10 Ways To Make Your Job Search Miserable

For Babbitt, who never hurt anyone in his life.

Long ago, I remember hearing someone say that in life, suffering is mandatory but misery is optional. I agree but sadly, many of us (this writer included) live with more anxiety and frustration than required. We have grand expectations and when they are not met, we go purple with righteous indignation. This is not good.

For those of us seeking new employment, we must remember that every step in the process is not life or death and we need to seek out a way to remain calm in the storm. We have to be at our best every single day demonstrating sound judgment, sensitivity and tact. Not easy advice to take but clearly worth our consideration. For those of us who have yet to understand that you can’t win them all and that misery in the job search is not a prerequisite to success, I’ve put together a Top 10 list of behaviors and attitudes that will assure ongoing misery. Please consider the following:

  1. Expect Responses From Online Applications.

    This is seldom going to happen other than through automated emails. There are far too may applicants and too few resources there to offer even the most basic signs of humanity. Far better to check LinkedIn for connections who can bring your candidacy to life internally. (In reality, you want to do that before you apply.)

  2. Hammer Your Network.

    Be sure to put a ton of pressure on your network. Hammer friends for informational interviews, introductions and heavens knows what else because your cronies have nothing else to do but tend to your needs. Special kudos if you hit the CPA network in the tax season and everyone else when they are on summer holiday. Really now, this will shrink your network 90% faster then it took you to build it.

  3. Be Indignant When Calls/Emails Are Not Returned.

    An excellent use of your time. Just sit in a comfortable chair and quietly stew about folks who are non-responsive. True story: I once did this only to find out that the person I was stewing over had died the previous summer. Far better to reach out one more time using your friendly and upbeat style and let it go at that. Really, do not abuse your friends.

  4. Expect Fast Decisions After Interviews.

    This is not going to happen. Hiring is deathly slow in almost all cases for endless reasons. Sitting at home fuming will do little for you, your blood pressure or your personal relationships. Check in ten days after the interview to touch base and make the email short and pleasant. Trying to speed up the process is a fool’s errand, so save your energy for something that is more productive.

  5. Don’t Take Phone Screens Seriously.

    There’s nothing to worry about here. The phone screen is no big deal. Just a bit of friendly conversation and witty banter to highlight your amazing style and showcase wonderful stories of your career. Honestly now, the phone screen is critical. Let me say that again. Critical! Please see The Art and Science of Acing the Phone Screen for more information.

  6. Rage Against Your Last Employer.

    This is a personal favorite of mine. Be sure to raise your voice and shout to the heavens of the unfairness of it all with extra credit going to those who allude to the fact that they thought of suing as well. In reality, this behavior is a bad thing and will not get you shortlisted for future interviews. Speak very little about your last organization unless it pertains to accomplishments, and furthermore, anything said should be positive and professional.

  7. Do Not Prepare For The Interview.

    There is clearly a need for most people to prepare for an interview but certainly not for a real pro like you. Just jump on the website and spend 30 or 40 seconds here and there. Actually, I’m lying. A huge contributor to the success of the interview lies in preparation. Take the time to know not just the company but the players, the industry and the folks with whom you will interview. Review it all in detail once again the night before the interview.

  8. Price Yourself Out Of The Market.

    Yes indeed, this is a good philosophy for those who wish to never go back to work again. Just use numbers from 2006 or so and tell them that you know that your compensation requirements are really high but you are worth it. OK, I am lying again. Bottom line is that the only numbers that apply to compensation reality are the numbers that apply to today’s compensation environment and today’s economy. Endlessly escalating compensation is long gone, so be realistic.

  9. Press for the Leadership Title.

    They want to make you a Director? An amazing person like you? Out of the question. You’ve been a VP for the last dozen years and no one is going to take that away form you. Sadly, that is the wrong approach. Forget the title and demonstrate, reasonably, the desire to roll up your sleeves and your capacity to understand today’s reality. Take the Director role and be glad you are working.

  10. Do Everything Online.

    Be sure to live your life online. Fill out those applications and peruse LinkedIn all day long. Never mix with real people or try to form new relationships with real live people. Want a better idea? Get out there and network. Meet people and be interested in them and smile a lot because the human touch is still a very strong way to make things happen.

Job-hunting, for whatever reason, is both art and science. Some days you eat the dog and some days the dog eats you, but bottom line is that being happy or unhappy is a decision we make for ourselves. The choice to live a sane and satisfied life is truly within our grasp. What choice will you make?

(About the Author: A consultant, writer and public speaker, Howard Adamsky, works with organizations to support their efforts to build great companies and coaches others on how to do the same. He has over 20 years’ experience in identifying, developing, and implementing effective solutions for organizations struggling to recruit and retain top talent. An internationally published author, he has written Hiring and Retaining Top IT Professionals/The Guide for Savvy Hiring Managers and Job Hunters Alike (Osborne McGraw-Hill) and Employment Rage (Norlights Press.) He is a regular contributor to )

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