Lessons from the Job Search & the Power of Shamelessness

I feel like starting this post with some sort of cheesy dateline. I was immediately triggered to say something in the style of Brian Fantana, “PANDA WATCH.”

So, this is JOB WATCH.

Lots has been happening all the while nothing has been happening. I’ve managed to get myself involved in a fair amount of therapy-related work through volunteer opportunities, but I haven’t had anything develop into an actual job offer quite yet. Even with that, no real tangible offer of full-time employment appears to be on my horizon. I’ll keep chugging along, though.

On a related note, it seems many people I know loosely through professional and social outlets seem to be thriving in their careers. I received this intel from a friend during a chat conversation today. We discussed the frustration we both felt from watching others, who we have honestly not been very fond of in the past, succeed where we have stumbled. My friend just got a job after a year of painful searching and now I am in her place, as she guides me through my roller coaster.

We began to discuss what qualities these people had that we had failed to cultivate into our professional identities. I had been sitting on this theory for a while as I’ve stretched my wings into the world of employment, so it wasn’t difficult for me to figure it out.

Friend:  __(Person)___ is getting a ___(AWESOME JOB OPPORTUNITY)___ in the ___(field)___ of the __(place of employment)__
Me:  ;wsefihuefwhulkjdsdaiwueyrpoe][q24iuewofiasfdhklaskdjhflkajhdfiuayretpiqerytqoieutoiwe
::bad word deleted for integrity purposes::
You know what it is. I've thought about this.
We're not shameless enough.
Friend:  THAT'S IT
Me:  You have to be shameless to get ahead because people inherently trust others who have little to no self-doubt
I think our humility does not serve us.
Friend:  sigh.

I just cannot even.
Me:  I know.

I've talked about shamehere before. Shame prevents us all from reaching our potential. It's the nasty voice inside of us saying, "No you can't. You don't deserve it. You're not a good person," and so on.

But I've never considered how it works into job security. Shameless gets a bad rep. We think of people who are shameless as people who would really do anything to get to their goals. While I think that is definitely true in the above example, I also recognize and respect the savvy approach these people have had from the very beginning that I have only recently discovered.

You kind of have to fake it till you make it. It's the same premise in counseling - if you walk into a session and you don't convey confidence and competence, your client will likely pick up on that and feel that you don't have those qualities, even if it's just a bit of nerves.

The same goes in job interviews. You have to convince the people you are speaking to that you are the most amazing candidate for X  job ever. You know how you do that? You believe it.

They say, "Can you do this thing that we want people with experience to do?"

You think, "Well, I've never done it, technically. I mean, I'm sure I could, but I don't want to try and fail. I don't want them to hate me for lying or fudging the truth."

So you say something humble and honest like, "I believe I am capable of doing that, however, I don't have hands-on experience with this process."

WAMP. WAMP.

I have come to discover that I will only apply to jobs I am certain I can do. So, when I sit in front of that person and they want to know if I can do X task for them and if I have experience with X task, instead of answering with that grain of shame, I answer with something like, "I am confident I can do that task because I have done X task like that before."

You have to get the job first. Once you get the job, you learn whatever insane thing you are supposed to know how to do. I believe I'm smart enough. If I applied to the job, I will know how to do it. In the meantime, I'll just dazzle them with the stuff I'm certain I can do.

I'm learning to sell myself. It's a weird feeling because I've shied away from sales for so long because I don't want to sell people something they don't want. The second half of the puzzle, which I have just embraced, is that sometimes, people don't know what they want. It's my job to convince them it's me.

So, I'm getting all shameless up in here.

“My theory is that if you look confident you can pull off anything - even if you have no clue what you're doing.” -- Jessica Alba



Posted on by Jen Bingaman, M.A. LMHCA Posted in Brilliant Ideas, Jobs, Randomness
Jen Bingaman, M.A. LMHCA

About Jen Bingaman, M.A. LMHCA

Hi, I’m Jen. I’m a mental health counselor newly residing in Seattle, Washington. I strongly believe in the mind-body connection as the cornerstone of my professional ideology, along with the healing possibilities of puppies, a good glass of red wine, the smell of a new book, and the importance of travel.