When To Tell a Different Story

Circular World™ Media
6 min readApr 28, 2024

--

Did you know that memoirs, biographies and autobiographies rate in the top five categories of non-fiction book genres across the world? Why? The Guardian newspaper helps answer this question with the article, ‘Why are biographies so popular? Because humans are enthralled by the lives of others’. The journalist, Caroline Knox, writes, “We love to catch a glimpse of the lives of others…New angles — psychological and reputational — are constantly being explored…One can equally liken a good memoir to being hugged. By taking a much more informal approach, a writer’s honesty at exposing aspects of their own story can offer both inspiration and consolation…

The website www.wordsrated.com provides us with some statistics:

  • As of 2021, memoirs and biographies for young adults grew 26% over the previous five years.
  • Memoirs and biographies is the #1 best-selling hard copy book, non-fiction book category on Amazon.
  • For e-books, memoirs and biographies come in second behind religion and spirituality.

Biography is the earliest literary genre in history. According to Egyptologist Miriam Lichtheim, writing took its first steps toward literature in the context of private tomb funerary inscriptions. These were commemorative biographical texts recounting the careers of deceased high royal officials. The earliest biographical texts are from the 26th century BC.

In the 21st century, the recruitment industry has only recently begun to examine a potential new hire’s personality, a voyeuristic professional biography, and whether they are aligned with the company’s ambitions, values, and direction. It has also become standard practice to review a candidate’s social media posts as an indication of the kind of person they are.

Recruitment

https://uthscsa.edu/medicine/education/ume/student-affairs/professional-formation

According to PSS Recruitment, the two most important criteria for any new hire are personal characteristics and motivation.

Let’s start with Personal Characteristics — Are just that, core to one’s personal character. They are what makes a person who they are, so for all practical purposes, they are unchangeable (or at least too difficult to realistically change in a business context). When evaluating personal characteristics, focus on: Integrity, Intelligence, Judgment, Passion, Strong Communication, Initiative and Energy.

Motivation is next on the list. As with personal characteristics, it is often deeply embedded and, therefore, difficult to change. Motivation is often the best determinant of whether the person is a good fit for a job (and vice versa). Because preferences about work environments, stress levels, challenges, and team dynamics can vary greatly, misalignment in this area is one of the primary causes of job dissatisfaction and underperformance.

One reason motivation is so important is that people who are a great fit with the role and environment will experience much more personal growth as they rise to the challenge of a job they enjoy.

Interestingly, PSS Recruitment rates skills and knowledge as the least most important criteria for a new hire. While job-specific skills do matter, they are much easier to learn once in a role than the more foundational skills you should be evaluating first: skills like communication, project management, organisation, the ability to handle rapid context switches, etc.

Knowledge is the least important dimension — not because it does not matter, but because it is the most easily changed (and is very likely to change anyway).

As a result, when evaluating this dimension, what is most important is not the knowledge that the candidate already has. Instead, assess their foundation and framework for gaining new knowledge, as well as how able and willing they are to do so.

Why I Believe in Myself and Why You Should Too!

It is a competitive world out there. We compete against each other at job interviews and for promotions. We pitch for sales and business contracts against our competitors. We show off our knowledge and expertise on social media platforms like LinkedIn so we can market ourselves to a professional audience. And, within all this competition, we are told of the importance of separating our professional persona from our personal persona. However, knowing who a person is is now a key criterion in recruitment, securing sponsors and partnerships.

Sometimes, a perfect storm happens in our lives that warrants a different approach to help us get through it. In 2016, I founded Circular Economy Asia Inc (CEA). But CEA was not like most other start-ups.

It took a while to find direction and momentum, and once that was settled, CEA never actually ‘started-up’.

Is perseverance a quality? So, I found myself competing against other circular economy professionals where I stood no chance of ever being able to ‘win’. My particularly unique circumstances here in Malaysia had not provided any opportunity to gain real-life circular economy experience, which would have fueled personal and professional growth, skills and knowledge.

In early January 2024, I stepped outside the main arena to forge my own path, a path to grow CEA. Things were going well, slow but steady. But it was ‘same old, same old’ competition. The decision to make a change came when I was hit with multiple tsunamis — extreme poverty took away my choices for new accommodation, starvation continued, and I was extremely vulnerable in a hostile new environment where I was also physically assaulted and verbally abused daily. Throughout it all, I remained calm and focused on my values until I was hit with my first major personal loss.

The decision to remove myself from the competitive world was easy. It was time to tell a different story — a story about why I believe in myself and why you should believe in me, too.

I demonstrated my personal characteristics of integrity, intelligence, values, and initiative. I walked the talk on motivation and sense of purpose. I pulled back the curtain on my autism and gave it a personal touch. I cried about the loss, witnessing the abuse and neglect of my precious furry feline family that I was unable to save. In essence, I posted about my story. I made sure there were no doubts as to why anyone should want to work with me.

I cannot present a CV that includes a list of my circular economy achievements. I cannot submit applications for funding or grants because I have no team, no co-founder, no financial history and no track record.

The only thing I can do is clearly explain why I am not a risk to work with or collaborate with and why I am worth sponsoring and being your business partner.

Every single day for nearly eight years, I have demonstrated an extraordinary obsession to work, to build CEA, to be part of the bigger picture across the Asian region. Yes, I have been recently distracted by events that have only strengthened the pillars of integrity that hold me up.

I have an excellent Materials Management Penang Project on the table. My long history of life and professional experience back it up. Do not dismiss eight years of circular economy ‘study’ that I can turn into practice.

Now it is your turn.

***************************

If you are interested in the backstory, please go to my LinkedIn company page — Circular Economy Asia, for the details.

Ms Adrienna Zsakay is the Founder and CEO of Circular Economy Asia Inc, and this article represents her opinions on the circular economy. Circular Economy Pick of the Week is brought to you by Circular World™ Media — a brand owned by Circular Economy Asia Inc.

References

Biography — Wikipedia

‘4 Key Aspects When Hiring Staff’ from PSS Recruitment

Originally published at https://www.linkedin.com.

--

--

Circular World™ Media

Circular World™ Media is owned by Circular Economy Asia Incorporated. Registered in Australia, based in Malaysia. We focus on resource management & efficiency