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The Job Seeker With the Dragon Tattoo

By now, you've probably heard of Stieg Larsson's best sellier, 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 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 Web-sites 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, Lisabeth Salander 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 wreck havoc on innocent people.

And, Lisbeth has certainly had more than her fair share of such figures in her life. She suffers through a cruel stepfather, an evil guardian and even malicious street thugs. So, why is she portraying their symbol on her body?

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 her future.

That's not the case, unfortunately, for a lot of us who are in transition. The dragons are still wrecking 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 your future.

Yes, that's easier said than done, but think of it as getting a spiritual 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.

Thanks for reading,
Peter

Visit my blog at Weddles.com/WorkStrong.

January 2012
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