The Reason You Hate The Job Hunt & How To Solve It


If you “love data”, start by loving your own job hunt data

Are you interested in data and data analytics or doing investments and crunching numbers? If you are, you're interested in data, but one thing that people don't ever consider is the data that supports their own opinions and their own ideas about things. 

Just take a moment the next time you have a stressful thought about your job hunt and ask yourself: “do I have data that supports that opinion?” 

I’m going to be that you don’t. 

Let me give you a really simple example. 

There is a person who I think wouldn't want to talk to me. I reached out once to that person over LinkedIn and they never responded. I conclude, “people must not wanna talk to me”. 

This is one data point. How often does one data point reflect a population? (and how often do people get busy, miss messages, or prefer you to follow up over email?)

It’s interesting in the job hunt: we come across these opinions about how difficult it is to do this or that, our opinion that our resume isn't good enough, or our opinion that we don't have enough experience. 

Where do those thoughts come from? And where is the data? 

Ask yourself: do I have the data to believe that “no one would go talk to me” or that “no one would want to interview me”?

All of those thoughts with stress and the negative emotions, those ideas that come up, ask yourself: “Is that true”? What's the data there to support the belief that “such-and-such is the case” where such-and-such is this thing that is a negative thing for you or critical of you and your ability?

“Everybody starts without experience, without a network or a strong resume. We all do! So, when those negative thoughts come up, realize that they may not be supported by data.”

Ask yourself, is it true? Yes or no? Is it true that I can't get a job? You ARE gonna get a job at some point, right? That's the nature of life. 

It's not true that you're never going to get a job.

When those negative thoughts come up again, ask yourself this question: Why am I having these thoughts? 

The main reason those thoughts are there is to protect you. It's your ego  - or whatever that thing is that wants to help you live and survive in the world. It's there to protect you! It’s just seeking to protect you from that potential rejection - a protective function. 

This is a protective function that was designed millions of years ago in animals to protect them from potential predator threats, and it's not a particularly smart function that continues to operate today to bring those thoughts in. And if you believe them it's a negative payoff.

“Let those feelings be there and don’t fight them. Next, actually move in the direction towards what is more challenging for you. If you do, it’s going to be a huge payoff.”

When you have a feeling or start thinking that some job hunt effort won't work out, that's sending you in one direction, which is the more comfortable direction, the safer direction. Instead, you actually want to go in the opposite direction. 

You want to go in the direction of what's more challenging for you. As we think about how to manage negative emotions in the job hunt, recognize that those emotions are there to protect you. It's a part of yourself that's looking to protect you.

From that sense, it's potentially a good thing, right? But it's not a particularly intelligent function. Rather than trying to examine why exactly we have those thoughts, just acknowledge that they exist and then question, do I have the data to support these thoughts? 

“If you haven't gone out and had 20 networking calls with decision-makers - executives in your dream firms - you can't conclude anything about what those calls will be like, you can't.”

If you assume that there's a standard distribution of networking outcomes, then you need something like a minimum of 30 data points to establish, from a sample size, what the population is of that normal distribution. 

Let me know in the comments below what you think! 

Stress around your skills is a big one. We end up over-skilling and not job hunting. Any skill that you would be expected to know by a company, the company will teach you most of that. Yes, there are some things for which you want to know the basics today: if you want to be a banker, best that you come in with some financial modeling skills for example. In most cases, most of the work you'll do will be taught how to do. 

Same with analytics: beyond the basics, everything else you're going to be taught. What the employers are trying to do is trying to assess is this: are you teachable? Are you hungry enough? What's your communication skill? Are you a “net plus” to this firm? 

The only difficult part of the job hunt is the mental game. In that game,  you will be looking at some of the negative thoughts that come up in your job hunt. Let them be there and then let them go. Check if you have any data to support the thought. One, two, or three “NO’s” is not a data set. “Not hearing back” is just data to support finding a different way, or performing better follow-up. 

So reach out to me! If you're having any struggles with your job hunt, especially the mental aspect. We need to address that part. And don’t worry because that's just what makes us human.


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