Mankindness

In recent weeks, I’ve been going through what a dear friend calls a “humbling experience”. I’ve been job hunting.

The desire for external validation being one of my strongest weaknesses, I find job hunting particularly draining. Leads gone cold, e-mails not responded to, applications gently yet firmly rejected.

It all fuels this mild panic, an underlying unease that permeates my existence, day in, day out.

But that’s not what I want to write about, at least not today. I’m still so embroiled in the process that I lack the clarity and perspective to write a piece worth reading.

I want to write about the warmth of human kindness, which I have felt time and again during this process.

For a week now, I’ve been reaching out to professional and personal contacts left and right. I literally went through all my 600+ LinkedIn contacts, created a tracker Excel file of my connections, and meticulously worked my way down the list.

I don’t know if you share this difficulty: I find it hard to reach out to people and ask for help. Former colleagues I haven’t spoken to in months, friends from school I’ve lost touch with but still have on my messaging app.

So it was a real struggle to write each and every person, hat in hand, asking for any job leads they have, connections they can introduce me to.

The responses I’ve got have varied. Some were proactive in offering their help. Some had suggestions. Some offered commiserations. Some didn’t reply. All valid reactions. And it’s neither my place nor constructive to divine intentions behind others’ action or inaction.

But one thing I’ve felt time and again is kindness. A human-to-human kindness, generously given. Strangers taking action. Friends helping persuade others. Former colleagues (themselves also job hunting) pointing me toward vacancies I’d missed.

Only this morning, a professional recruiter who 3 years back was working at the same company I was (we weren’t even in the same team or location) not only offered to pass on my resume to the right people, but also asked if I’d like feedback on it, and (once I’ve said yes) proceeded to give detailed, thoughtful suggestions.

This genuinely warms my heart. This “mankindness”, unexpectedly discovered in these difficult, humbling days.

I only hope that, one day, I can pass it forward to others who are going through humbling experiences of their own.

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