My name is Eris S. and I was once a Job Search Addict.
I would like to go on record right now and say that all things considered, I have a great job (knock on wood). My boss trusts me to do what he hired me to do, I have a great office/studio (one of the perks of being an audio engineer), and above all, I am doing what I set out to do. There was, however, a time when I was not so happy.
Sure, I was still in the same industry, but I felt like I was working at a level that did not challenge me. I also had problems with the way my departments were run. Not to mention my bosses left little to be desired with regards to leadership.
It was during these years – yes YEARS – that I found myself descending deeper and deeper into a world of serious addiction.
I got hooked on job hunting.
In the beginning, it seemed harmless. I was dabbling; just a couple times a week. But before I knew it, hunting began to take control of my life. First I was just seeing what else was out there. I would go to industry-related sites and see if anyone was looking for someone with my skill level, and even then, it was only during stressful weeks.
Before long I was looking several times a week. Then every day. After some time, perpetual job hunting wasn’t strong enough.
I began rethinking all my career choices. I went from someone who was so confident with their career path to a person willing to do anything to make ends meet. I felt too old to go back to school. I had come so far and starting over was not an option. I began looking into joining a union. Maybe I would learn a trade. Become an apprentice in some field I had never even considered. Sure it would be the bottom rung, but at least I would be earning a wage. Yes, I was becoming desperate.
It spiraled out of control. I began going to job sites in the morning and then checking again throughout the day just in case the perfect opportunity was posted while I was away. Looking back on it the behavior was sad and preventable. I had no clarity. I only prolonged my woes by running into another position with the same issues. In the beginning, it was great; new faces, new tasks, new environment. But before long I ran myself right back into the same situation. I thought I went dry, but within a year the hunt began to take control of me again and I was back on the wagon. Job Search Addiction (JSA), like all addictions, is terribly hard to shake for good.
This could’ve probably all been avoided if I had just taken a few steps back, thought about what I really wanted, and took a much closer look at what I was leaving and what I was running into.
The problem was that once I started telling myself that the company was bad, the department was run poorly and that I wanted so much more out of life – my desire for more just seemed to take over. My job hunts ran on autopilot, and it was as if the more I reached for something better to come along the further away I seemed to push any good opportunity.
Now I don’t know why things work out the way they do. I’m not sure if we get what we need when we need it or if we make our own opportunities by playing harder and going further than the next guy. What I do know is that it is unhealthy and irrational to spend a good portion of your workday job hunting, and spending the time you’re not looking, thinking about doing anything else but your current job.
With that in mind, here are a few telltale signs that you might be addicted to job hunt.
1) You do a job search every day. Same engines, same keywords, same results, but that doesn’t deter you. You still make time to do this every day. Einstein once defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
2) You begin to entertain jobs that you are clearly not qualified for. The end result is a waste of your time – and if you actually get an interview – a waste of the employers’ time too. You also start considering jobs that you are way over qualified for – even if they’re in the same field.
3) You start searching for positions that aren’t even in your area of expertise. Sure, you’re a trained veterinarian, but you’ve always been good with numbers so maybe, just maybe, they would be willing to give an honest hard worker like you shot. This is highly unlikely and spending an abundance of time on this type of search is a clear indicator that you have a problem.
4) You look for new postings at hours when no business in their right mind would post. The same results you got on those HotMonsterBuilder sites at 3 pm are the same ones that are going to be there at 10 pm. Companies just don’t have HR do these tasks in the middle of the night. Even the weekend is a long shot.
Just like the big pharmaceuticals probably don’t really want to cure cancer – why would anyone want you to recover from Job Search Addiction? The career sites benefit (hey, this one too), employers benefit by getting a ridiculous number of choice (which means they can pay you less) and the cycle goes on and on.
Sad as it may seem there is hope and with time and a little patience you too can overcome hunting. It may be one of the hardest things you ever do, but in the end, you will be much better off.
I’ve been there. I’ve suffered. And if you need a sponsor for your Job Search Addiction, I’m ready to listen. Remember, the first step is admitting you have a problem.