Are you in a relationship with your career?

Posted on 28/02/2011 by Emma Dadswell


It’s a truth universally acknowledged that any ambitious professional is in want of the perfect job! Yes, passion for what you do is an absolute must have for almost any position, and when you’re job hunting it’s important to put your all into every application and every interview.

However, job hunting can also be a difficult and discouraging process. With the right recruitment agency, of course the stress can be seriously lifted, if not eliminated, but in reality there is no guarantee that you’ll get that one job you really want.

So when does passion become emotional dependency? How do you keep up your enthusiasm and your motivation without treating a job with the same emotional attachment you might approach a relationship?

Here are a few indicators that you might need to take a small step back in order to convey the right amount of enthusiasm for your job hunt and a few handy tips for handling these understandable worries.


  1. The attachmentI thought the interview went really well, but they went for a candidate with more experience than me. How could they do this to me? We had a good rapport! What has the other candidate got that I haven’t?
    The answer: In short, pragmatism. Yes, it’s important to analyse your performance during an interview, to think about where you could have done better and how you can learn from the experience, but it’s also vital that you don’t beat yourself up! Sometimes, no matter how outstanding you are, there’s another candidate who has the edge – and it can really sting if you thought you had the job in the bag, but as the old saying goes, there are plenty more fish in the sea. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and put it down to experience – you can use what you learned in your next interview.
  2. The attachmentI think it went really well. I said all the right things. They’ll definitely hire me. I bet they’ll call me tomorrow. I’m going to be so happy there… I wonder what it will be like to work there…
    The answer: Stop! You’re already in dangerous territory. Confidence is one thing, but once the adrenaline high of the interview is over, you’ll regret the picture you’ve built up in your head of this being the perfect opportunity for you. For a start, if you don’t get the job you will end up in the situation described in point one. If you do, however, get the job, you will have built up unrealistic expectations of what life will be like once you work there. Allow yourself a couple of minutes to reflect on the interview and think about something else. You’ve done all you can and anything could happen.
  3. The attachment:  The deadline for choosing a candidate has passed and the client or recruiter still hasn’t called. Why haven’t they called me? I’ll just watch my phone the entire day in case they call – is it too soon to call them? Maybe I’ll call them again tomorrow… and the next day…
    The answer: As with any relationship, clinging on isn’t going to help. Take a deep breath and focus on other things. It can be excruciating waiting for news on a job you really want, but you can’t control the situation and trying to will make you feel worse. Send a courteous email to the recruiter or interviewer saying how much you enjoyed the experience and that you look forward to hearing from them soon. If you don’t, then yes, it’s impolite, but chalk it down to experience and move on to the next job.

If the above sounds like you, then don’t worry, it’s perfectly normal in a difficult employment market to become emotionally wed to a particular outcome. Our top tip is to store up your enthusiasm for the interview – then let it go until you know more. Remember, just like your perfect partner, your perfect job is out there, when it’s right for you, you will get it!