As I was driving in to work the other day, I was listening to a program on National Public Radio regarding the differences in how Eastern and Western cultures tackle the learning process.  In summary, in Eastern cultures, struggle is viewed more as an opportunity versus an indication of failure, unlike Western cultures where the emphasis is upon one’s intelligence so that if one engages in a struggle to obtain a solution to a problem, then that is an indication of someone with less than desirable abilities.  I think this distinction is an important concept to keep in mind when you are seeking out applicants for employment, no matter the position.  In reviewing the resume or during discussions with the applicant, perhaps it would be appropriate to discuss any struggles which the individual has overcome in his or her life.  Perhaps even more importantly, how did they view the struggle, as an opportunity or simply a burden that got in their way.  I have always been a fan of those individuals who have “fire in the belly.”  Those are the individuals who embrace struggle.  They are willing to go outside their comfort zone to reach a goal.  So perhaps we should be looking less at the credentials an applicant for employment possesses and more about how they obtained those credentials.  It may be a better approach in terms of determining who is going to be the best employee in the long run.

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Photo of Terry Potter Terry Potter

A former field attorney with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), Terry views labor and employment cases from an insider’s perspective. He represents employers in collective bargaining, arbitrations and union avoidance techniques in a myriad of factual settings before the NLRB, National Mediation…

A former field attorney with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), Terry views labor and employment cases from an insider’s perspective. He represents employers in collective bargaining, arbitrations and union avoidance techniques in a myriad of factual settings before the NLRB, National Mediation Board (NMB) and various state public labor relations boards.