Job Searching with Jan Brady Syndrome

Who can forget the dramatic teenage angst driven Brady Bunch episode where Jan exclaims: “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!” over her “invisible” middle child status? In Jan’s world, everyone was always blabbing about how amazing Marcia was at this or how wonderful Marcia was at that. And, of course there was the constant adoration for their precocious, pig-tailed youngest sister, Cindy.


Jan was so distraught over being sandwiched in between her two sisters that she tried to stand out by hiding her lovely, long, blond locks under a hideous dark, bouffant, granny wig. After some intense brotherly ridicule and a few other failed attempts to be different, the Brady parents reassured Jan that she was unique in her own way. Isn’t it splendid how everything turned out so swell in 70s sitcom land?


Contrasts and comparisons don’t necessarily wrap up so neatly in the employment market. There have been numerous accounts of challenges faced by practically every demographic group broken down by gender, age, race, education level, socio-economic status and so on. Most reports are based on complex statistical analysis and trend measurements over the course of many years and even decades. For the past several years a few new patterns have emerged that suggest historical data may not provide an accurate prediction of the future. It’s likely that we are in the midst of a major transformation that won’t be fully recognized or understood for a while.


What about the incessant chatter regarding multiple generations in the workplace? Not a day goes by without a new study, article or book on the topic. Many of these pieces point to the various traits, characteristics and tendencies of each generation. Even though there is some validity to certain observations, the overall concept of focusing on differences, tends to produce an “us vs. them” mentality. Anyone that takes the time to review the typical definitions is likely to identify their own personal values and behaviors in each generational description.


Maybe it’s fatigue with the entire topic or a bit of “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!” complex, but no one wants to be overlooked and even excluded from consideration just because someone else is viewed as having some type of stereotypical advantage or disadvantage in the workforce. How do we translate that to the current state of the job market and what does it mean in the context of career management?


For one thing, it is always best to accentuate your existing assets to stand out rather than donning an artificial disguise or fake persona. Another point is to not let statistics, stereotypes and published stories sway you into thinking you don’t have the ability to succeed, even if that means overcoming unpleasant obstacles along the way. Despite isolated incidents suggesting otherwise, most employers do wish to attract and retain the best available talent to meet their business goals.


Just like Jan learned, individuality and value can shine through whether or not other factors reflect similarities or differences to those around us. Embrace and enjoy what makes YOU, you! 

Article by Kelly Blokdijk ~ As a Talent Optimization Coach & Consultant with TalentTalks, Kelly thrives on “Creating a Voice for Talent” by partnering with business professionals and job seekers to build competitive career marketing strategies, customized communication materials and compelling personal branding campaigns to create a lasting positive impression. TalentTalks consults with the business community on innovative, leading-edge human resource and organization development initiatives to enhance talent management, talent acquisition, corporate communications and employee engagement programs. TalentTalks routinely posts employment market and job search related content on Facebook and Twitter – fans and followers welcome!


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