The Job Seeker With the Dragon Tattoo
Published in CareersConnect, February 2012
By Peter Weddle
By now, you’ve probably heard of Stieg Larsson’s bestseller, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. For those who haven’t yet read the book, it’s (sort of) a murder mystery intertwined with the self-identity quest of a young woman with distinctive body art. While all of the plot’s secrets are revealed by the end of the tale, one question is never addressed: what’s the meaning of the dragon tattoo? The answer is especially important to job seekers.
Lisbeth Salandar—the titular girl with the dragon tattoo—is the antithesis of the conventional girl next door. She’s amply pierced and decorated and socially maladroit. She’s also an expert in her field. Whatever her difficulties with “normal” people, she can bring a computer to life. Her specialty is probing online communications and websites for private information. That expertise leads her to work with a journalist who’s trying to solve a decades-old mystery surrounding a missing person.
You’ll have to read the book to find out how the mystery gets solved, but Lisbeth Salandar is another story altogether. She’s a complicated figure with a lot of baggage. Her past has so many dark corners, it makes a polygon look straight. In fact, her history is so overwhelming, it has the power to shape both her present and future. If she lets it, the damage done to her by others could poison her perspective and ultimately eviscerate her hope. And it’s that possibility which brings us to the dragon tattoo.
What Does the Dragon Tattoo Mean for Job Seekers?
The conventional view, of course, is that dragons symbolize the danger in our lives. They are the embodiment of evil in many a knight’s legend and child’s fairy tale. Whether they’re breathing fire or swinging their spiked tails, dragons wreak havoc on innocent people.
Lisbeth has certainly had more than her fair share of “dragons” in her life. She suffers through many difficult situations over the years, including those caused by a cruel stepfather, an evil guardian, and even malicious street thugs. So, why does she affix a symbol on her body that could be argued to portray them and what they symbolize to her?
The answer is in its location. Lisbeth’s dragon tattoo is on her back. She put it there to prove she has vanquished the beasts in her life. Their evil is behind her. They no longer have the power to influence the way she sees her present or future.
That’s not the case, unfortunately, for a lot of us who are in transition. The “dragons” are still wreaking havoc in our lives. In fact, they are hurting us in two ways. The loss of a job or a frustrating job search can derail our career and set us back financially. It can also poison our perspective and eviscerate our hope. The first brings hardship, to be sure, but hardships can be overcome. The second, however, causes despair, and despair can be a debilitating affliction.
So, here’s my advice for 2012 (and every year thereafter): Follow Lisbeth’s example. Be very good at what you do and put your dragons behind you. Stamp out their power to shape your present and future.
Yes, that’s easier said than done, but think of it in terms of getting an actual tattoo. It’ll hurt a little in the beginning, but the final result will be permanent…and an unforgettable symbol of your courage and determination.
About the Author
Peter Weddle is the author of over two dozen employment-related books, including WEDDLE’s 2011/12 Guide to Employment Sites on the Internet; The Career Activist Republic; Work Strong, Your Personal Career Fitness System; and Recognizing Richard Rabbit. Get them at Amazon.com and www.Weddles.com today.
Copyright 2012, WEDDLE’s LLC. All Rights Reserved.