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Choice of Career
Researching a New Job
At Work
When faced with a setback
Faulter Ego
Punching below one’s weight, underestimating one’s abilities
Defeatist and unsystematic approach; not really believing one stands a chance; too timid or embarrassed to ask others for pointers
Underselling one’s achievements and skills; putting very little time into CV prep; slow to approach references for permission
Poor body language and self-presentation; use of self-deprecatory humour; feeling like an imposter
Fear of being ‘found out’, of making mistakes; poor planning; lack of initiative
Instinctive pessimism about one’s ability to solve the problem
Walter Ego
Haphazard; often one temp job after another; choice of job rarely related directly to ‘dream’ career; no short to medium term criteria for success
Little or no planning or even curiosity
Little care taken due to discomfort and embarrassment at lack of substantial professional achievements
Waffly answers; overtalking; poor listening to questions; over-reliance on humour
Poor delivery, efficiency and reliability; easily distractable from task at hand; lack of basic priority-setting
Flight not fight
Halter Ego
Safe option
Restricting one’s research to safe-bet or familiar options
Efficient but dull; geared to giving impression of ‘safe pair of hands’.
Scripted answers; lack of spark; focus on being reassuringly charisma-free.
Routinised; plodding; often letting colleagues walk all over one.
Often clueless, rarely proactive.
Altar Ego
Flitting from one thing to another OR getting trapped in one particular low-satisfaction job
Expectation that ‘the right job’ will ‘come to me’ out of the ether; lack of follow-through
Poor attention to detail
Staking all on creating a good ‘vibe’ with interviewer(s); vague style of answering
Little real interest taken or energy invested in specific tasks; running away from logistical challenges; fear of personal accountability
Quick to resign oneself to defeat
Vaulter Ego
Tendency to go for something that is not aligned with values, work motivators and/or soft skills
Tendency to narrow focus down prematurely; discomfort with considering alternative options; skipping over key details
Tendency to rush this phase
Markedly poor listening skills hamper effectiveness of answers; bad pacing of one’s presentation of self
Susceptibility to stress and drama; constantly putting out fires to the neglect of longer range goals
Temptation to short-circuit the process; giving in to frustration and impatience
Alterior Ego
Guided by advice and expectations of others
Little attention given to one’s own drivers and motivators
Lack of compelling personal narrative
Failure to leave one’s personal mark in the interviewers’ memory
Lack of personal initiative; constantly worrying about approval from others
Over-reliance on other people’s interpretation of what has gone wrong
Salter Ego
Setting one’s sights too low; feeling pressurised into going for a particular job
Defensive attitude – mental picture of a hostile world that doesn’t want me to succeed
Allowing a defensive tone to creep in to covering letter and summary of past roles
Giving out about previous job(s); tensing up at questions perceived as hostile
Lack of scrupulosity about own tasks; tendency to envy or feel threatened by more dynamic colleagues
Dwelling on why this happened and who’s to blame rather than how to sort it out
Exalter Ego
Driven by ego rather than values and meaningful goals
Having a blind-spot to genuinely interesting opportunities
Overselling oneself
Coming across as smarmy, cocky, sleek, over-competitive, over-ambitious; raising flags as to ability to work in a team
Full of oneself and competitive; insincere.
Bawling out the person beneath you
Voltaire Ego
Something which will not impinge on life outside of work even if it means boredom and repetition in role with no scope for development
Being guided exclusively by questions like, ‘Is this role close to home?’, ‘What’s the annual holiday entitlement?’, ‘What are the working hours?’; Comfort-zone priorities rule out chances of finding stimulating work
Bland, factual, no compelling narrative; marked lack of training and upskilling due to reluctance to leave home in the evening to invest in a course
Displaying unease at mention of new tasks in role, i.e. ‘uncharted territory’; too quick to focus on working conditions and how secure the company is
Watching the clock; zero initiative; problems with punctuality
Clueless; ‘Not my problem/ fault’


Choice of Career
Researching a New Job
At Work
When faced with a setback
Faulter Ego
Being careful and judicious; factoring in worst case scenarios; having a realistically modest sense of one’s talents and qualifications
Healthy suspicion of employers’ recruitment pitches; not romanticising a prospective job; looking carefully before leaping; factoring in worstcase scenarios
Not overselling one’s abilities
Coming across as thoughtful and realistic
Conscientiousness and alertness to problems
Not fleeing into Polyanna mode
Walter Ego
Allowing oneself to think big and not settle for a life in Mediocristan
Thinking laterally; not going with the safest or most obvious option; being guided by how excited I feel by a career direction
Coming across as dynamic, enthusiastic and not restricted to comfort-zone thinking
Showing one’s imaginative and creative side; making a real impression
Not allowing each day be a photocopy of the last; bringing fresh thinking to things
Optimism that, with a bit of creative strategising, the setback can be mounted
Halter Ego
Not fleeing basic financial commitments; willingness to advance in baby steps
Patient accumulation of data; not rushing into things
Thoroughness in research and preparation
Conveying a sense of unostentatious reliability; coming across as a good team player
Reliable and collegial; not hunting for glory all the time
Ability to think the problem through slowly and systematically
Altar Ego
Not being afraid to ask oneself if this role will meet one's deeper needs and vaules as a person
Keeping an eye out for opportunities; having trust that things will come right in the end
Coming across as a thoughtful and rounded person
Being reflective and not given to getting lost in procedural matters
Viewing one's role as more than just a means to an end; investing it with value and meaning
Taking the broad view
Vaulter Ego
Having little tolerance for drift
Impulse to seal the deal rather than get lost in endless reflection
Being brief and to the point
Being brief and to the point; giving the impression that one is enthusiastic about getting going in this new role
Doesn’t mess about; gets things done; places a premium on delivery and meeting deadlines
Focus not on analysis but on (pro)action
Alterior Ego
Considers the opinion of others before jumping
Canvasses a wide range of viewpoints
Is constantly asking oneself: ‘What impression am I making here?”
Highly alert to the verbal and body-language reactions of interviewers
Excellent team player; knows how to liaise; doesn’t impose own viewpoint all the time
Casts around for solutions and picks the best
Salter Ego
Sensitivity to one's own emotions makes one demand a job that is genuinely enjoyable
Always measure data against personal needs
Comes across as a human not a robot
Sensitive to needs and perspectives of interviewers
Notices when colleagues are not having a good day; is in touch with own feelings and moods
Sense of fair play – will stand up to bullies and defend scapegoats
Exalter Ego
Not afraid to aim high
Not shy about networking
Highly efficient; everything written for maximum impact
Infectious nthusiasm about what one can bring to this role and this organisation
High productivity and efficiency; fearless about thinking outside the box; constantly spotting possibilities others miss
Insists on no-nonsense troubleshooting
Voltaire Ego
Not equating life with work
Being unapologetically fussy about work– life balance implications
Gives impressive sense of a personal ‘hinterland’, i.e. this person is more interesting than any job
Reassuringly normal, BSfree and undesperate about getting the job; isn’t promising the world at interview, so may actually deliver what’s asked
Does what one says on the tin; low maintenance; not an attention seeker; not obsessed with status, because personal centre of gravity lies outside of workplace
Refuses to exaggerate magnitude of problem; ‘At the end of the day, no one’s died’; often a lone sane voice when everyone else is losing all perspective and getting completely stressed out
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