Many Attribute Unhappy Childhood to Current Success

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An unhappy childhood is the ideal preparation for the brutal new normal of the job market.

For many famous and just as many ordinary people, the unhappy childhood was the No. 1 factor in their success. Examples include Jon Hamm, who plays Don Draper in 'Mad Men.' The show's creator, Matthew Weiner, saw Hamm's wounds and knew he had found the actor who would go the distance in the part.

Other examples of famous people with lousy early years range from President Ronald Reagan to rock star Eminem.

Often employers for more ordinary jobs will tend to hire the wounded. That's because those who survived the worst of times have the drive, imagination, and persistence to perform regular jobs with a fierce sense of mission.

The trick, though, is to present yourself as "emotionally housebroken." Demonstrate through how you dress, your facial expressions, and body language that you can hold it together to fit into the organizational culture. That doesn't mean you have to be totally well-rounded and exuding joy as if you stepped down from the mountains of 'The Sound of Music.' What it does mean is a social sensitivity to what's considered standard operating behavior in the workplace.

During the interview, break yourself open enough for employers to glimpse the survivor in you. Yes, they like that. For exactly that reason, over the decades employers have hired former veterans who had seen combat.

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