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5 Things I Have Learnt from Ralph Wiggum

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The Simpsons is one of the most well-known cartoons of our generation. Generally enjoyed by children and adults, it is referenced in almost every household. 

 

I remember fighting with my parents from a young age to reserve the right to watch. They felt it was immature and crude, but I argued that it was downright educational. Which is a position that I still stand by. And while most people will tell you that their favourite character is Homer or Bart or someone else generic (never Lisa though – no one likes Lisa), I was always impartial to Ralph. He is the beloved simpleton overlooked by many, but I think he might secretly be the wisest of them all and he has given me some key life advice.

 

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1.      Always See the Positive

Life sucks sometimes. It’s inevitable. Feeling pain or disappointment is a necessary part of the human existence. Without it, we wouldn’t truly appreciate all the good stuff. But when something bad happens, it can be hard to remember that as we tend to assume that suddenly everything sucks. It can be hard to remember that something positive will come, potentially even as a result of the disappointing moment you are experiencing now. Ever had a candidate pull out of a role last minute? Yeah, me too. Just this morning actually. And while it hurts and my first initial thought was to cancel today and go back to bed, it’s been a huge growth opportunity for me. I had to have multiple contract negotiations for this role and deal with difficult situations with client, candidate and even my own team. It sucks, but it happened. It was hard, but I handled everything right and the outcome was something out of my control. So I’m choosing to count this as a professional win.

 

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2.      Show Your Compassion

We so often become caught up in our own lives that we forget about those around us. Dealing with the stresses and problems that we face daily can blind us to the signs that someone else might need our help or attention. People are often afraid to reach out during their most difficult times from fear of rejection, lack of understanding or judgement. If someone does decide to open up to you about what they are struggling with, remember to keep an open mind and try to empathise. If you do notice someone seems down or distracted, then perhaps remind them that you are always available for a chat if they need and would like to help if you can. We all need a little help sometimes.

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3.      Let your Creativity Shine

Being creative is a gift but showing your creativity can make you feel vulnerable. Creativity is so important, especially in the workplace. It allows you to try and look or think about things from a different perspective which will enhance your problem-solving skills and promote collaboration. Not to mention separating you from your competition. Sometimes we don’t like to share our ideas with our colleagues because we worry that they won’t agree or think we’re ridiculous and silencing that fearful voice in our heads is generally more than half of the battle. A key aspect to building a positive work culture is promoting open conversation and collaboration. Besides, any idea is better than no idea.

 

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4.     Never be Afraid to Ask “Silly” Questions

I used to be guilty of avoiding questions for fear of looking stupid or incompetent, especially in front of a client. But considering we provide whole site recruitment, there’s no way I can be an expert in electrical, mechanical, financial, scientific and logistics. Better to ask and understand then to guess and be wrong. In the same sense this has helped tremendously with the candidate interviews of technical roles. If you ask a candidate to “pretend that you’re someone that knows nothing about IT and Systems and to explain it to me in simple terms…” it works on two levels: 1) it allows you to actually check their ability and 2) it gets them to explain what they do in simple terms that you can understand. Remember, silly questions have led to most advancements across business, science and technologies.

 

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5.      The Art of Conversation is Crucial

I feel this is a life skill that might be slipping away from some of us. We so often hide behind emails and texting because it’s less confronting and we have more time to think and form responses. Walking up to someone or calling them can be intimidating as we have to think on our feet. But never underestimate the power of rapport built or impression made from 'personability' that can be hard to transfer through text. I was once in an elevator on my way to a job interview and decided to strike up a conversation with another passenger in the lift about their day. It turns out they worked at the place where I had applied and were able to offer me some very valuable insights about the business and what other successful applicants had done in the past. A unique opportunity I would have missed had I not struck up a conversation with a ‘random in a lift’.

 

There’s so many other lessons and topics that the Simpson family and co have touched on over the years. I can relate most things from my day-to-day back to an episode that I’ve seen at some point in my life. While there is potentially something more philosophical that I could take my life lessons from, I chose to rely on the focus on the readily available and highly entertaining.

 

* This article was written by Samantha Standfast, a Recruitment Consultant based in Brisbane specialising in top to bottom Manufacturing recruitment. To connect with Sam or see her latest jobs, click here!