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Vital to Your Job Search Success: Accepting Your Reality




There’s one timeline and one reality.


When former U.S. vice-presidential candidate, naval officer and Vietnam prisoner of war James Stockdale was asked who struggled the most in the Hỏa Lò Prison (aka. “Hanoi Hilton”), he answered, “the optimists.”


Stockdale said, somewhat paradoxically, that as POWs, it was the optimists who got crushed. The ones who deceived themselves with unreasonable expectations, who tried to avoid the brutal facts of their reality; “they died of a broken heart.” Stockdale said what you need when circumstances are darkest is a blend of appreciation for what is in your control and an acceptance of what is not. This was the key to his survival.


I can’t think of any greater yin and yang than optimism versus reality.


The situation you’re in right now isn’t your fault. You didn’t cause the pandemic, your job loss, the hyper-competitive job market, nor how long the pandemic has been dragging on. You didn’t ask for this miserable period.


The ability to acknowledge (Better yet, embrace.) your current reality, the situation, and the environment you currently find yourself in and balance it with optimism will serve you well throughout your job search. Such paradoxical thinking has been one of the defining philosophies for great leaders making it through hardship and reaching their goals.


We all know too much of anything is bad. Too much optimism can be mentally crippling, especially finger-crossing, on your knees praying optimism that fixates on conditional hopes and wishful thinking about things outside your control. (e.g., how an employer chooses to hire)


While optimism is good; otherwise, why would you move forward, excessive optimism can cause you to:


  • not acknowledge and accept what you can’t change.
  • soothe your ego and fears with wishful thinking.
  • view the world through rose-coloured glasses.
  • envy those you deem more successful than you, who you think has it easier than you, or tell yourself “They’re privileged.”
  • play the “I’m a victim” game.


Conducting an efficient job search requires knowing yourself and clearly seeing the employment landscape for what it is. (What you’re up against.) When it comes to job hunting, the best approach is to accept that employers own their hiring process, not you. Wishful thinking, created by optimism and a sense of entitlement has no place in a job search.


You may wish employers would simply “get you” and see what a great employee you’d be. The reality is you need to sell yourself and not expect hiring managers to connect the dots between your skills and experience and the job they’re trying to fill. You may wish employers would look past their biases. All human beings, you, and I, carry biases which significantly influence our decisions. Hiring managers are human beings.


Your “wish how employers were” list is probably long—it’s also distorting your mindset and making you frustrated and unhappy. It doesn’t change how employers hire.


Then there’s your competition. Don’t kid yourself; job hunting is a competitive activity.


Most job search heartbreaks result from job seekers overestimating their abilities—we’re never as good as we think we are—and underestimating their competition. The reality is many rockstar candidates are vying for the same jobs you are.


Here’s one “life rub” we’ve all experienced; competing with someone who’s so good at what they do that it seems unfair. Regardless of how your resume and LinkedIn read, I guarantee you are up against job seekers who are hungrier, more skilled, charismatic, and talented than you.


There’s nothing more painful during a job search than to fall in love with a position, believe that it’s yours and then not get hired. This is where pessimism has its perks. Assuming that you won’t get the job might not make you feel good—that is, until you don’t get the job. If you assumed all along that you wouldn’t get picked for the position (and then you don’t), it’ll still sting, but not as much as if you had believed you were a shoo-in for the job all along.


Weird as this may sound, pessimism manages your expectations and, therefore, can improve your mood and confidence.


Ultimately, the goal is to be neither overly optimistic nor entirely pessimistic. When conducting a job search, keep in mind all you can control is consistently doing your best and graciously accept rejection. This is how you build resilience, which in today’s job market is a must-have. Resilience is why Stockdale was able to survive seven-and-a-half years in the Hanoi Hilton.



Nick Kossovan, a well-seasoned veteran of the corporate landscape, offers advice on searching for a job. You can send him your questions at


Oil prices fall as weaker China growth, U.S. output stoke demand concerns



Oil prices fell on Tuesday, with Brent down a second straight day, after Chinese data showed slowing economic growth and U.S. factory output dropped in September, raising fresh concerns about demand amid patchy recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

Brent Crude was down by 43 cents, or 0.5%, at $83.90 a barrel by 0132 GMT after falling 0.6% on Monday. The contract is still up nearly 7% this month.

