Paper Cuts

One of the most painful things I watch my clients experience is not losing a job to a more qualified candidate its discovering that they were the “paper candidate.” Sometimes people suspect they are included because HR rules require x number of finalists, or women, or under represented minorities.

Sometimes they leave the interview with evidence.

Interviewers texting during group interviews, side conversations during their answers, questions so general you can find them on, questions that show they never looked at your resume. Lots of clues.

Being used to round out a candidate pool or satisfy an HR requirement is not death by a thousand cuts as much as that ancient punishment seems to fit, because you don’t actually die from being rejected for a job.

These are paper cuts. Shallow, bloodless, painful and in places you’ve been cut before.

Unfortunately, in order to apply for any new position you have to be “in it to win it” or don’t bother. You need to care enough to revamp your resume or CV, write a thoughtful cover letter, do a little networking, and get your references together.

So it’s a delicate balance to encourage clients to not give up, keep their eye on the big picture, keep making progress where they can, and yet not be a source of false hope.

Paper cuts also suck because you don’t get any sympathy (except from your coach) for picking yourself up and starting again. Bloodletting would be dramatic, paper cuts are expected to be shrugged off.

By now the whole world has heard about tracking “Small Wins” to note progress, but I am not finding any HBR articles about the impact of “Small Losses.”

I’ve started writing an article Small Losses: A Tool for Understanding Setbacks. I’ve been told that I “give away” my content too readily. Apparently self-publishing an Amazon single is a marketing tool I should become acquainted with for my coaching practice.

I don’t know. Would you pay $1.99 to read Small Losses: A Tool for Understanding Setbacks?

Bloodletting; thumb lancet, illustration of use.