Job Searching – Stop Looking for Your Ex

I took my son and his dad to the airport yesterday. Throughout my day I keep waiting for a Jake sighting, as we call it at my house. Then I have to remember, he is not even in the state! I hate when I do that, I get in such a habit of something that I completely forget when things have changed. I find a lot of people do the same thing.

We keep expecting things to happen as they always have. We get comfortable in habits and it shocks our systems when things change. Sometimes we do not want to accept or even recognize that there has been or needs to be a change. Here are some quotes to demonstrate:

“I’ve never had to write a resume, I always made a call and I had a job”
“I don’t need to re-write my resume, this worked just fine for me 10 years ago”
“I’m not taking any position under Sr. Vice President, I’ve worked too long for a lower job”
“Using online job banks have always worked for me before, I’m sure I’ll find something soon”

Yes, and I just looked out the window for Jake’s car, too. Just because things have always happened a certain way in the past does not mean that they will continue to do so. I used to be blond and able to leg press 275 pounds. Things change.

I compare cover letters to love letters, resumes to first dates, interviews to second dates and here is another one for my list: jobs are like relationships: namely marriages. There is a dynamic involved, although it may not always be healthy, it does exist. We used to joke at one of my old companies that I was my boss’s work-wife. You get comfortable with the way things go, the way they run, your role and position. Things may not be great, but they weren’t bad. And you are looking for that comfort in your next relationship (job). Here is a thought: there is a reason it did not work out…

When looking for your next position, realize that the old relationship is over and you cannot simply replace what you had – there are no two jobs or relationships that are exactly alike and nor should they be. What were the positives in the last relationship – those are the things you want to focus on. What were the challenges – you want to make sure those are not in the next relationship. If you keep going back to where you were and failed then that is where you will always be.

What value did you bring to the last relationship and how did it serve you well? Those are the things you want to continue to strengthen. What things did you do or not know that negatively affected your last relationship? Those are the things that you want to work on, improve, get more education or training, or change your mindset so those challenges can be made into positive.

And let’s not kid ourselves, in every ending of a relationship we had a part to play. Even if you are sitting there saying, “I didn’t do anything, they had cutbacks, it wasn’t my fault!” That may have been the main factor, but I bet if you took a long hard look at your relationship history you would find things that you could have done that would have improved the relationship.

Here’s the bottom line, kids: Do not expect your next position to be your last. That relationship is over, the divorce is final and they have remarried. It is time to move on. And if you look at the last relationship, was it really all that it could have been? Could there have been things that would have made you more excited to go to work every day? These are great insights to have when interviewing for the next position. You have the opportunity to ask those questions to make sure the next one is the right one, to make sure it is a good fit before committing. It is a commitment and you have to know what you are willing to tolerate and what you are not. What is important to you and what can you tolerate? If the position is a little further away than you wanted, but you work less hours – is that a good compromise? Life is all about compromises so make sure you are clear what is important, what is negotiable, what you are not willing to tolerate so that you can go into your next relationship with open eyes and a stronger sense of self. It can make all the difference.

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