Yesterday, I filled out another job application and made some changes to my résumé. The most notable change was that I put an end date on my employment for the job I’ve had for the last 4 years and 7 months (according to LinkedIn). I love that job, and my experiences there have helped shape who I am as an employee and a person. It sucks having to put such finality to a big part my life, but bigger and better things are ahead for me. Maybe, just maybe, someday I’ll be able to return. :-)
I think it’s safe to say that there is no surefire way of not feeling like a fraud while job searching. I do, however, think that there are really great ways to prevent these feelings from hindering your job search and your initial performance in your new position.
First, put yourself out there. No job will ever come to you if you don’t apply first. I can vouch for those who grow attached to their applications that this is not easy. Putting meaningful content into your application is hard because it leaves you feeling exposed. Think of it this way: the first application will never be as good as the last application you submit. Each application gives you an opportunity to revisit and improve your materials.
Second, surround yourself with people who foster a positive mindset. Your supporters don’t have to like the professions that you are pursuing or the locations you are looking at. More than likely, they want you to be happy and to lead a productive life. The question then becomes, “How can I convince others that this opportunity is what will allow me to live a full life?”
Lastly, try to always remember who you are. Being yourself can be extremely scary. You will be judged (evaluated, if you will) by other people, and that’s okay. The perfect environment-person fit will not always present itself easily. The best possibility of this happening is when you are true to yourself and allow people to like (or not care for) you as you are and not as the masked persona of your choosing.
I hope you find this relevant to your own job search. Let me know if you’d like to chat about it!
For the past 5 years, I have been a professional student. No, I don’t mean I’ve been working toward a professional degree. I mean that my primary “place of work” has been the university. Most recently, I have been finishing my Master’s degree in counseling psychology.
One warning that has stuck with me is that there will be times when I feel like a fraud, that I am not actually qualified or that I’m not capable of doing what people say I can.
Boy, does that put a stopper on my job search. I look at all of the things I have on my résumé, and I wonder just how high I am setting a potential employers expectations of me.
In many ways, I look forward to leaving the debt accumulating life of being a graduate student. At the same time, I feel horrified I’ll be found out for who I really am: a fraud. Am I really worth the money that is being spent to pay me?
I sure intend on proving that I am, both for my own and my employer’s benefits.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that we are all going to feel like frauds at some point in our lives. There simply is no two ways around it. Then, the question really becomes, “What can you do today to make yourself better for tomorrow? How can you prove to yourself each and everyday that you are worth it and you are not the fraud you think you are?”
Again, I am going to turn to Veronica Roth for today’s quick thought. I’m about halfway through the third book in her Divergent series, Allegiant. Without giving any content away, one of the characters is told that they are damaged. The character refuses to acknowledge that they are damaged just because of a physiological actuality.
This got me thinking about the labels we give ourselves. There is great power, both positive and negative, in labels. They help us identify with groups with which we want to associate ourselves, as well as groups that we do not.
My question to you is: How do the labels that we claim (and are assigned to us) describe what you are made of?
I hope that my vague questions spark some deeper thoughts. Write your initial thoughts by leaving a comment below!
This blog post offers a great perspective on fundamental attribution error through a cross-cultural lens. Although this is not a perfect response (in my opinion), the author’s honesty provides an authentic counterpoint to the powerful and privileged view.
Originally posted on Black Millennial Musings:
Dear Skinny White Girl Who Does Yoga,
I hope you’re well after the treatment you’ve been getting online. Tonight, I read your article, and as I’m sure you can imagine, I was upset with you. In your article, you surmised that a heavy set Black woman, never before seen in your yoga class, was somehow hostile towards you because you are a skinny white girl. Through your discomfort, you interpreted her actions to be one of anger, tragedy, and despair that, for some reason, was solely directed towards you and your “tastefully tacky” yoga outfit.
You then had an epiphany of sorts. What that epiphany was, I’m still unclear. Perhaps you got your first introspective taste of intersectionality; of how body image for Black women is particularly brutal and confusing. Or maybe you acknowledged how African Americans cannot enjoy modern delights without causing the suspicion of the white privileged…
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I’ve noticed that I haven’t gotten very many views or comments (probably because I’m using way too many words and long paragraphs). I’ve been told that I do this.. a lot..
So, here’s a short one:
For the majority of my life, I have tried to move so quickly from one task to the next that I often miss the “small” things in life. I am halfway to 27 years old, and I have finally felt that dreaded desire for time to slow down.
By moving so fast through life, I have missed many opportunities to see the beautiful moments around me. Although my professional life plays a large role in my life satisfaction, it would never be able to replace the moments I am able to share with my wife and almost-3-year-old daughter. Seriously, where else would you be able to belt out “ROW, ROW, ROW YOUR BELT” obnoxiously loud and be told to do it over and over again?
When have you been able to let all of your inhibitions go in order to experience a beautiful moment?
One of my best friends from my work (who recently left town to attend graduate school in Idaho) came back to Columbia for a visit. This has got to be one of the best surprises (because I found out she was coming to town two days ago) I could have asked for in the new year because it’s been 7 months since we’ve had a good talk.
While we were catching up, we started to talk about how people view the world that is around them. Instead of writing a thesis on schema and mind states (the topics that spurred this part of our conversation), I’d like to focus on one key aspect that we observed in each other. I talked about my own experiences with mind states as it related to the holistic view of career (meaning the entirety of a person’s roles over their lifetime, including work life, academic life, social life, etc.). If a particular mind state becomes prevalent in one aspect of your life, it will often have an affect in other parts of your life.
My friend very wisely pointed out that her view point comes from a people first perspective. People can very easily affect your overall mind state. For example, people who tend to want to work alone can be negatively affected by a job that requires them to talk to people on a consistent basis.
How do you view the world around you: Do environments or people affect your mind state the most? Are then even or is there a mix?
Post your comments below, and I will try not to go three weeks without a post again!
Right now, I’m listening to Insurgent by Veronica Roth and the protagonist, Tris, is being faced with the decision to become a leader of her faction after being nominated by her fellow faction members. The nomination comes to her as a surprise because she does not understand what the others in her faction see in her.
In my own life, I see this constantly. I continually ask myself what others see in me. Why do so many people take the chance on me? For example, how did I ever get hired at the MU Career Center when so many other people wanted the job?
- What are your thoughts?
- When have you even been given a chance to be a person that you do not see in yourself?