There is something eating at me: Do nice people really finish last? There is a serious killer in me I keep at bay. I sometimes see opportunity and know there are things I can do to knock people out of the way, yet I keep fostering the idea that team is better and try to focus on the collective good. But I see so many people getting ahead of me.
I am a good person. I have integrity and a rich character, but there are times when I want to unleash my scruples and speak purely to my goals. I don’t want to be seen as a pushover. I’m at a crossroads in my career and looking for a new opportunity. What characteristics are attractive to people looking to hire someone? Do they want/need the killer? Or is it both? –Mary
People of integrity and rich character are not, by definition, killers. It’s not the person they want to be for themselves, their spouse or their children. And their moral compass simply won’t let them destroy another person. Killers lack a sense of morality and have no conscience, thus they can easily walk over the dead bodies to get ahead.
The good news is anyone you would ever want to work for isn't interested in hiring killers. They're interested in hiring hungry, passionate, smart, engaging and engaged, confident people they like to be around.
The real challenge is to look behind your question and ask yourself if your internal "killer" is a metaphor for a sense of frustration you may have if you’ve allowed people to take advantage of you–maybe they’ve paid you less than you deserve, treated you poorly or unfairly, etc. Is it possible the people you see getting ahead have found a way to ask for what they want and stand up for what they think they deserve?
Remember that no one can take your power away from you unless you let them.
Nice people, who have quietly and confidently stepped into their own power, don't finish last. They're the kind of people everyone else wants to work for!
Focus on the things you’re good at. Create a narrative about yourself and your experience that a potential employer would find interesting and compelling. Then practice talking about your attributes in a genuine, confident and dignified way that subtly communicates to the person interviewing you that you are also someone they would enjoy seeing every day.
Great companies today respect creative, innovative thinkers who have the self-confidence to work in genuinely collaborative ways. Those are the people most in demand. And those are the people who will ultimately finish first.