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DO NOT Lose Faith In Yourself

October 24th, 2008

Yesterday I had a wonderful radio show with Susan Whitcomb.  We talked about a lot of cool stuff, and the Recruiting Animal jumped on and added some great info (digging to “why I didn’t get a job if I’m such a smart guy, and so driven??”).  You can download it, or just listen to it online, at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/jibberjobber.

Susan’s ending thoughts revolve around what she calls “Providence,” saying that in the end we just can’t lose faith that things will work out.  I truly believe this… can you think of anyone who is completely left out to dry, with no way to survive?  While some people may feel like it, things somehow work out (even if we don’t end up with the boat, and ATV, and other toys that we think we should have).

I’m not going to talk about Providence… you can listen to Susan’s interview here.

I want to talk about what happens to the professional as the job search goes longer and longer.  I went through this myself, and experienced some of the lowest days of my life.  And almost daily I hear from professionals who are in serious pain.

At the beginning of my job search, I knew I was pretty hot.  My credentials were strong, including a Computer Information Systems degree as well as an MBA.  I speak Spanish fluently, my past job titles include general manager, VP, CIO, IT Manager, etc.  I was involved in some very cool projects, and saw significant growth/improvement, etc.

I did not have a problem with feeling good about myself.

Until a few weeks went by… and I was not getting any return phone calls or emails.  I was sitting in my chair, with my laptop, wondering why people weren’t responding to me.  Couldn’t they see how incredible I was, and what I’d add to their company, and why they should hire me????

I started to doubt myself. Was I really that good?  Or maybe I was just in the right place at the right time, and lucked out in the previous part of my career.

I lost self-confidence. If companies weren’t interested in me, even for lesser jobs than I had in the past, maybe I wasn’t worth anything?  Did I go to the wrong school?  Was my employer badmouthing me when called as a reference?  Where my skills just not useful anymore?  Was I the commodity I never should have been?

I compared myself to others, in a really bad way. People who I thought I was better than, but guess what?  They had jobs and paychecks.  If *they* could get work, and I couldn’t, what was wrong with me??

It was easy to lose perspective.  You can read over 200 comments on my Depression Clouds Everything post, which talks about depression in the job search.  You can read why having this happen to you will only prolong your job search in my post about HR and recruiters being able to smell blood a mile away (like a wolf can smell blood of a wounded victim… are you a wounded victim?  HR doesn’t want to bring a wounded victim onboard).

Some things are in your control.  Like what time you get out of bed, what time you shower and get dressed, and how you take care of yourself.  You control what activities you do in your so-called job search.  Is it to sit on the computer and apply online all day, or will you do the right (and hard) stuff like pick up the phone or go out and meet people face-to-face?

One of my mom’s favorite sayings is “this too shall pass.”  Meaning, no matter what we are going through, we’ll get through it.

I KNOW you will get through your job search.  Does it suck?  It’s beyond sucking.  It’s a demoralizing state.  But it’s also a very common state, and many people are in it right now, and many more will be in it soon.  And you’ll be in it again.

But please, please don’t lose faith in yourself.  This job search will pass, and soon enough you’ll find yourself employed, pulling in a paycheck, and okay.  You may not have hit the bottom yet, but you will find that job you are looking for.

9 Comments »

9 responses to “DO NOT Lose Faith In Yourself”

  1. I want to read this post, but don’t have time yet.

    Just thought I would share. :)

  2. Nancy B says:

    Today in the Seattle Times they ran a great article interviewing the people behind http://www.mindfulness.com. I found it a really inspiring reminder that the warmpth of the blanket and the feeling of the soup on your tongue can be really wonderful feelings to focus on when the external world is fast paced or negative or both.

    You can find the article here – http://tinyurl.com/6q5vtk

    It makes for a happy Friday read :-)!

  3. abby says:

    thank you! i totally needed this reminder. one way i’ve found to keep from losing faith is to offer my otherwise too expensive skills to non-profits and community service, now that i have the time. they tell me how much they appreciate my work, and it keeps my self-confidence from drying up.

  4. Mike Thomas says:

    Great post, Jason! It really hits home.

    Back in the day, when I couldn’t get arrested – much less hired – I fell into a bit of depression. It was cold and dark and it felt quite lonely.

    During this woeful period in my life, I visited an aunt who didn’t have much longer. She asked how I was doing and, despite not wanting to unload my troubles on anyone, I did. “Not well, Aunt Nellie. I can’t find a job and it’s been six months. I’ve got a degree and a lot of skills, but nobody will hire me.”

    She reached a tired, wrinkled, boney hand out and grasped mine. “That’s alright, sweetie,” she said. “Things have a way of working out.”

    That was the last time I saw her before she passed. But I’ve clutched onto those words – “Things have a way of working out” – like Linus to his security blanket. It’s been an incredible source of reassurance, comfort and faith for me.

    And things HAVE worked out. They usually do, as I’ve learned.

  5. Great insights Jason. I have to add one thing though that many job seekers ignore, and that is, you have to realize if you are searching and searching and not getting a job, you might be doing something wrong.

    I can’t tell you how many candidates are oblivious to what they can do better. It’s not always HR’s fault or recruiters not getting back to you. You could think you’re great at interviews when you are not. You could think you have alot of great titles and experiences, but if your resume isn’t strong it won’t matter.

    Job seekers need to step back after a certain amount of time and reassess. What’s not working? Who can I ask for help? What changes can I make that might change my job search for the better?

    If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get, what you’ve always got…meaning, if you do the same things for 9 months, even if you work your butt off, if you aren’t doing the right things, you won’t see results.

    So yes, have confidence and believe in yourself, but be willing to change, to ask for help and admit when your strategy isn’t working.

    Susan D. Strayer
    Author, The Right Job, Right Now
    Corporate Recruiter
    http://www.susanstrayer.com

  6. Fred says:

    Jason,

    Many of us have been there. I was two years ago, and thought the world was crashing down and life wasn’t fair. I remember one interview I had during that time where I must have “smelled like blood” and it didn’t go well.

    It is a very challenging time right now for many people but there are great jobs out there. Networking is the key I am sure of that.

    Great post!

  7. […] management, job search tools, and more. The latest JibberJobber entry (I love that name!) is about not losing faith in yourself. (Twitter: […]

  8. Pamela says:

    Very timely post – I’m in my 10th month of unemployment. I was feeling quite despondent the past few weeks. Then last week, I put on a suit and went door-to-door, and, sure enough, spent two hours with a recruiter, face-to-face, interviewing for a potential lead. Now I feel 100% better! Still unemployed but it felt good to get re-validation that I am skilled and talented. Thanks.

  9. Mark says:

    Hey guys, I love that you have joined BlogTalkRadio. Brilliant decision.