It’s Halloween, the only celebration when misfits are the “in” crowd. After all, Halloween is about misfits like witches and warlocks. But you don’t have to be a witch or warlock to feel like a misfit.
I’ve often felt like a misfit. My family moved often which meant my siblings and I were the new kids on the block at a lot of schools. New kids at school are automatically misfits because they don’t have common experiences with the other kids in the class. In college being a misfit didn’t matter quite as much because I wasn’t the only misfit wandering around campus.
In my last year of law school, I went to see the career placement ladies about helping me to find a job after I graduated. The ladies in the career placement office told me that my GPA was so lousy that I would probably never be able to get a job as a lawyer. What did I say in response?
I reminded the ladies that George B. McClellan graduated at the top of his West Point class and he couldn’t win a battle. On the other hand, Ulysses S. Grant almost flunked out of West Point and he won the war. Who would you rather have working for you, I asked? Clearly the ladies were not history majors or Civil War buffs because they weren’t persuaded by my argument. I found a lawyer job without their help.
In my career, I’ve also gone to work for a few companies that left me feeling like a misfit. I remember one company where I spent the first year hoping I’d fit in with my colleagues. I spent my second year wondering why I wasn’t fitting in. By my third year, I just wanted to get the heck out of there. I found another job after a short search.
What have I learned from my experiences as a misfit?
- Never keep a job just for the paycheck. If you’re miserable because you don’t fit into the corporate culture or your co-workers are obnoxious to you, go find another place to be successful.
- I learned new skills at each job that helped me get the next job. So learn what you can and then move on if the environment makes you feel like a misfit.
- No one is really a misfit. We simply haven’t found the place where we fit in.
About Norma Shirk
My company, Corporate Compliance Risk Advisor, helps employers with up to 50 employees to create human resources policies for their employees and employee benefit programs that are appropriate to the company’s size and budget. The goal is to have structure without the annoying bureaucracy.
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