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Driving Fear Away From Your Job Search

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Driving Fear Away From Your Job Search

Two people were waiting anxiously to hear about next steps in their interview process. In separate conversations with both, they asked me, "Why haven't I heard yet?"

I responded, "It's summer. Everything here moves at a different pace with decision makers on vacation."

These familiar words spilled out of my mouth and I realized that they weren't what either of these individuals wanted to hear. I saw the anguish in their faces; the anguish of people waiting for job offers. The Great Recession is now behind us, according to some economists. But to job seekers, it's still with us. It's a tight and frustrating job market for those who haven't been hired.

Since 2009, I have worked with individuals who have found jobs within two months of being laid off and others who have waited for the right opportunity for more than a year. Candidates seem to have great informational or job interviews and then they wait. As more time passes without a job offer, fear begins to seep in like a dark cloud brewing before a storm. Emotions take over, causing many questions and doubt.

  • "Will I hear back?"
  • "What could I have said differently?"
  • "Should I contact them?"

If the good news of an offer comes along, great. If the news you receive is "no," then disappointment and fear can take hold. These are normal and expected emotions, but how can you stay on track and keep fear from paralyzing you?

Here are seven fear-management reminders that you can take action on:

  1. You are not just your job. Take stock of who you are in all aspects of your life. You have many gifts and relationships beyond the workplace. Remind yourself of all of the positive aspects of who you are and what you have in your life.
  2. Volunteering can help enhance your self-esteem. Volunteer at a non-profit where your talents and skills can help others. Giving back to those in need helps us in so many ways.
  3. Meaningful goals will move you in the right direction. Develop a plan with a vision for yourself along with goals. Stick to them. Tell others about your plan and ask for their support. Create a collage of what you want in your life.
  4. Reading can change your mindset. Read websites and books that assist you with feeling good about who you are. A website I like is GoGratitude.com. Some of the books I suggest include:
  5. It's okay to be angry. You don't have to be positive all of the time. Anger is part of the process. When anger takes over, fear and depression can set in. Allow the anger - and then create a plan to move forward. Use your anger as fuel for the journey.
  6. It's a great time to grow and learn. Take a course related to your field to add to your skills. Join an association in your industry and offer your time and expertise.
  7. Your spirit needs attention. Listen to music. Meditate. Exercise. Try something new.

Balancing being still and reflecting with action can drive the fear away from your job search. Focus beyond the waiting and find ways to use the time and appreciate who you are beyond a "job."


Diane L. Dunton M.S., president of Potential Released Consulting Services since 1996, has over 25 years of business and HR experience. Diane has received specialized training with National Training Labs, the Gestalt Institute, Center for Creative Leadership, the University of Michigan's Organizational Career Development and the Center for Reengineering Leadership programs. She has developed programs for over 25,000 employees and leads more than 20 workshops annually offering executive coaching, professional individual coaching and programs on leadership and strategic planning. She has appeared before conferences of up to 9,000 participants and her work has appeared in both U.K. and U.S. management publications, including the Society for Training and Development's Team and Organizational Development Sourcebooks (2003-2006).Learn more about Diane at PotentialReleased.com.