Okay, this is going to sound strange. But, bear with me. After having coached hundreds of folks on their job searches, I’ve noticed a pattern. And, it’s not one I would have expected.
What’s one of our number one fears when it comes to job searching? It’s actually that we will get the job! That’s right. We are afraid of being offered a job.
Why in the world would that be the case? It’s a great question, and the answer to this important question could unlock a key to the job search.
First, let’s rewind a bit. Think back on how you got your current job. Then, think about how you got the job before and the job before that. If you’re like most people, you got most of your jobs through a networking contact. Someone happened to know who you were. They thought you might be a great fit, and they offered you a job. It was as simple as that.
This makes our deliberate job search so much more difficult. We have much less experience selecting what we want to do, and then going after it. We’ve typically just gone with the flow. If a friend thought we might be good at sales, we tried sales. If an uncle had an operations role available at his company, we gave it a shot.
Proactively and deliberately searching for a job takes on so much more responsibility for our own futures. So, why would we fear a job offer when we are clearly looking for a new job?
Well, if you’re like most people, you have taken most every (if not every) job you have ever been offered. When your friend or your uncle told you about a great opportunity, you went for it.
The thing is, when you aren’t quite sure what you want to be, you might be afraid of getting a job offer because it could mean taking a job that’s not right for you. We are afraid that we will be offered something because we assume that being offered a job means taking a job.
So, we sit and stir. We think and think about what we might want to be – one day. But, we are so paralyzed with fear about making the wrong choice that we make no choice.
But, what if – what if we decided that it would be okay to say no to a job offer that didn’t feel like the right fit? What if we decided that it wouldn’t be wasting the company’s time to go through the interview process, even if we didn’t take the job?
My guess is that we would be less paralyzed by fear. We would look at job searching more like a fact finding mission rather than a scary commitment. And, why not? The company would happily interview a candidate five times before walking away if there wasn’t a good fit. Why wouldn’t we as candidates be willing to do the same thing for ourselves?
Angela Copeland is a Career Coach and Founder of Copeland Coaching and can be reached at CopelandCoaching.com or on Twitter at @CopelandCoach.