Looking For Work And Not Getting Any Interviews?

A swimmer was just ten feet from shore, but he thought he couldn’t make it. The waves were knocking him around and he was scared to death.

He was actually a decent swimmer, but somehow panic had overtaken him. All that he could do was thrash his arms and wave for help.

Are You Thrashing Around In Your Search For A Job?

Panic can seriously impact your ability to find a job.

Panic is a sensation of fear that is so strong as to dominate or prevent reason and logical thinking. When you’re looking for a job, it can take weeks or even months for panic to take over your thinking. But when it does, you become as helpless as a drowning man.

When You Start The Job Search, You May Be Feeling Quite Enthusiastic

You may start looking for work in the newspaper, scanning for all the jobs that sound appealing. You put together a nice appealing resume, and submit it to all the places where you’d like to work.

This enthusiasm may even continue for a week, or month, or longer. You keep putting out the word that you’re available, and you hold high hopes that you will soon land a decent job.

But Then Something Shifts Inside Of You

You’ve now left your resume with over 20 businesses. And not one business has called you for an interview.

This is when the panic starts to surface. It starts as a little funny feeling in your stomach, a flip flop in the solar plexus. And from there it grows. Frustration builds on this little funny feeling, and soon you’re starting to feel angry, and rather hopeless.

You see the very real demands of life around you. And you see your inability to meet those demands. You have to feed your family. You have to pay the rent. Your life flashes before your very eyes, and you become desperate to find a way to make it work.

And Ironically This Desperation Slows You Down

Like a drowning man who flails his arms in desperation, your internal kicking and screaming keep you from getting out and doing what you need to do.

In his panic, the swimmer doesn’t think to swim towards shore. He doesn’t think he can. And when you panic in your job search, you slow down or stop putting out your resume. You’re too busy believing that there’s no hope.

A lifeguard may pinch a drowning man to jolt him out of this state of panic. But how can you break through the panic that you’re feeling as you’re looking for a job?

One Way Is To Question Your Stressful Thoughts

You probably have a lot of stressful thoughts about your job search. Take a moment to jot them down.

For example, you may be thinking, “I’ve got to pay the rent.” Or you may be thinking, “I have to find a job that uses my skills.” Or you may find thoughts like, “This company should hire me,” or “They will reject me,” or “I’m not good enough,” or “Hunting for a job is no fun.”

All of these thoughts can be questioned.

What Does It Mean To Question Stressful Thoughts?

The method that I like to use to question stressful thoughts is called The Work of Byron Katie. You can learn how to do the The Work in detail on my website.

In short, when you do The Work, you take a stressful thought like, “I’ve got to pay the rent,” and you ask yourself, “Is that true?” This may seem strange at first. “Of course, I have to pay the rent.” But look again, is it really true?

In essence you’re asking, “What happens if I don’t pay the rent?” You may be thinking that it would be really crushing if you had to ask for help. You might think that everyone will abandon you, or that your friends and family would think less of you.

But when you question things, you may find that these fears have no basis in reality. When you question what you have been taking for granted, you may find that life is not as desperate as you thought. And when you see things more clearly, the panic starts to settle down.

But This Is An Oversimplification

You may be thinking that questioning thoughts is not going to help you get a job. It sounds impractical. It may seem like it even takes you backwards. What you really need to do is to keep knocking on more doors.

To understand the vital role that questioning your stressful thoughts plays in your job search, let’s go back to the drowning man analogy.

To Get To Shore, The Drowning Man Must Swim

There’s no substitute for putting one arm in front of the other, and kicking with his feet. But in his panicked state, the swimmer has become frozen, and he is sinking. Before he can take the necessary strokes to get him safely to the shore, he must first overcome the panic.

Likewise, to get a job in a tough economy you have to overcome your panic. You may well understand that you have to keep knocking on lots of doors to get an interview. But when you’re panicked, you’re frozen in your tracks.

Panic is irrational. It’s held up by false assumptions. When you question these false assumptions and find the truth, the panic falls away. And as the panic leaves you, it becomes much easier to do everything you have to do to get an interview.

To Summarize

We unnecessarily handicap ourselves when we start to panic. We paralyze ourselves with fear when we can’t get an interview. And this makes it even harder to find a job.

But when we question the beliefs that hold up our panicked state, we become more rational again. The Work of Byron Katie is a systematic way to question your stressful beliefs.

You Can Get Started Right Away

You can try doing The Work of Byron Katie on your own today. Download the One-Belief-At-A-Time Worksheet here and print it out.

First, identify a stressful thought about your job search and write it on the worksheet. For example, “Hunting for a job is no fun.” Then simply follow the instructions on the worksheet.

The waves of life may be knocking you around. But if all you do is thrash your arms and wave for help like a drowning swimmer, you’ll never take the steps you need to take to get to shore.


When you are new to The Work, you may have more success with it if you work with a facilitator. You can make an appointment to do The Work with me here.

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