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Sunday, June 25, 2006
Sit and Wait
I hear so many people tell me they are not ready to start their job searches yet but are thinking of “getting more organized” about it at some point in the future. Some have good reasons for delaying getting started such as an upcoming promotion (want to be able to search with the new job title on board), end of quarter bonus coming; kids are finishing school, etc. Some reasons for delaying a job search are just simply procrastination, plain and simple.

Why do people procrastinate getting started in their job searches? I think a big part of it is fear. People are afraid there is no other job out there, that no one will want to hire them, or that they cannot compete against _____-er candidates (you fill in the blank). Many people are afraid of the process itself. “I haven’t had to look for a job in over ten years!” is a common comment I receive from job seekers. Job search can be daunting, especially if it’s been a long time since you have done it. Such fear can lead to procrastination and delay in getting started toward finding new employment.

Another reason people delay in starting a job search is what I call the “familiar evil” syndrome. You may not be happy in your job but at least you are familiar with it and understand what is expected of you. A new job would entail stepping outside your comfort zone and moving through a lot of changes. Change, even change for the good, is uncomfortable for most people. We are creatures of habit and routine and both looking for a new job and starting a new job would upset that routine.

Of the two factors – fear and resistance to change – the hardest one to combat is the latter. Fear can be lessened or overcome but getting out of a rut is more difficult because it is more subtle. Often, we don’t realize we are in a rut to begin with; thus, we don’t realize we need to get out of the rut. The fear of job search is like fear of the dentist – we know why we are afraid but we also know there is a beginning and an end to the process. The resistance to change is more like having a cavity – we know we need to get it fixed but it’s not hurting now so why bother?

What is the cost of procrastination in looking for a new job? Two things spring to mind immediately. First, salary is lost. If you land a new job that pays $150,000 a year, that is $2885 a week. If you are currently only making $100,000 a year, you make $1923 a week. If you put off finding that new, higher salary job for six weeks, you’ve lost $962.

Second, opportunities are lost by procrastinating. How many times have you been surfing the job sites and seen a job that is PERFECT for you but the deadline for application has passed. How many times did you see a great job listed but didn’t have a resume ready to go because you had been putting off your job search preparation? Have you ever had someone ask to see your resume but you had nothing updated to give him? Lost opportunities can never be regained. You should always be ready for opportunities, even if you are not in active job search mode. It is too easy to keep your resume updated once quarterly or once annually.

What are you waiting for? Are you afraid or just not in enough pain yet to make a move?

November 2005 / December 2005 / January 2006 / February 2006 / March 2006 / April 2006 / May 2006 / June 2006 /


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