Afraid of change.
April 4, 2011 8:59 PM   Subscribe

I want a new job. I got my resume together. Now I'm too afraid to apply anywhere. Help!

I'm a project manager in the software development area. I've been at my job, under one boss, for 11 years. As discussed in my previous question, I am thinking about finding a new job (even before the new guy was hired). So, I got my resume together and had some friends help me polish it. But I haven't actually given it to anyone, because I am afraid.

I am afraid that I'll change jobs and hate the new company. Or, that I don't really want to be a project manager, and I'll hate the job. Or that I'll get laid off after 6 months. Even worse, I'm afraid that I think I know what I'm doing but no one will actually want to hire me.

I know that these fears come from being comfortable and complacent for far too long, but I am having trouble getting past them. What can I do to get over this hurdle? What are your tricks for moving forward?
posted by fanta_orange to Work & Money (5 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Hey, they're not ungrounded fears. It could be like that. Let's run through them and see what happens:

I am afraid that I'll change jobs and hate the new company

So you find a another new job. You just did it once, you can do it again. "Why did yuo leave your last job?" "I actually left two jobs in a row. I left the first because I wanted new challenges. It turns out the second job wasn't the best environment for that. I have a much better feeling about this company, because..."

Or, that I don't really want to be a project manager, and I'll hate the job

See above.

Or that I'll get laid off after 6 months.

That could happen where you are now. Economies are fickle.

I'm afraid that I think I know what I'm doing but no one will actually want to hire me.

Worst case is you're stuck in your current job, where your biggest fear seems to be somebody might be better at it than you.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 9:30 PM on April 4, 2011 [4 favorites]

That's a place I have been before. One thing that helped me was to post resumes on job sites without actually applying for jobs. Some people noticed my resume and sent me initial emails. I realized that my skills were marketable.

I then took a couple of interviews without any expectations. I surprised myself by how well I did - I got a couple of offers which went till the compensation stage. I didn't take any of them, but that's a completely different thing.

Leave out your expectations from your job trials ("I must get a job in a couple of months, else I am worthless" or "I expect to be in a great job" kind of thinking). The biggest pinprick to the balloon of a "dream job" dream is the reality of selfish organizations.

Oh and if you don't have a certification, get one. It seems to improve worth among recruiters and contributes, in whatever measure, to one's self worth.
posted by theobserver at 9:31 PM on April 4, 2011

When I was a web developer, I was in the same position. I thought "I'll never get a job as good as this" even though it wasn't the best workplace for me. I can't remember what actually made me switch jobs. The stupid thing is that I enjoyed my new old job and was paid more too! You just have to trust that something better is out there, and if the new position doesn't work out, you can find something more suitable. Or, you can target your job search very specifically and make sure you find the right job.

Basically a bad workplace, much like any bad relationship, "normalizes" things. A person fully recognizes that this relationship or workplace has problems, but they come up with all sorts of internal dialogue that convinces them why they should stay. I have no idea why that is. It's a struggle for each individual to overcome it.

Have you ever done an exercise to find out what your core values are? You might be able to find one on the web. That way you can match up a new position with your values and that could be a good way to gauge the quality of it.

I am afraid that I'll change jobs and hate the new company. Or, that I don't really want to be a project manager, and I'll hate the job. Or that I'll get laid off after 6 months. Even worse, I'm afraid that I think I know what I'm doing but no one will actually want to hire me.

That's the internal dialogue I'm talking about :-) Basically it sabotages everything you want to do. I had to go through this exercise for something else and it actually worked - but I had to do it twice a day. Turn every negative statement into a positive one. Trust me, you'll believe that you are hireable after a while. If you project negative beliefs too much, others will pick up on it. I can't remember the exact term for this behaviour - catastrophizing or faulty thinking, maybe.

I have a friend who literally says "I'm so incompetent" after any little spill and genuinely believes these awful things she says about herself. Sticking with postive statements will show that you are confident when you go for that interview :-) HTH! Good luck! There is something better out there - just trust me on that :-) I went through the tech bust and every one I knew that was laid off found something better where they thrived and blossomed.
posted by Calzephyr at 9:40 PM on April 4, 2011 [3 favorites]

I nearly posted this a few months ago. Now I'm onto the next problem.

Here's an idea - you want to find a job that is a good fit for you. Ok, I want you to imagine going to an interview, and asking the sort of questions about work/life balance there so find out whether it will be a good job for you. Then I want you to imagine two scenarios - one of it being good, good enough that you get really genuinely excited about the job, excited about the opportunities and happy to accept the position. Isn't that great!?
Now alternately, they tell you things in the interview about the job that make you think it isn't the best fit, and after deliberating about it you decide it's not right for you. Now, imagine that they STILL offer you the position, and in response you tell them kindly but firmly, that it isn't the right position for you right now, and you wish them luck in filling their role. Phew! That wasn't so bad, was it? Now you can be confident that you will make the right decision for you!

You don't have to accept the job. Think about that idea until it's lodged in your head. The interview is an information seeking process, for you, and the employer. You are under no obligation to accept a job unless you are excited about it and feel it would be good for you. Some of your first interviews might not be for the right sort of position, and therefore you should think of them as practice runs, where you do the best you can, so you can get more confidence and practice at interviewing for the *right* position for you. And the right position for you, will be one where you get along with the employer, and they the are also excited about what you can do for them. Really think about what a good or better environment would be for you, and what you are looking for, and it will help you in your job search and your interviewing.

You are not committing to anything when you send in a resume, you are not committing to anything when you go for an interview, you are not committing to when they send you a job interview, you are committing when you choose to accept a job that is right for you.

Your brain is just trying to protect you. It is imagining that if you submit a resume, you might get an interview, and then you might get the job, and then omg! It might not be the right job!

Man our brains are illogical some times.

Submitting a resume is not a slippery slope. There is no danger in these initial steps, because YOU always have the CHOICE about whether to go forward or not. You can choose further down the line whether you really want to accept this position or not. And if this opportunity doesn't work out, then there will be another one, and another, and another, and another. And that by throwing your hat in the ring for as many of these as possible, you'll be building the skills necessary to get that really awesome job you're suited for.

Once you have submitted a few cover letters and your resume, that part of the process will seem less scary. Once you do it anyway, you'll feel more comfortable with that part of the process. If you really need a push, see if you can get a friend to sit with you while you write the cover letter for some potential jobs, and send them in. Even if they are just sitting with you for moral support, or having a coffee and chatting while you do that bit, it might get you over the hump.

Good luck!
posted by Elysum at 10:02 PM on April 4, 2011 [3 favorites]

The best advice I have ever encountered about sending out resumes sounds like a Nike commercial: just do it. Don't get wrapped up in obsessively editing it or thinking it's not good enough or that you might hate future job. Just send it out. Edit it the next time you send it. And keep sending. The resume is a tool to obtain exactly one thing: an interview. Don't make it more than that. Just send that sucker out.
posted by hecho de la basura at 10:19 AM on April 5, 2011

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