The Importance of Being an Optimist

Algernon: “At the moment I am eating muffins because I am unhappy. Besides, I am particularly fond of muffins.”

Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest

I got quite excited by a job advert recently; the description, location and salary all matched my search criteria. Even the ‘required’ and ‘desirable’ qualities looked easy-peasy. No sweat.

“So, do you think you’ll get it?” my boyfriend asks, as we make our way home on Friday night.

“No.” I answer, without hesitation.


Oops. That’s not what I’m supposed to think. I’m meant to start each job application truly believing that “This is the one. I’m going to get this job.”

Optimism, after all, makes you healthier and happier. The power of positive thinking is well researched; optimists are ‘higher achievers’. That’s why I’ve decided to set myself an Optimism Challenge. For the month of June 2013, it’s my own home-made optimism month.

Unemployed people are, understandably, depression-prone. Optimism is known to combat depression. So it’s clear that having an optimistic disposition would be a bonus for a job-seeker. Here goes.


Pessimist says that I’ll be unemployed for months on end. I’ll take ages to bounce back and I may never recover.

June-Me says that losing my job is for the best. Not just for now, but for the rest of my life. That’s because I’ll be leaving a job I hate, which forces me into a whole life rethink. I might even have to take a few minutes to think about what I’d like to do, rather than what I should do. See? Whole life overhaul.


Pessimist says that because I have failed an accountancy exam I have therefore failed at life as a whole. June-Me recognises that while, admittedly, I’m not the best accountant on the planet, I’m not completely useless.

Pessimist also sees enjoyable things as one-off events. Having a nice meal or going to the theatre are nice for a couple of hours, but then you go back to your crappy life. June-Me recognises that individual moments of pleasure brighten life as a whole.


Pessimist says that it is all my fault for getting into this situation in the first place and that I must have managed my life spectacularly badly to end up like this.

Pessimist tells me that I just ‘got lucky’ getting this job. Anyway, it was mostly down to the help I received from friends and family that I got it.

June-Me reckons that a whole load of circumstances conspired to get me to this point. June-Me doesn’t think that it’s my fault at all. June-Me says that if I could get a job at a Big 4 firm, in the midst of a recession, then I can bloody well get a job I’d actually be good at, three years on. June-Me is a lot more confident.

Today, June-Me got the courage to call someone up to ask about a job. She had a real conversation with a real person about a real role. The other person sounded interested and asked June-Me to send in her CV.

Pessimist was astonished.

June-Me was chuffed.


“I’ve now realised the vital Importance of Being (an) Optimist…”


Lady Bracknell:    “My nephew, you seem to be displaying signs of triviality.”
Jack:    “On the contrary, Aunt Augusta, I’ve now realised for the first time in my life the vital Importance of Being Earnest.”

Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest

Me 2


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