The “Ouch” Factor in Job Search

I’ve been working in the career management industry for over 12 years now.
During that time, I’ve met on a one-on-one basis with thousands of job seekers and I’ve facilitated a number of groups.

I love helping people with job search; I’ve forged a career in it. But very few of my clients or the members of my MeetUp group, the NYC Job Seekers, enjoy the process as much as I do.

The truth of the matter is this: For most job seekers–and those who have been laid off or left a job in a way that wasn’t of their choosing is painful. It’s like being a cat and being forced to take a bath. Or going back to middle school and reliving feelings of adolescent insecurity. Or waiting by the phone and wishing for it to ring. It isn’t fun.

A career coach or a resume writer can make your job search a more efficient, productive, and a less painful process. (And I am interested in learning more about how I can help you.) But I’d be lying if I said that I could make the agony, the frustration, and the wait-and-see between an employer interaction go away. I can’t.

The job search is hard, but sometimes working in a role that doesn’t fit you is equally awful. Here are some examples from past clients:

  • You like to work in a fast paced environment, but can’t do anything without submitting work for four levels of review.
  • You’ve never had a clean desk at home, but are working for a card-carrying member of the National Association of Organizers.
  • You spent three months preparing a presentation, then watched your boss give it and tell you that you had six hours to create a new one.

Do any of these experiences sound familiar to you? Have you ever been so unlucky? Or, conversely, have you ever been so lucky to get the job you wanted, only to discover it was the wrong job?

Personally, I’ve experienced a small taste of this. One of the things that I’ve discovered in my work life is that I have a healthy respect for rules, standards, and compliance with procedures, but also an unbearable, must-be-acted upon urge to ignore them when:

  1. The consequences of not following a rule are relatively small (like tearing a tag off a mattress), and
  2. Sticking within the guidelines isn’t helpful to others.

Here’s an example of this: When I first started my business and my website, I was told never to mention others or share links to other competitors’ website. (Why on earth would you want to drive customers away, Chandlee?)

But I can’t help it. For me, a big part of working within the careers profession is knowing when I can’t help someone–and referring them out. I’d rather have you walk away with the right information–and lose you as a potential client–than not share information with you that I think you need.

My friend and colleague, Julie Walraven, of Design Resumes, has published two pieces this week that you need to read–now. I’ll risk your leaving my website to share them. Learn about how Julie lost her job, why she thinks hurt stays with you, and how she built a thriving business out of the experience.

What’s on your mind? And how can we help?

To Your Success,


P.S. No cat was subjected to water during the writing of this post. This picture was, however, purchased on my behalf by the husband of Donna Sweidan after he graciously bathed my own elderly pet–enough said. Good friends can indeed ease the pain of traumatic experiences!

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2 Responses to The “Ouch” Factor in Job Search

  1. Thanks, Chandlee! I think it shows confidence in your own unique brand that is different than mine or our other colleagues and an understanding that working together, we will end up winning.
    Job seekers and career changers win because they have plenty to choose from to match their unique personalities.
    You and I win because I don’t know about you but I can only manage a client base of 3 to 6 clients a week depending on the size of the project or package. It is a huge world and I think there are plenty of people who need us.
    Perhaps we just solve the world’s problems, one client at a time, giving our best to help them with their challenges. We become better in the process.
    Thanks for the mention and the link… You will be blessed because of it!

  2. Chandlee,
    Great post! Thank you, too, for sharing your commitment to providing potential clients and anyone in career search or career management with valuable information, resources, and encouragement. This is one of the (many) things that makes our field so special and appreciated: we celebrate and freely highlight each other’s strengths, expertise, and qualifications. In the process, our clients/potential clients benefit and find just the right person or resource for them and we grow professionally and personally.
    (Love that Donna Sweidan’s husband kindly helped bathe your sweet pet — he’s obviously as nice as she is. ๐Ÿ™‚

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