Have You Tried Sending Out Your Resume? Xenophon on Job Hunting

Xenophon, Memorabilia 2.9.5

“Really, Euthêrus, it is not at all easy to find work where you won’t face some responsibility. It is hard to work at all without making some mistakes and hard still not to meet silly criticism even when you haven’t screwed up. I’d be surprised if you said that you end up complaint-free from those you work for currently.

Therefore, you should try to avoid complainers and cultivate people of good judgement.  Take on tasks you’re capable of doing and avoid those you’re not. Whatever you do, take care to do your best and do it willingly. I think you’ll find yourself least criticized this way and that you will find solution for your trouble, you will live in great east and safety, and save enough for retirement.

Καὶ μήν, ἔφη, Εὔθηρε, οὐ πάνυ γε ῥᾴδιόν ἐστιν εὑρεῖν ἔργον, ἐφ᾿ ᾧ οὐκ ἄν τις αἰτίαν ἔχοι. χαλεπὸν γὰρ οὕτω τι ποιῆσαι, ὥστε μηδὲν ἁμαρτεῖν, χαλεπὸν δὲ καὶ ἀναμαρτήτως τι ποιήσαντα μὴ ἀγνώμονι κριτῇ περιτυχεῖν· ἐπεὶ καὶ οἷς νῦν ἐργάζεσθαι φὴς θαυμάζω εἰ ῥᾴδιόν ἐστιν ἀνέγκλητον διαγίγνεσθαι. χρὴ οὖν πειρᾶσθαι τούς τε φιλαιτίους φεύγειν καὶ τοὺς εὐγνώμονας διώκειν καὶ τῶν πραγμάτων ὅσα μὲν δύνασαι ποιεῖν ὑπομένειν, ὅσα δὲ μὴ δύνασαι φυλλάττεσθαι, ὅ τι δ᾿ ἂν πράττῃς, τούτου ὡς κάλλιστα καὶ προθυμότατα ἐπιμελεῖσθαι. οὕτω γὰρ ἥκιστ᾿ ἂν μέν σε οἶμαι ἐν αἰτίᾳ εἶναι, μάλιστα δὲ τῇ ἀπορίᾳ βοήθειαν εὑρεῖν, ῥᾷστα δὲ καὶ ἀκινδυνότατα ζῆν καὶ εἰς τὸ γῆρας διαρκέστατα.

image from here: http://www.arch.mcgill.ca/prof/sijpkes/abc-structures-2005/Lectures-2005/lecture-8/iron/Greek-iron.html

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