Catastrophe And Reality

by: Joanne Meehl

Said a client, "If I don't have a job by Labor Day, I'm going to lose my house!"

Someone who called our office said, "I need to get a good job in some field yesterday to save my mortgage and my marriage!"

"My wife will leave me if I'm not working soon!" said a third person.

Whoa! OK, everyone, calm down. If your thinking is like this, it's what psychologists call "catastrophic thinking". It's when anxiety and panic take over. In the job search, people take all the anxiety they feel about their search -- interviews, no response from employers to their resume, networking outside their immediate circle -- and they add it to the other things going on in their lives, until they are running on pure emotion.

If you find yourself feeling this kind of panic, short-circuit it with logic. First, slow things down. Take a deep breath and parse things out: what options do you really have (come on, be honest, you can tap your savings if you need to), and what steps to take. Write them down if you want. Then take those steps.

There's a saying I have: There are no cat skeletons in trees. Why is that? Because the cats eventually come down. Well, it's the same with landing your next job: It will happen. It will. Saying that to yourself involves the second thing you can do to counter your anxiety and catastrophic thinking, and that is to have faith. Faith in yourself, in the bigger picture that it will all work out.

Oh, and here's some statistical solace to support that faith: in the 20-plus years I've been doing this work, not one person who feared losing his/her home actually had it happen to them. You won't either.


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