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The Worst Thing A Job-Seeker Can Do by Liz Ryan

We hear about the pitfalls and landmines in a job search all the time. The only people who get more unsolicited advice than job-seekers are pregnant women. Pregnant women learn to smile and say "Thanks very much, that's so kind of you" when they get bad advice.

I had people tell me not to breastfeed because it would make the baby fat. A lot of parenting advice is crazy.

A lot of job-search advice is worse. We teach job-seekers to grovel and beg for a job when we should be reminding them that they are awesome. We should be empowering them. If you have a conspiracy-theory-type brain you might spend time wondering who benefits when we teach job-seekers to take any job they can get.

We even withhold their unemployment compensation if they pass on a job offer, even if the job is far beneath their capabilities. There's an economic waste there, when people are underemployed.

Our country (or any country) has invested in people in order for them to create economic gain at the highest possible level. So why would we punish people for saying "Gee, after eighteen years in Finance I'd prefer not to wait tables, if possible?"

There's nothing wrong with waiting tables - I've done it in New Jersey, New York and Chicago - but it isn't necessarily the highest use of everyone's abilities.

We give bad advice to job-seekers all the time. That's why I started to write job search advice in 1997. I hadn't focused on the advice given to job-seekers very much. When I started to focus on it, I was horrified.

I couldn't understand why we'd teach people to suck up and bow and scrape in order to get a stupid job that wouldn't grow their flame in any way.

We started our company, Human Workplace, to fix that problem and many other problems that our hyper-mechanical, linear, grey and boring business world presents.

The worst thing you can do as a job seeker is to forget who you are. The worst thing you can do is to lose your mojo so badly that you decide you're nothing. Job-seekers fall into that pit easily.

They start to think "Yes, I was successful before, but I guess I was fooling everyone. I guess I really am a loser."

You are brilliant and talented and the right people will find you when you find the core inside yourself that you had when you were six and seven and eight years old. You had your mojo back then. Don't let other people and the harsh mechanical world we live in beat your mojo out of you.

You earned it. You grew muscles coming up in whatever circumstances you grew up in. You earned every wrinkle on your face and every callus on your hands. Don't let anybody look down their nose at you. That's a fear reaction. The next time someone snubs you or slights you on your job search, think "I'm learning how fearful people act."

You can't spend your life pleasing weenies and people who don't deserve your talents. You don't have time to squash your precious flame.

Instead, you can say "NEXT!" to those people and continue on your path, like every fairy tale Jack who went from one adventure to the next until he found his place.

We are all fairy tale Jacks finding our way.

Not everyone deserves what you bring. The faster you say "Thanks, but I'll pass" to people who try to put you into little boxes that won't contain your spirit, the stronger you'll become.

Don't believe anyone who tells you that it's an employer's market and job-seekers must go begging. That's only true in Sheepie Land where people have drunk so much toxic lemonade they believe that any employer and any boss is superior to them.

If someone were poisoning you over time, you'd worry, right? Someone has been poisoning your mind. They've been telling you that you are nothing without a job. God bless them, you don't need those people around you.

You don't need to hear their message. You need to walk away and go in search of people who deserve you.

Listen to Liz Ryan narrate this story, below!



Human Workplace is a publishing, coaching and consulting firm. Our mission is to reinvent work for people.

Jump here to learn about our 12-week virtual courses launching on Saturday, September 27th, 2014.

Jump here to read about our newest 12-week virtual course, Extreme Career Makeover!

Posted 8:17 AM  View Comments

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