Job Search Freakout — Five Ways to Avoid Letting Fear Rule Your Job Hunt

Posted: 09/03/2010 in Job Search
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Job search can be scary. Especially when your last unemployment extension is running out, you just used your last bit of savings to buy underwear because you don’t want to be picking your jockey shorts up off the floor when the elastic breaks in the middle of a job interview, and your Plan B has been blown to hell.

But no matter what your situation, it doesn’t work to operate from a place of fear, and let it make your decisions. The only time fear-based decision-making is a good idea is if a psycho starts shooting in the food court in the mall, and you make the decision to dive under the table instead of continuing to sit there and eat your mushroom omelette. Otherwise, letting fear rule your job search isn’t going to help you. Here are a few ways to avoid it:

  • Focus on the goals you’re shooting for. When you focus on your anxieties, they’re going to loom bigger and bigger until they crush you like a Brazil nut. Instead, dwell on what you want, where you want your career to go, and what you want to accomplish along the way, and allow yourself to believe it’s all attainable — because it is. Well, unless you want to be a Victoria’s Secret model and you look like Danny DeVito.
  • Brainstorm alternatives. If Plan B is dead in the water, then get creative. Without allowing yourself to analyze or censor your ideas, jot down a slew of options. I bet you’ll surprise yourself.
  • Be aware of when you’re scaring yourself. You know, all that negative stuff you say in your head that keeps the fear alive, like “No one is hiring now,” “If I don’t take just any crappy job, I’ll be unemployed forever,” “If I try to get what I want, I’ll end up homeless,” etc. Instead of collecting shopping carts and picking out your street corner …
  • … Replace your fear-based thoughts with power-based ones. Like, “I am in charge of my career,” “I have a lot of skills and experience that the right employer (for me) will value,” “I have the tools to succeed, and I will.” Come on, you can think of some more.
  • Practice visualization. Visualization is very powerful. As often as possible without crashing your car, picture yourself moving through your day in the job you want, doing the stuff you want to spend your time doing, interacting with terrific people, etc. Fill in as many details as you can — what specific projects you’d be working on, what your office or cube would look like, what you’d be wearing, the smell of fish on your co-worker’s breath after lunch — wait, maybe that’s a little too much detail. But you know what I’m saying. Allow yourself to feel the excitement and satisfaction you’ll feel when you’re in that job, and you’ll get there.

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