So you’ve admitted it. You’re in the middle of a full-fledged mid-job search crisis.
Now that you know, how do you move through it and move on?
1. Avoid emotional investment in the positions you are applying for.
Emotional over-investment is the number one cause of a mid-job search crisis. Try to catch it by the warning signs. Are you fantasizing about the details of life at the prospective company? Planning where you’ll spend your three weeks of vacation or how you will lay out your office? Do you find yourself thinking about one position in particular frequently during the day, even when you are not working on your job search? Do you constantly check your e-mail to see if you’ve heard back from the hiring manager at one firm, or keep viewing the photos on the company’s website?
There’s nothing wrong with getting excited about a possible new position, especially when you receive positive feedback from the company itself. Almost everyone has a dream job…and if you’re within reaching distance of being hired for one, then you are right to get excited.
But when you over-invest, you attribute far too much importance to one opportunity, and lose sight of the whole picture. Each job opportunity you are considered for is only a tiny part of the job matchmaking process. As a job seeker, you simply cannot afford to waste the time and energy moping over one opportunity that didn’t work out, no matter how good it looked on paper. Keep things in perspective, and especially remember to treat a job description like advertising copy–no matter how great it looks on paper, the reality might be very different.
2. Let the past go.
Another major contributing factor to the mid-job search crisis is hanging onto the past. Are you keeping a mental calendar where each day that you don’t get hired is a little check in the “I guess I’m not that great” category? Are you punishing yourself mentally for all of those days and adding them up to a big failure equation? The past is never a good indicator of your future. It’s only evidence of the lessons you’ve learned. Delving deeply into the past and trying to analyze what you’ve done wrong–or why the economy is sabotaging your job search. It’s a trapdoor that seems to be leading you into the future, but only leads you back further into the past, away from your goals and into useless self-recrimination.
3. Stop defining your success or failure by the job search.
Take a step back and get some perspective. Don’t take rejections personally. A job will never be your greatest asset. No company, employer, or hiring manager can make you better than you already are just by signing your contract and assigning you a salary number. As every successful businessperson knows, YOU are the company’s asset. Invest in yourself, and others will need to invest in you, or risk missing out on what you have to offer.
4. Be grateful for lost opportunities.
As human beings, we never have access to all the information. As mentioned above, no matter how great a job description looks on paper, it might be a nightmare in reality. If you make it through several rounds of interviews but are not chosen for the position, it is best to just let it go and assume that it was a disasterous position that you managed to avoid having to deal with the consequences.
5. Give up the fantasy of future fulfillment.
When you devote every day to searching for the next step, it’s easy to spend most of your time in the future and not much in the present. But keeping yourself anchored in the present is important. Being unemployed may present a lot of challenges, but having a job does too–they are just different challenges. Even the perfect job won’t make you happy. It won’t erase your insecurities, make you less stressed out, or cure your sciatica. Take a walk , explore your neighborhood, make a new friend, and stay in the present as much as you can.