U.S. oil fell 33 cents, or 0.4%, to $82.11 a barrel, having risen 0.2% in the previous session and nearly 10% this month.

Factory output in the United States dropped the most in seven months last month as a global shortage of semiconductors slowed auto production, further evidence that supply constraints are a strain on economic growth.

In China, the world’s second-biggest economy, bottlenecks also contributed to a decline in the growth rate to a one-year low as energy shortages and sporadic outbreaks of coronavirus hit the country.

China’s daily crude oil processing rate fell again last month to the lowest level since May last year.

But with temperatures falling as the northern hemisphere winter approaches, prices of oil, coal and gas are likely to remain elevated, analysts said.

“A frigid winter has the potential to send energy prices even higher,” Citi Research commodities analysts said in a note, after upgrading their forecast for Brent oil for the rest of 2021 to $85 a barrel from $74 a barrel.

Colder weather has already started to grip China, with the temperature forecast to fall to near freezing point in areas of the north, according to

Also helping keep a lid on prices, U.S. oil output is rising. Production in the largest shale formation in the U.S. is expected to gain further next month, according to an official report.


(Reporting by Aaron Sheldrick; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)

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Ecuadorean indigenous communities sue to halt oil development



Indigenous communities from Ecuador’s Amazon on Monday sued the government to halt plans by President Guillermo Lasso to increase oil development in the country, calling the expansion efforts a “policy of death.”

Lasso, a conservative ex-banker who took office in May, issued two decrees in the first days of his administration meant to facilitate the development of oil blocks in environmentally sensitive jungle areas and attract more foreign investment for mining projects.

Leaders of Amazonian  indigenous communities are asking the Constitutional Court, the country’s highest judicial body, to nullify the decrees.

“The Ecuadorean government sees in our territory only resource interests,” said Waorani leader Nemonte Nenquimo, in remarks outside the court, surrounded by dozens of supporters.

“Our territory is our decision and we’ll never allow oil or mining companies to enter and destroy our home and kill our culture.”

Lasso has said he will seek international investment to increase oil production to 1 million barrels per day by the end of his term in 2025.

He also wants to make mining one of the country’s top sources of income.

The indigenous communities plan to present a separate suit against the decree related to mining, they said in a statement.

Expanding oil extraction will put in danger some of the world’s most biodiverse jungle, home to dozens of indigenous communities, the indigenous leaders said.

The energy ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“They seek to continue this policy of death,” said Leonidas Iza, who heads the CONAIE indigenous organization. “This isn’t a problem of the indigenous, it’s one of civilization.”

Indigenous groups have said they could hold protests against Lasso’s social and economic policies.


(Reporting by Tito Correa; Writing by Alexandra Valencia and Julia Symmes Cobb; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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Brazil’s Votorantim and Canada Pension Plan to form energy joint venture



Privately-owned Votorantim SA, one of Brazil’s biggest diversified industrial groups, has announced a plan with Canada Pension Plan to consolidate their energy assets in Brazil to create a listed integrated renewables platform, they said on Monday.

The joint venture between Votorantim Energia and CPP Investments, Canada Pension Plan ‘s global investment arm, will include another stakeholder, Companhia Energetica de Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo’s power generation company known as CESP.

CPP Investments will invest an additional 1.5 billion reais (C$340 million) to increase the venture’s capital base, the companies said.

The new company will have net revenue estimated at 5.8 billion reais based on the 2020 results, and a diversified energy matrix with an installed capacity of 3.3 gigawatts (GW), of which 2.3 GW is hydroelectric sources and 1.0 GW in wind power, they said.

The company will already be born with a pipeline of projects that combine hydro and solar sources, as well as hybrid solutions, totaling 1.9 GW, they said in a statement.

The new company will also be one of the largest energy traders in Brazil, with more than 2.6 average GW sold in 2020 and a portfolio of more than 400 customers.

“By consolidating our assets in a single company, Votorantim and CPP Investments intend to start a new cycle of growth and value generation together with CESP’s shareholders,” said Joao Schmidt, Votorantim’s chief executive.


(Reporting by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Chris Reese)

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