This article will highlight how people generally respond to distress; and especially the distress of job search pressure and how to manage that stress and the results of your job search by effectively dealing with job search pressure.
The conventional wisdom surrounding people’s responses to pressure typically revolve around two behavior models: The type A personality, who becomes consumed with anxiety over pressure situations, and has a tendency to become angry and unreasonable; and the type B personality, who remains unaffected and carries on with business as usual.
However, among psychologists, a third type of personality has emerged: type C. Type C personalities actually thrive on pressure, turning in their best work under stressful circumstances. The big difference between type C and types A and B seems to be the ability to commit to a task without making the process about their own egos.
Apparently, the type A personality unconsciously ties their feelings of self-worth to success in the area of work and career. When a situation arises that puts performance pressure on this type of person, they perceive it as a threat to their self-image – the way they perceive their value to themselves and friends and loved ones – and thereby respond from a place of fear and panic.
The type B personality has successfully avoided tying up their self-image with their employment, but in such a way that he or she is minimally, if at all, emotionally engaged in work and career. While the type B personality does not give in to the mania that will affect a type A, they also have little motivation to step up to the plate and deliver if job search circumstances demand extra commitment.
The type C personality, on the other hand, seems able to commit to whatever time and effort is required to bring in a job search goal on a tight schedule and budget.
Many of us would like to assume we are that resourceful type C personality; and the truth is… even if you are currently a type A or type B, you can become a type C personality by consciously choosing how to respond to any situation, instead of simply reacting from emotional upset or disconnection from a required task. It takes discipline, willpower and presence of mind to choose to respond in a mature, productive fashion; but with practice, those personality skills can become habit, and your job search life will change for the better.
A major part of becoming a type C personality is to recognize vicious cycles in your behavior. There are telltale signs that you are entering a destructive cycle of emotion motivated reactions to pressure filled job search situations. Whether your emotions kick into overdrive, and you become an abusive, overbearing person, or your emotions shut down and you simply refuse to invest in what’s going on around you, learn to spot the symptoms that signal the start of these cycles. For example, some people start losing sleep, or drinking too much coffee or alcohol. Some people turn inside themselves, and stop communicating and socializing with others. Whatever the early behaviors are that signal to you that you are starting a vicious cycle of negative, anti job search behavior, you can notice these symptoms and thereby prevent yourself from generating non-productive and self-defeating job search behavior patterns before they take over.
But simple recognition of these early signs of unhealthy behavior is not enough. These behaviors are habits, and like all habits are very hard to break, unless you replace them with other habits. Put positive, productive job search behaviors in place of the unhealthy ones, and you will find that your entire outlook on life, and not just your job, will change. For instance, if you normally lie awake nights during pressure periods, worrying about aspects of the situation that are beyond your control, you might get out of bed and work on one or another of the job search tasks you require to complete. The act of writing, for many people, takes the power out of problems, and once the particulars are on paper, a solution often presents itself. Or when you feel yourself withdrawing at work on your search for a good job, as the circumstances get tense, try communicating with someone – a job search counselor or advisor, or a friend, your spouse, or possibly a therapist – about your desire to isolate yourself from your stress filled job search. Again, just saying out loud what the problem is, can often take away much of the power that it has over your emotions.
In order to move successfully a less stressful job search scenario, you must be willing to follow the principles of the three Cs – commitment, confidence and control. It is through these three principles that you may build a framework by which you can make those conscious decisions to behave in a productive fashion.
Of course, this is no small job search task. All must be performed to generate a job offer from your chosen vocation. You may need assistance. There are many effective tactics by which you can manage stress, to keep the peace of mind you need to make the right decisions during your job search. For example, find yourself a good stress management program, and follow a healthy diet, with regular exercise and relaxation techniques.
For many of us, a job search is a high pressure situation. Assure yourself that your decisions are based on your commitment to get the best job out there. Do that, and you may find more strength and energy to complete job search research, and development of materials, and job search correspondence, job interviews, job interview call backs, follow-ups, and other details that must be handled professionally in order for an employer to conclude that you are the kind of person that they want to have in their company. In all truth, you are that person now or you would not be reading this article. So just remember… there is no better way to get a job than to be exactly what they are looking for.