Failure Is An Option
How to job hunt on your own terms
Failure is defined as an unsuccessful attempt to meet predefined expectations. So, change your expectations!
For example, what is your expectation when you apply for a job? An obvious answer might be “to get the job”. Nothing wrong with that, but if 10 candidates are all in the process with the same singular expectation, then 90% of you will fail. So what do those other 9 candidates do to overcome that feeling of failure?
The notion of failure as a valuable lesson is not new. You only have to listen to world-class athletes talking about their careers to realise that each perceived failure was in fact a lesson in motivation, preparation and personal drive. It’s the same with scientists: each scientific failure is seen as a way to cross something off the list, learn from it and move closer to finding the correct solution.
So let’s apply that to job hunting.
What if instead your expectation was to learn from the process, gain interview experience, practice your patter, meet a variety of clients and individuals, and generally explore your market? Using these expectations you can take the pressure out of each individual interview process and, hopefully, the stress and anxiety that often goes hand in hand with looking for a new job.
Try breaking down your expectations into clear and tangible criteria so that you can work on a pros and cons approach, rather than a succeed or fail one. For example;
- Do I like the company’s brand?
- Is the industry one which interests me?
- Was the interviewer someone I want to work with?
- Is the commute convenient?
- Does it pay enough salary and strong benefits?
- Will I learn anything new in this role?
- Can I stay there for 5 years and not get bored?
- Is it better than where I am now?
Realistically, no job will tick every box in that list. But by prioritising and grading in this way you can put things into context more effectively. Yes of course it is disappointing to not be offered the job that you thought you really wanted, but there is always another opportunity around the corner. And the more opportunities you say yes to, and the more hats you throw in the ring, the more you will start to recognise which roles are a good match for you and which roles come up short.
One of the best ways to get perspective on this is to find yourself a credible recruiter who specialises in your sector. They will know all the roles, what the people are actually like in the companies, and the difference between all the company cultures.
For most people, the job hunting process is not a straight line: it’s a pinball, zigzag, ricochet journey of unpredictability, scattered with learning curves, temporary let downs and abrupt left turns. So embrace the roller-coaster, call a good recruiter, and see where it takes you.