I met a job seeker who has been in New Zealand for the last few months, and in our meeting, he constantly complained about the employment market, recruiters, job boards, and his agent from his home country. He was frustrated about his job application rejections he had received, as he felt he had the required relevant experience. He considered himself as a victim of wrongdoing and asked me if the way he was being treated in the New Zealand job marker was right.

I tried to explain that key question wasn’t whether it’s right or not, although one would tend to agree with him in principle. The key question was what are you doing about it?

“Are you playing victim or are you adapting?” I asked him, “If you’re being robbed, you don’t just sit around thinking…Oh, why is this happening to me? This is not right. Instead, you react. You shout for help or you fight to defend or you call a cop or you run away, right?”

I know my reply may sound harsh especially to someone who was expecting me to empathise with him. He tried answering my question for some time before retreating to where he came from…never to be seen again!

This has left me thinking—why do we want to come across as victims? Are we expecting undue favours? Consciously or subconsciously, are we trying to manipulate others or are we simply trying to hide our incapability?

Reality TV shows such also come to mind where if the participant comes from a difficult/broken personal background, they tend to attract more attention than they deserve. In some form or the other, we see participants playing a victims’ card often gain short-term undue advantage.

The reason could be any of the above or something that I’ve missed, but as a mentor, I observe job seekers irrespective of their colour, creed, and nationality (including Kiwis) playing the victim card with no hesitation. Almost seven out of 10 job seekers speak this language and come across as victims.

Yes, I agree that the job market is hostile for many reasons beyond our control, and no, I am not saying that job seekers are faking their stories and experience in dealing with their current employment struggles. My question is simple: What are you doing about it?

Remember, the feeling of being victimised leaves you with action paralyses. You stop thinking, stop improving, and stop upskilling yourself. Your dependence on others increases. You become vulnerable and prone to exploitation. You start developing hatred towards situations and people around you, and before you realise, you are surrounded by negative emotions and negative people.

Just go out there, get up, and do something. There are so many free resources and so much help available out there. Don’t fear the hit-and-trial method and feel free to experiment. See what works for you and what doesn’t. Ask for help/assistance/suggestions/guidance. Keep that smile on your face and do not lose your confidence and faith on who you are and what you are capable of.

And never come across as a victim.

About the author

Raj Singh is the Managing Recruiter at Rent a Recruiter Ltd and is sharing his knowledge and experience with migrants and international students choosing New Zealand as their study and employment destination. He believes in talking about the topics with no sugar coating and advises readers' discretion.