One of the hardest things for me to do is to keep applying for jobs while I’m waiting to hear back after an interview for a job I’m hoping to be offered.
On the one hand, because I like and want that particular job, my heart just isn’t in it to look for a different job. On the other hand, I feel that I need to have other “irons in the fire” in case things don’t work out with the job I want. If they don’t, then even though I’ll be disappointed, I’ll still have hope that one of the other “irons” will work out.
This situation is difficult for me because I’m faced with two conflicting emotional needs. My desire to feel excited and hopeful about a job that I really want clashes with my need to protect myself from a hopeless feeling of loss if it doesn’t work out.
I’m waiting right now to hear about “next steps,” if any, after a job interview that I thought went exceptionally well. It’s kind of sad that I have to try as hard as I do not to allow myself to feel too good about it, but past experience tells me that I’ve felt this way before and have felt a big letdown when I haven’t gotten the job. What are the odds that this one is actually going to work out? Again, based strictly on my experiences of the past two years, they’re miniscule.
So I try to contain and restrain my “good” feelings. Sometimes I’ll let myself feel them briefly, say after a nice relaxing glass of wine. When my self-defenses aren’t quite so vigilant, I may actually let myself feel excited about the possibility that finally, this may be it, I’m going to get this job! Then I feel like – oh damn, I let myself feel happy and positive and hopeful for a few moments. I just set myself up for a fall.
Obviously all of this self-inflicted emotional manipulation reflects my subconscious conviction that I will not, in fact, get the job.
I wonder if, in some below-the-radar way, this is coming across in my job interviews? If – deep down – I don’t really believe that I have a chance of being offered the job, am I subtly betraying my true beliefs to the interviewer? Are my word choices, facial expressions, body language and other non-verbal signals sending the message that I already know that they’re not going to offer me the job? Any shrinks out there?
Of course, all the job-hunting advice on the Internet tells you to project confidence and self-assurance during an interview. After all, why should an interviewer conclude that you’re the right person for the job if you don’t seem convinced of that yourself?
Maybe, after two years of interviews without job offers, I’ve gotten too good at keeping my expectations low. Perhaps at some level, I now feel that a job interview is just an opportunity for me to go through the motions, knowing full well that I won’t get the job.
In order to blunt the emotional pain of repeated rejection, have I lost my ability to express genuine enthusiasm for a job? Am I not getting the job because I go into the interview quite confident that I won’t? Is it a self-fulfilling prophecy?