How to Re-Energize Your Job-Hunt, Identify Self-Hindering Patterns, & Get Back on Track
For women going through sometimes challenging times, either at home or work, a familiar scenario can appear. Think about the following, and if you can easily answer “yes” to these questions: Does it seem that everyone and everything in life is against you? That no matter how hard you try nothing goes right, and that even the simplest tasks associated with finding a new job are overwhelming? Or, in a broader sense, that no one understands you, but that somehow you are always right, and all the other experiences out there are wrong?
I refer to this as the “victor vs. victim” syndrome. I can recall that when I was in my early twenties, in my mind I tended to fall more into the victim category when things weren’t going my way; at that time, the world was against me (I thought) and “the blame game” was very popular. But when I did experience being “the victor,” I was flying high and on top of my game. Life seemed to open and welcome me into all its wonder.
Then, as I learned life’s lessons and each decade passed, I became wiser and paid more attention to myself, the situations I was in, and the choices I made in relation to those situations. The more aware I became of my actions and reactions, the more I had in the way of success and victory.
How the Victim Mentality Plays Out in Business/Job-Hunting Situations
A friend recently shared a story about a women she knew named Sarah (name has been changed). Sarah is a recent graduate looking for a job in NYC, since this is where her industry is located. The industry in which Sarah wants to work is a very cutthroat — kind of a “who you know,” not “what you know” profession. It is also saturated with very little turnover in her specific area of expertise. So it seems the odds are already stacked against her.
Sarah, when discussing this, talks a good story, but underneath the surface, the dialogue is very victim-oriented. It is much easier to stay in this way of thinking than to take decisive action and make a plan to become the victor. The dialogue sounds like this (shortened sequence):
- Sarah: I can’t find a job; no one is hiring someone like me. The only people getting jobs are those who are highly connected, trust-fund babies or skinny, attractive girls — with no talent.
- Friend: Are you utilizing all your resources and networking to build relationships?
- Sarah: Why bother? It won’t help anyway. Besides, I’ve done it all already.
There is some truth in Sarah’s perception of the job situation; however, she has in effect walled herself off from any suggestions for fear of failure and rejection. The stories she keeps replaying in her head are self-fabricated, based on not wanting to go beyond what she believes to be accurate. Her belief is, “How can anyone else understand what I’m going through and know about my ‘industry,’ when they have not worked in it directly?” She has closed herself off from listening to others and utilizing advice that may help her ultimately find a meaningful job.
7 Tips to Untangle Yourself, Get Your Spirit Back, & Emerge a Victor
In Sarah’s case or other similar situations, taking the action steps to become a victor can be applied and practiced. These are skills that can be built and strengthened, just like building muscles or learning new activities. Starting anything new can be uncomfortable (more for some than others) but with consistent practice and application, the road will lead to success.
The first step is acknowledging and being aware of patterns that are happening and keep repeating themselves. This is the hardest part: being truly honest and looking deep inside. Take note of the individuals you interact with, their response to you asking for honest feedback about your behavior, and listen for applicable action steps. Identify the root problem, even if it’s you.
Look at Past Actions
Reflect on the actions taken that have not resulted in interviews, coffee meetings, or phone conversations. Stop doing these. Instead, what suggestions have other people given as resources to be tapped into both online and in the real world? How can you implement them?
Identify What you Want
This is key. When you know what you want, it’s easier to communicate with people with whom you come in contact. You are able to articulate how they may be able to help you or refer you to someone who may be in need of your skills. Remember always to thank people who help or refer you to a possible lead.
Make a List
With today’s technology and smartphones, it’s really easy to keep lists with you at all times. The most important thing with lists is actually making them, and then acting on them. Look for ways that motivate you to feel a sense of accomplishment. Motivation is very personal and is different for everyone. Some like gold stars, others crossing items off, or having little celebrations along the way. Find what works and keeps you on track to success. (If lists were checked as often as social media, a lot could be accomplished!)
Seek Out and Listen to Individuals who Have Succeeded Before You
Reinventing the wheel isn’t always necessary. Others “who have been there” are willing to help and give advice, make connections and answer questions. Yes, there will always be individuals who say “no.” Don’t take it personally; they have their own beliefs and reasons and it has nothing to do with you. Play a game and see how many “no’s” you can actually get when asking for help. It makes “no” easier to handle, and may even reveal hidden gems. Again, build your networking muscle.
Keep a log of what’s working, what advice you’re getting, what actions you’re taking, and what’s not working. Update your lists. This will help reveal any patterns of self-sabotage or directions and actions that can be changed.
Tenacity is required. In life, there may be a situation when two people interact with the same individual, and the person who follows up ends up winning. People are busier than ever, and appreciate it when (polite, non-desperate) follow-up is made! Use your calendar and identify when to follow up with someone. Unless specified, do not make contact more than once a week. If you have the person’s phone number and email, begin with an email, then next week with a phone call, and the third week with an email. When following up, make it short and provide a bit of background to refresh the conversation. If after three follow-ups nothing transpires, move on.
Falling into “victim mode” is easy to do and tough to get out of. Being the victor is much more satisfying and fulfilling; however, it does take consistent action to make it work. Both are possible. Which do you choose?17