According to survival psychologist Dr. John Leach, the will to survive (in other words, what you think) is crucial to making your way out of a perilous situation. Not accepting defeat in a hazardous circumstance changes your psychology, which changes your actions and, therefore, your outcomes.
But getting up every day and going to work at a job that depletes you can generate all kinds of defeatist thinking. This can lead you to act out of desperation and take self-sabotaging decisions, like applying for jobs you don’t even want just to get out of the one you have now.
The best job search is one you approach from a place of power, with positive thoughts and energy guiding your way. Only then will you be able to think clearly and make the right choices for yourself.
Replace the negative (and false) beliefs below with self-empowering language and see how your perspective about your current job changes. Once that happens, your mind’s focus will shift from hating the job you have now, to formulating all kinds of actionable ideas about what to do to actually get out of it.
“This job is wrong for me.”
Are you sure? At one point in time, you were interested enough in this job to apply for it. You clearly did well in the interviews because you came out on top.
What changed? Not the job, probably. You changed. You realized this isn’t the position for you after all, or you finally understood you’ve been in the wrong industry all this time.
Focusing on this specific job and the reasons it isn’t right for you is distracting you from figuring out what you really want and what you need to do to fix this problem.
Change this thought for: “At one point, this job was what I needed, but it isn’t anymore. I recognize this isn’t where I want to be now, and I choose to move on.”
“Even if I changed jobs, I’d get sick of my new job eventually.”
That’s possible. Unless you make a commitment to stop applying for and accepting jobs to which you know deep down you’re not suited. Until you make that shift, you’ll keep finding yourself in the same situation, wondering how you got it wrong again.
Instead of dreaming up disaster scenarios where your future job lets you down eventually, this time ask yourself exactly what it is you’re looking for before you even begin job-hunting. Set specific parameters and only complete job applications that make you feel hopeful and energetic.
If there’s anything about a position that leaves you feeling hesitant, discard it. That includes during and after the interview, too. There’s nothing wrong with changing your mind halfway through.
Change this thought for: “I commit to a targeted job search for a position that feels absolutely right. I know it may take time, but I choose to do it anyway.”
“I don’t have the right experience or qualifications”
That’s a fair concern. But if you’re reading this article, it’s because you haven’t given up on the idea of a job switch yet. So, what have you done to get the experience or qualifications you need?
Have you, for example, signed up to do volunteer work that could be used as experience? Maybe you do have relevant experience but you just haven’t reframed it for your job search, in which case this article on tailoring your résumé could really help.
If you’re short a qualification, is it viable for you to gain some new training or take a class in your free time? If not, perhaps there’s a way to bridge your current experience and qualifications with the type of work you’d like to do, even if you have to set aside having a specific job title for now.
Have you explored all these avenues, exhausted every possibility? If not, the above thought is a lie you’re telling yourself.
Change this thought for: “I take responsibility for gaining the experience and qualifications I need to get the job I want. I understand that the results I want require a commensurate amount of work and effort, which I’m willing to undertake.”
“Changing jobs is too much work”
All change is difficult to a degree. But staying in a job that drains and exhausts you takes a hell of a lot more effort than the work involved in transitioning to a job you at least want to do, even if it turns out to be demanding.
Will you lose some sleep? Maybe. Will you have to stay in on Saturday nights to come up with yet another version of your résumé? It’s possible. Will you get several rejections letters before you get an interview offer? Most likely. But these are the sacrifices you must make to get the change you want.
Change this thought for: “Switching jobs takes a lot of effort, but staying in my current job could cost me much more. I choose the path that will bring me the change I want.”
“No one else will hire me”
If this is the kind of thinking you’re bringing with you into that interview room, no wonder you’re not getting results.
When you approach your job search from a place of desperation, you become your own worst enemy. Instead of focusing on all the reasons an employer would be lucky to have you, you deplete yourself by thinking about how you don’t measure up as a candidate.
And if that’s what you think about your suitability as a candidate, how can you possibly expect someone else to want to hire you?
Change this thought for: “I’m a strong candidate, with important and relevant experience. Nobody’s doing me any favors. I will talk myself up on my résumé and in all my interviews as if to advocate on behalf of my very best friend.”
“I can’t do it”
I discuss this thought last not because it’s the least obstructive, but because it’s the most. If you tell yourself you can’t do something, or that something isn’t possible for you, you create a mental filter that keeps out all the great ideas and solutions you’d otherwise come up with to achieve your goals.
There’s a famous quote attributed to Henry Ford that says, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.” Certain people will read a quote like that, roll their eyes, then list five reasons why they know they can’t do something. Then when they don’t have what they want, having never even tried to get it, they grumble about it, too.
Don’t be those people. You can’t see into the future – therefore, you cannot know that something won’t work out. Not pursuing the job you want because you believe you can’t get it is much more of a problem than not having the right degree or experience, or any of the other perceived problems you could take steps to fix.
If you change your mind, you change your actions. If you change your actions, you change your outcomes. It’s just that simple.
Change this thought for: “Yes, I can. All I have to do is find the way.”
If this article helped you, you might like the ones below, including two on how to create an effective résumé even when you’re struggling with a skills gap or limited experience:
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Betenwrite.com offers original content focused on personal and professional change, including a résumé design library featuring free and easy-to-edit templates. The mission of the site is to inspire people to let go of the negative stories that are holding them back, and instead start taking real-world steps toward aligning their professional lives with their personal selves.