Does stress spoil your job-search efforts? Take a seven question true and false stress test. Prescriptions follow for pruning stress and pursuing the job(s) you want.
Stress Magnet Thinking Can Undermine a Job-Search
There are stress points in any job search. Even parts of a job search that you enjoy can evoke what stress expert Hans Selye called effort stress. This positive stress is like getting in shape for running a race, and then running it.
You can’t escape effort stress. It is part of a cycle of emotional arousal, or motivation. However, some stresses are negative and pointless, such thinking that you can’t succeed right now so why try. These stress thoughts motivate retreat. You don’t need them. You can defuse them.Negative stress thinking habits are like magnets that can attach to practically any part of your job search. For example, doubting yourself can be a negative reaction to some situations you see as uncertain, difficult, or challenging. These stress magnets have a close relative called magnification: you blow up a problem. Both stress magnet thinking and magnifications are double-troubles. They are a double trouble because they layer a needless problem on top of a problem.
The following test samples job-search stress-thinking. By taking it you can raise your awareness of thoughts that can impede your search. By recognizing stress-thinking you open opportunities to change the process by developing realistically optimistic thinking.
Seven tips follow the test that show how to change job-stress thinking. Then, you’ll find a bonus strategy to turn your job-search into a positive adventure.
The Job-Search Stress Test has seven true or false questions. Check the answer that best describes how you see yourself now.
1. I expect myself to succeed right away. ___ ___
2. I feel overwhelmed by too many things to do. ___ ___
3. When I’m out of work people think less of me. ___ ___
4. I have negative thoughts about not getting work. ___ ___
5. When I get a set-back, I feel discouraged. ___ ___
6. When my search doesn’t go well, I blame others. ___ ___
7. When my search doesn’t go well, I blame myself. ___ ___
If you answered true to any question, you found a stress hot spot. The following describes how to pressure proof yourself by protecting yourself against stress thinking by building a realistic alternative view. Sample remedy one links to stress test question one, and so on. Each sample remedy suggests how to address a probable stress-connecting thought.
1. Reframe Expectations. The reasons for unbendable expectations for immediate success vary but tend to have the same results. These expectations lead to exasperations. Entitlement thinking is a common expectation. If you believe you are entitled to immediate success you have a double-trouble that clashes with reality. For example, entitlement thinking may clash with employers’ beliefs that you need to earn a job opportunity. Unless the interviewer is emotionally tone deaf, the strain that goes with this entitlement attitude can work against you. Instead, look into the world of expectancies, or probabilities. What can you do to aid your chances to succeed sooner rather than later? (Getting your ego out of the picture can lead to better results.)
2. Keep Perspective. Believe you must cover all job-search bases simultaneously and your conscientiousness works against you. You may feel overburdened and overwhelmed. How does viewing yourself as having too much to do serve your job-search interests? As an alternative, consider what is most important to do first, second, third? You are less likely to feel overwhelmed if you can choose what to do first, and then start doing it.
3. Withhold Snap Judgments. Do you automatically expect others to judge you negatively? Is this partially because you automatically judge you job-search performances as inadequate? In 1902, psychologist John Horton Colley called this the looking glass effect. This show-stopping idea is like applying an emergency brake to your job search and creating a drag. Where is the evidence that others will think of you exactly as you think they will? Would you bet everything you will ever earn that you always will be 100% accurate reading others’ minds?
4. Break the Circle of Stress. Automatically chaining one negative thought to another is a formula for a parasitic form of stress that drains without gains. These thoughts go round in a circle accompanied by feelings of vulnerability. If you are in this vicious circle, extract negative thinking from this circular process. Think about your thinking. What is reasonable? What stress thinking would be invalid when analyzed scientifically?
5. Stop Disappointment from Becoming Discouragement. Disappointments are inevitable. You thought you had the job. Someone else got hired. Following a set-back you may go beyond disappointment and believe you can’t win. This motivation sapping belief stirs discouragement. You don’t have to talk yourself into discouragement. By reminding yourself to accept disappointment as an inevitable phase in a job-search, you are less likely to double-trouble yourself with negative predictions about a future you can’t accurately foretell.
6. Avoid the Externalize Blame Trap. If you consistently blame others for your misfortunes, then your choices are to change or penalize those you view as responsible, or give up. This is a formula for stress or misery. As an antidote consider whether it is more important to find fault or solve problems. What can you do to control or influence a productive outcome? What double troubling negative thinking can you examine and disable?
7. Avoid the Internalize Blame Trap. If you routinely take the credit for the blame, perhaps you are too hard on yourself and too soft on the problem that pulls such thoughts. Consider a radical shift. In what ways are you not responsible for a result? How can you get hard on the problem and not on yourself? What is the job-search problem to solve? How can you go about solving it?
A Bonus Strategy for Your Job Search.
Although job-search conditions vary, you can approach each part of the search with a can do view. That is the idea that you already have good skills you can put to work for you, and you can develop or refine job-search skills that you want to strengthen.
Views don’t get jobs. Purposeful search activities do. However a can do view can motivate the work of getting work.
A combined can do view and polished job-search skills are a winning combination. But not everything is possible. In a job search, you’ll find events you can control, events you can influence, and events that are out of your hands. What can you do? Control what you can, influence what you can, and accept realistic limitations.
You don’t have to be a job-search superstar to find work in a tough job market. Do better than average managing the stresses in your search and you are more likely to succeed in the different phases sooner rather than later. Persist while others languish in discouragement, and you have another advantage. This persistence is an extension of a can do view.