This is the way of job search – hope and then disappointment, followed by hope, followed by disappointment, followed eventually by landing a job.
Yet every step you take brings you closer to the right job for you. I’ve seen it happen time and again.
When people are in the midst of the search and can’t imagine when it will end, it can be frightening, demoralizing, disheartening. Then there’s the high of getting an interview, making to the next phase, even becoming a finalist. And when you don’t get that job, the disappointment can be crushing.
I learned during a 2 year long search that I simply had to put one foot in front of the other, manage my expectations, be kind to myself, and continue to believe that it was inevitable that I would get a job – I just didn’t know when or where.
In my case and those of many clients, we start managing our own expectations to avoid that continual cycle of hope and disappointment.
There’s an expression: “Take the action and let go of the results.”
To me that meant I would apply for the job, and see what happened. I’d go to the interview, put my best foot forward, send a thank you note, and then see what happened. I had to stop counting on getting an interview or getting a job offer. The emotional highs and lows were too much for me to handle. When I adopted the “do all that I can do and see what happens” attitude, I felt more balanced.
I have no control over what a hiring manager does. A client just learned that an employer has decided not to hire anyone at all for the open position, because his first choice declined the job. (BTW, isn’t that hopeful? Someone turned down a job, presumably because they had other offers! Great economic news.) She is crushed. But the message she got from the hiring manager is that he is forwarding her materials to others in the company who have positions opening up soon. The first job wasn’t the greatest fit for her, so perhaps now she’ll land something more appropriate within the same employer.
Job searches that start off hot – meaning you quickly get interviews – can be the most difficult to manage. I’ve often seen people so excited because they get an interview in the very beginning of their search. They begin to count on getting the job. And then, 9 times out of 10, they don’t get the offer. It is crushing news. What do they do now?
They pick themselves up, cry or complain a bit (venting is an essential part of the job search process!), and then apply for other jobs. Perhaps there’s a lesson to learn about how to answer interview questions. Usually, however, that job really wasn’t the right fit, and they get some clarity about what they really want. And they can take heart that their resume is working as a marketing document.
It’s all in how you view things. When I was looking, I got to a point of curiosity to see which jobs I’d get interviewed for. I had to stop attaching hope to applications. I became neutral, in a way. That doesn’t mean I wasn’t enthusiastic about the job and company. It doesn’t mean I didn’t want the job. It simply meant I didn’t count on anything happening. If it did, great. If not, next!
Pain is the great motivator for humans. We generally avoid pain. Pain in job search is not completely avoidable. Yet we can lessen it. I hope that a change in perspective can help you manage your expectations, and adopt the attitude of taking one step at a time, and seeing what happens.