Kate – not her real name – was a fully qualified Primary School teacher. She loved the work. She was confident in the classroom but now, after having taken a break to have children, the time had come to think about returning to her career.
But it was the interview process that was standing in her way.
Troubled by nervousness and anxiety in a job interview situation, Kate went to pieces, she said, and couldn’t express herself. Could a coaching programme help identify and vanquish her blocks?
Kate made excellent progress. By the second coaching session, she was feeling better, more positive and had applied for three jobs. And, she said, she’d worked out a plan. But that, as it turned out, was the nub of the whole problem and one that I’ve since identified as pretty universal.
It was her body language that gave her away as she proudly laid out her plans, sitting up straight in her chair and demonstrating what a wise child she really was. “If I don’t get any of these jobs, I’ll apply for a classroom assistant job and if I don’t get that, I’ll work as a volunteer.” It reminded me of a friend of mine who used to apply for jobs she didn’t want because, she said, it would give her good experience doing the interviews, but who got upset when she didn’t get any of the jobs she’d applied for. Kate had a solid negative plan.
She was well prepared to cope with failure and rejection by having a consolation plan in place. Her mind was on plan B and even Plan C. Plan A, the one in which she succeeded in getting all three jobs and then had to decide which one to take, wasn’t on her agenda.
We discussed what was wrong with Plan A. In all truth, she said, she thought it was surely a more shrewd outlook to plan for the worst?
Applying for jobs is the same as applying yourself to anything you decide to do. But if you’re going through the motions, if you’re hoping for success but secretly expecting failure, if you’re telling yourself it’s a waste of time, please think again. Reconsider. Make sure it’s what you want and then apply, making sure to do everything necessary to get it. If it doesn’t work out, apply yourself again, and again, and again. Intention is not time limited unless you set that limit yourself.
I’ll leave you with this thought: If you apply for three jobs, what’s wrong with applying for all three jobs with the intention of getting them, all of them?
CODA: We advertised a job recently and received within three days over eighty applications. It was clear most of the applicants had expected not to get an interview, their applications were so perfunctory or the covering letters so badly written. What a different and more arduous prospect it would have been had all the applications we received been from people who intended success.