My Unemployed Life: Am I Not Getting The Job Because I Don't Expect To?

unemployed life not getting job

One of the hardest things for me to do is keep applying for jobs while waiting to hear back on a job I interviewed for.

When I like and want that particular job, my heart just isn't in it to look for a different job. But I feel that I need to have other "irons in the fire" in case things don't work out. Then, even though I'd be disappointed if I'm rejected, I'd still have hope that one of the other "irons" will work out. 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.

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.

More: My Unemployed Life: Why Do People Treat Us Like We're Invisible?


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?


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Linda C

Your article gave me a sense of deja vue. After being laid off from my posiiton as a middle school reading specialist, it took me two years to find a fulltime job. This is not a good time economically to be a teacher! Even though I have advanced degrees and lots of certifications, I seldom got a call back from an application or a resume. It was incredibly discouraging to apply for a job I didn't really want, then not even get a call. I began to feel that I was putting out negative vibes! I needed to tweak my resume several ways, not only removing dates but in some cases removing a higher degree so I did not shoot myself in the foot.

September 05 2012 at 3:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mary DeLongfield

Oh, you took the words right out of my mouth. I have been through the exact same thing so many times. I am sure that I am going to get a job, and I feel "guilty" that I apply elsewhere. But I have no choice, as you can never be 100 percent sure that you will be hired.
I personally believe it is fine to keep looking even though you are very positive about a job offer coming from the previous person that interviewed you.
I have done two things lately that is changing the way I am looking for a job. #1, I have removed dates of graduation on my resume, as that is a sure indicator of your age and #2, I am swallowing my pride and looking for jobs that are only about 2/3 of the pay that I made at my last job. Too bad we have to hide our age, but honestly, if an employer has two candidates for one job, one is 63 and the other is 33, I think the 33 year old will win, unless the HR person who interviewed you is 50+ themselves!

September 03 2012 at 12:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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