Job Hunting Tips #4 Accepting Judgment
Applying for work is stressful, no matter the circumstances.
Even if you are already working, and merely looking to see what
else is out there, you still want to be offered the position. If
you realize, half way through an interview, that you would be
miserable working for this company and you wouldn't let your dog
take the job, you still want it to be offered. If the hours are
unsuitable, the job duties demeaning, and the salary a joke, you
still want to be made an offer.
Why is it so important to us to have an offer made which we
already know we will reject?
It is important because we are aware that we are being judged.
We talk about skills and experience and prior accomplishments
but that has already been outlined in a resume. A face-to-face
interview is for the purpose of judging you as a person: Will
you fit in? How do you express yourself? How do you look? Are
you pleasant to have around? Are you likable?
If a job offer is made, we feel validated and worthwhile - they
liked us. We never think "He really didn't like me but my skills
are so great." We want to be liked, we want to be wanted, we
want to be appreciated for what we are.
If no job offer is forthcoming, we take it personally: "I guess
they didn't like me." Regardless of our whether our skills were
a fit, our salary in the ballpark, or our experience applicable,
we feel a personal failure. The negative messages of a lifetime,
stored in our brain, start playing: "I'm just not good enough.
I'm worthless. People don't like me. Why do I always mess up?
I'm such a failure. Why can't I be more like . . . "
We mentally beat ourselves down by listening to those constantly
recycling tapes. Our spirits sink, our energy evaporates, and
our self-esteem plummets. This negativity, and its destructive
effect on our psyche, can be contained by three techniques:
1. Awareness of what our mind is doing and consciously
interrupting its tirade.
2. A refocus of our mental attention to prior successes and
accomplishments, no matter how small, to counter the idea that
we are lifelong screw-ups.
3. Reframing our value as a person from the specific
employee/worker role into the total personality that we are: in
our intimate and social relationships, in our family, in our
Applying for work sets us up to judged but we need to remind
ourselves that only a small discrete portion of who we are is
being examined. As a whole person, we are far more than a worker
and no employer can judge us on our totality.