How to Stop Feeling Bad During a Job Search

How to stop feeling bad during a job search

Job hunting is tough (that's why Dave created this for you). If nothing else, it's emotionally draining, because you're putting yourself out there, putting your very essence as a person on the block, waiting to be judged worthy.

When you're found "not worthy," you take it personally, even when people say "don't take it personally." (And it's always the gainfully employed people who say that, long forgetting their own job search terrors just two years ago.)

Add to that a tough job market, or a lack of matches for your skills in your city, and your ego can take a couple of kidney-bruising body blows.

"But I'm the one!" you want to shout at a hiring manager. "I'm the one you've been waiting for!" And you're sure that you could prove your worth, if they would just give you one chance!

Stop and take a couple breaths.

No, deep ones. Just relax for a minute.

If you start getting desperate, employers will sense that. It permeates your being and hangs over your interview. They can even smell it over the phone. So chill out.

Having been on job hunts for several months myself, and having talked to and mentored other job seekers, I can tell you a few things that may make you feel better. This won't help you find a job (<-- the advice at that link can), but I want to help you find a little peace of mind and feel better about yourself while you're searching.

1. Calling doesn't make them change their mind.

Have you ever bought a new car? You researched it, visited a dealer, test drove it, and went away to think about it. And the salesperson called you three days later to "answer any questions you might have." They may have even called you a second time.

Did that make you hurry your decision? Did that make you decide to buy from that person? Or did it aggravate you?

If you're like me, it's the latter. When I'm trying to decide on a major purchase, the last person I want to hear from is the person selling it to me. Calling me doesn't persuade me. It doesn't change my mind or speed up my timeline. If and when I buy, it's because I found the product I like. I don't buy based on the person who called me the most often.

That's what it's like for hiring managers. They're not on the fence, trying to decide between you and another candidate, waiting to see which of you calls first. Just leave them alone. And if doing so means you don't get the job, then maybe you didn't stand out enough in the first place.

So don't drive yourself crazy wondering if you should call them, when you should call them, or how many times. Just don't call them. They'll call you when they're ready to call you.

2. Don't pester them.

Yes, I know they said they would tell you on Friday. Yes, I know it's the following Thursday. No, they didn't forget. Yes, they're complete and utter bastards. No, you can't call them. Or email them. Or stand outside their office window holding a boombox over your head.

If they told you to call them if you didn't hear anything by Friday, wait for a couple days, and then call them. But I'll bet Dave Delaney's next paycheck they're no closer to a decision. (See #3.)

Just tell yourself you didn't get the job and continue on with your job search. Until you hear from your references that they got a call from a potential employer, always assume that you didn't get picked, and move on. It saves you from stressing as the time after their deadline grows longer.

3. When they give you a timeline, double it.

I get it. While you're waiting, you're probably thinking that these people have no concept of your timeline and urgency. You may even wonder if they just sit in the conference room and laugh at the pile of résumés on their table. Not just chuckling at all the suckers who believed their lies, but actually, maliciously laughing like Dr. Evil and his evil organization.

They're probably busy, and "their eyes are bigger than their stomach." Meaning, they think they can knock off 10 items on their to do list, but only have time for seven. And guess whose résumé is in the other three.

I have never had a job offer come when they said it would come. If it came at all, it came 2 – 4 weeks after they said it would. The same is true for new clients. Until I have a signed contract in my hand, they're not a client no matter how much they said they love me.

So, don't ever believe them when they say they'll have a decision in two weeks, because they won't. It will be more like four weeks. So, go on with your life, keep searching, and if they call in two weeks, you can be pleasantly surprised.

4. If they don't hire you, it's because they're mouth-breathing, know-nothing squid farts.

Okay, this isn't real advice, but I want you to feel better about yourself, because I'm nice like that.

If you post on Facebook that you didn't get a job you were looking for, your friends will tell you all sorts of reasons about why you didn't. It was part of God's plan, or the universe's. Something better is coming. Hang in there, we're sending you prayers and positive energy.

That's all well and good, but if you didn't get the job you thought you were perfect for, there was clearly something wrong with your near-employer because you're awesome! You're a fabulous person, and people want to be you and be like you. If they said "no," it's because they're intimidated by your greatness. They worried they would burst into flames if they stood too close to you.

So although it hurts right now, it's no reflection on you. Feel bad for the little squid farts, because their mouths are dry from all that breathing, and they don't know anything! This means your next employer is still out there. And they're going to appreciate how wonderful you are, while it slowly dawns on the squid farts that their lives are meaningless and empty, and they'll never know why.

Or, better yet, they'll know exactly why, and they'll gnash their teeth, rend their garments, and wail at their own short-sightedness, wishing they had made an offer when they had the chance. You're better off without them anyway.

If you're looking for a job, believe me, I know the pain and frustration of rejection after rejection. After rejection. And sometimes — after rejection! —  there's no amount of logic and rational thinking that dulls the pain. So go ahead and be angry. Be disappointed. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And then start again tomorrow. Because you're still awesome, and something good is coming your way. 

Still need help? Let Dave walk you through each step to finding a job you love.


Erik Deckers is the president and owner of Pro Blog Service because he got tired of being told no by other employers. He is also the co-author of No Bullshit Social Media and Branding Yourself, which should see its third edition released in October.

Photo from Flickr by Helga Weber