide my confidence’ for anyone or sacrifice myself for any amount of money! Since that day I have been at peace: Jobless – Non-Salaried – and without a Plantation Job. Yes…I have a higher level of dignity…not perilous pride. 

I will remain unemployed if I have to belittle myself to work for and with men/women who do not appreciate what the Samson of the bible displayed: 

Muata Nowe

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