Be Positive? Challenge Accepted.

I’ve decided to make a promise to myself and the people around me. I want to be a more positive person. Now, hear me out because this is part enlightening commitment, part self-doubt-inflicted rant.

Thumbs Up

Get ready for a mathematical representation of my dilemma:

Picture a number line; you have zero in the middle, negative numbers to the left, and positive numbers to the right. Well, boys and girls, adding negative to anything positive brings you closer to zero. You will eventually get to zero (no, zero is not asymptotic in this analogy) and you only become more negative from there. At this point, I feel as though I’ve passed zero (and no, you don’t collect $200 when this happens) and am continuing down the line.Right or Left?

My problem (at the moment) stems from the fact that I’m really unsure of what I want to do in life after graduate school. I realize that I am only 23 so I don’t need to have my life planned out to a T. I mean, I wake up and have no idea what I want to wear most mornings, and it usually works out just fine. But, come on, this is my life we’re talking about. Meaning, like, until I die. It’s not a debate between an everyday T-shirt and a cute summer-y top.

While browsing jobs online, I find ones that sound intriguing. And, hey, look at that! I even meet the basic qualifications! But then I start asking myself questions that a potential employer might ask. “What sets you apart from other candidates?” “What one word best describes what you have to offer our company?” “Why do you think you would be better qualified for this position?”

Essentially, I start asking myself, “What makes you think you’re so special that you would be able to perform this job better than anyone else?

And it’s not in a polite tone, either. Go ahead, reread that previous statement in the meanest, most patronizing way. Got it? Yeah, I can get pretty rude to myself sometimes.

So, naturally, since I try to stay away from rude and condescending people, I decide to walk away from this uncomfortable situation.What's wrong with me?

Well, there goes another job opportunity that I didn’t even press the “Apply Now!” button for.

Now reflecting on these repetitive situations, there is a common denominator.

No, it’s not the type of job I applied (or almost applied) for.

Yes, on paper I meet the basic requirements for education.

And no, I didn’t miss the application deadline.

The common denominator, the greatest obstacle, the one thing that keeps me from searching and applying for jobs is ME. That scoundrel Holliday (that’s me Holliday. I’m referring to myself when I say Holliday) makes me feel like complete poo every single time I open my internet browser and start searching for potential jobs.

I usually start my searches with an open mind, freshly pumped up after a pep-talk (usually not from myself) about how smart and great I am. I look for jobs in math – both teaching and non-teaching – and might find a few that seem interesting at first. There are even some that I click just because I don’t know what the heck they entail. I might narrow it down to a couple that I would actually be interested in applying for, so I get my resume and cover letter ready to upload.

I'm ready!

And then I reread the qualifications:

Two years experience a must? How am I supposed to get said experience if everyone requires said experience?

Must be a good communicator? Shoot, my mom tells me I mumble a lot.

Leadership experience a plus? I mean, I was usually the first of my suite mates ready for dinner in college, and therefore the first of us in line.

Honors, awards, and certificates? I still have my diploma from kindergarten, does that count?

You know nothing.

Now, all joking aside, getting this far in life and being in graduate school for mathematics education should say something, right? But no matter how qualified I may be I always find faults in myself that start pushing me away from submitting my required documents and information.

No, I wasn’t the president, vice president, or even a back-up treasurer in any groups in high school or college. I worked from my senior year of high school through my four years of undergraduate, so I didn’t have a whole lot of time to get super involved in clubs and intramural sports. My mother was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis when I was nine, so I did a lot of growing up before I was a teenager. Does that count as leadership?!Going mental.

And see, that’s not something you put on a resume. And I wouldn’t say anything like that during an interview. So, aside from my resume, my application would seem to be very sparse. So then what’s the point of applying since they’ll probably have fifty applicants who are much more qualified?!

And that’s how it ends. I exit out of my browser tabs of potential jobs and go on Facebook or YouTube, stewing for the rest of the day/night. I dwell on my employment inadequacies until another week passes without any progress on figuring out what I would like to do with my life and my Masters degree I will earn in December. And I gotta tell you, it’s annoying, exhausting, and ridiculous.Exhausted.

I realize how ridiculous it is. If someone else were going through this problem, I would assure and reassure them of their positive attributes and remind them of their experience and all that jazz. I would be more than happy to pump up my friends if it means they’ll apply to a job they want. But do this for myself? Unheard of!

Thankfully I have friends and family who constantly boost me up. I hear more positive stuff from them and yet I’m more willing to listen to all of the negative garbage from myself. I am the outlier. And in statistics, we don’t consider the outliers to be helpful in finding trends or making relevant conclusions. Boom. Math application.

So here’s a pact to myself. I will only say positive things about myself for the next week. If some negative comment or putdown comes to my mind or lips about myself, I will write it down and try to figure out two positive reasons that it is wrong. I will do my best to follow these rules when applying to jobs as well because I am sick of talking myself out of potentially awesome opportunities.

Positive words

And my goal is not to become arrogant or conceited, but positive and uplifting. I think that if my positivity starts with myself it will be so much easier to be positive for others. If you’d like to join me in this challenge, please feel free! Here’s to positive thoughts. Cheers.


What’s that spell? Holliday! Keep reading to see how…

So last weekend I visited Geneseo, NY to hang out with friends from my alma mater (that’s SUNY Geneseo, for those who have never heard of this small town…which is probably most of you). Whilst partaking in delicious Indian food at Haveli’s in Rochester (check them out here), my group of 8 friends started spewing out the alphabet. Okay, it wasn’t the alphabet, but it sure sounded like it. Letters were flying from one end of the table to the other.

Enter Myers-Briggs personality test. Apparently everyone knew their personality – consisting of four letters – and were comparing certain traits of the different types. I had not taken this test, so I was unable to participate in the conversation. Part of me wanted to just start calling out random letters – ‘I’m B-L-U-E’ (reminds me of that song from the 90s…’I’m blue, if I was green I would die…’ Still not sure what he was really saying.).

Instead, I decided that upon our return to Geneseo, I would take the test and find out once and for all who Sir Myers and Mr. Briggs think I am. I took a poll from everyone at the table of what they thought I would be. After each person’s name, I recorded their guess for my personality type, followed by their individual personality type. As you can see, most guess E, T, and J for my personality. Lauren guessed her initials (super helpful). And Emma is my favorite.

myers briggs

So the moment of truth arrived; I pulled up the test (we used this one here) on my computer and had Erika read me the questions. Now, I’m not sure if this is an acceptable method due to a possible bias when answering in front of other people, but I figured if I did it myself I would probably think too much about each question and end up with a bias anyway. You’re supposed to just answer based on your initial instincts; but I must warn you, some of the questions can be very situational, so there’s not always a clear-cut answer.

72 questions later, the results came in. According to M and B, I am an ENFJ; that is Extrovert iNtuition Feeling Judging. My friends were pretty astonished that I was not a T. “Should I retake the test?!” Anyways, the site provides you an entire profile that describes what this personality means in terms of the way you interact with people, the way you make decisions, and all sorts of other things. It was really strange reading my profile and realizing how true most of the ideas were.

I think it’s fascinating, but I’m still skeptical about the idea that answering these questions determines your personality. Especially because there were a bunch of questions that I couldn’t answer right away because I’m a very situational person. I’m constantly saying, “Well sometimes I feel this, but other times I feel this way.” So making clear-cut decisions is sometimes difficult. And other times, it is not. See?

I’m curious to know what personality types you all are and whether you agree with your M-B outcome. Is this an accurate test? Do you know of a better test than the one I took?