There are many reasons job seekers give for not getting into a new job quickly enough. “The economy is bad,” is probably the biggest one. Another is, “I’m overqualified.” But then I hear “I’m not qualified enough!” My personal favorite: “I’m working on getting my resume updated.” Read, “I’m procrastinating.”
I’m joking around here, but I’ve been there. I’m guilty of having said these things and more! Job searching is fraught with insecurities, anxieties, and self-defense mechanisms that can prevent you from getting the job you want.
What’s the real thing that’s preventing you from getting hired? In a very candid talk with a client last week, he confided he had really not been trying very hard in his search. When exploring this further, he told me some things that we agreed were true for many job seekers.
I’ve heard these reasons from other clients, and my client confirmed that he’s not the only one among his friends who struggles with this. It got me thinking.
The following isn’t a comprehensive list by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s a place to start a frank discussion. If the economy, your qualifications, or your resume weren’t issues at all, what would you be left with as the reason for not having your ideal job yet?
1. Marital Problems
This is such a delicate subject. But one that often needs to be addressed with job seekers. Ask yourself: Does your spouse or significant other support you emotionally in a way that facilitates your success? Or, are you so bogged down in discord that you don’t have the energy to make this big of a change?
Some clients are expected to do extra chores or activities with the kids while being unemployed, sometimes so much that they don’t have much time left for their search! Some realize that if their spouse becomes more independent with their own salary, they may not want to stay in their current relationship. They’ll have the resources to leave, which is so scary that the job seeker sabotages his or her search.
There are a myriad of problems that can arise between you and your loved one during your job search. Career changes or financial hardships might bring about the need for therapy, or at least honest discussions in order to move a job search forward. Getting help for your marriage might be what you need to land that job.
So many emotions can surface in a job search, but this one can do the most damage. It can cause panic attacks or depression — very real health concerns. It can cause you to say or do things to overcompensate for your fears that end up damaging your reputation.
How does fear affect you in your job search? What is fear anyway? My mom told me this acronym when I was a kid (I don’t know who invented it):
The only way to deal with fear is head on. Make a list of all the things you fear will or will not happen in your search, or in your interviews. What’s the worst case scenario? What would you do if those things happened? What’s the flipside to this? Do you have a back-up plan? Who really has the power in the situation? Most of the time, the fear really is false! Here’s a simplistic example:
Worry: “I’ll forget what I want to talk about in my interview.”
Worst case scenario: “The interviewer will think I’m a loser and I’ll feel like a fool.”
Flipside: “They’ll miss out on a chance to hire a great employee.”
Back-up plan: “I’ll bring notes so I can stay on track.”
Power: “I have the power to prepare, present well, and offer my services to contribute to their company.”
See how that “false evidence” can be turned around?
Are you taking your search seriously? Or, are you just playing around with it?
There are countless reasons why people don’t put in the effort required of a successful job search. Number one and two above are reasons why people dabble, but sometimes people are really enjoying not having to work. Or, they can’t manage the organization that’s needed to be most effective in a search.
Regardless, dabbling is a job search killer. If you don’t take yourself seriously, neither will an employer. Maybe you do need a little time to sort things out before you take this on. When you are ready, be committed. Experts vary on the estimates, but I’ve found that if my clients don’t put in a good 20-30 hours into their search every week, either in online activities, in-person networking, or whatever, it takes a LONG time to make a change.
So, ask yourself, “What’s the deal? Are there deeper reasons why I’m not making progress?” Does your marriage need help? Is the fear of your job change keeping you stuck? Are you taking this seriously?
Do what you must to get back on track. My client is dealing with his issues and has a newfound energy for his search. You can, too!
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