I often receive emails from very distressed job seekers that are at their ‘wits end’, because they are not making progress with their job search.
Now if you are a regular reader, I’ve never hidden the fact that job hunting can ‘suck like a vacuum cleaner’. Rejection is usually a fact of life and while a professional resume can significantly improve the odds of success, you can still potentially face rejection.
Now, how you cope with this rejection will depend on how you ‘frame the rejection’. Over the years I’ve come to realise that some people are more resilient than others and in today’s article, I’m sharing some of those characteristics that those with greater resilience possess.
They don’t define themselves by their job and income
As a nation we tend to define ourselves by our job and our income (or lack of income). The neighbour is a lawyer, doctor, a truck driver, a policeperson, receptionist, childcare worker or teacher. Even though I have not worked as a solicitor for over 10 years, my neighbour still introduces me as Carolyn, the lawyer, as this is how my neighbour defines me. There is almost an unhealthy focus on how much status and identity embodied in the job that we do, the job that other people do and the income we earn.
By not defining yourself as just your job, or just your income, the job search process will be a less charged and emotional experience for you, as it is ‘just a job and one opportunity amongst many’.
They avoid self-defeating thinking and distorted reality
If you get rejected, it is important to become aware that your thinking might become irrational and distorted as a result of your emotions. Once you become aware of this, you can avoid negative behaviour, such as negative predictions, over-generalisations, the magnification of negative experiences, focussing on just the negative and reaching incorrect conclusions about a situation.
For example: “This is the only opportunity open to me and if I stuff this up I’m finished with”
Is this statement true? No – as there will be different opportunities and paths open to you.
Remember, not securing an ideal job fast is stressful. But in Australia, you won’t starve, there will be other opportunities around the corner, and the more pragmatic you are about the job search process, the more likely it is that you will perform better when finding a new job.
They reduce expectations
Having expectations invariably leads to disappointment. If you expect to quickly secure a new job and you don’t, then it will impact on your self-esteem. If you expected to breeze through a job interview and you bombed out, then your self-esteem will take a battering.
In Australia, we live in a society in which having expectations is almost obligatory and the only way people can achieve their goals. However by having expectations, we set ourselves up for the inevitable fall and disappointment.
In order to manage any job search process with our self-esteem intact we need to ensure we don’t attach any expectation to any of it. The reality is that our expectations during the job search process emanate from our fear, fear of not getting what we want and fear of losing what we have.
That is not to say, you should not have goals and aspirations What I’m saying is that if you manage your expectations, then you will significantly reduce disappointment and this in turn will help keep your self-esteem intact.