There are a lot of explanations behind this phenomena but here’s the one showing up in my life: a loss of belief in one’s own judgment. Last month I applied for a job where I did not meet one of the minimum requirements. I didn’t do this to fill my quota; I firmly believed that the rest of my experience might make up for this lack. Or, so I believed until I made it to the third round of interviews where I sat, looking outwardly poised but inwardly looking for the exit, and listened to one of the key managers describe their expectations- none of which had anything to do with my skills or background. How was it I knew I could not possibly do this job but they did not?
The flip side came last week when I applied for a job on Craigslist. By and large it was a customer service position but with a thin patina of ‘writing’ added which is what piqued my interest. Less than one day after the interview the hiring manager sent me an email outlining the comp package. He’s loving me, right? You don’t send that to every candidate. He asked me back for a single afternoon“trial run” of the job. Odd but…all right. I spent the afternoon performing customer support duties and realized I was over-qualified for the job only to be told today that they had hired someone else with “more experience”.
On the one hand, I’m not qualified but the employer pursues me and on the other, I’m over-qualified, the employer acts like he loves me but then rejects me. This is messed up in a way that reminds me of a guy I dated all through college. He was a serial philanderer and his psychological M.O. was to blame me because I didn’t ‘trust’ him which caused him to cheat. Twisted, yes, but he was my first love and I was young and stupid. What he left me with (which is making itself apparent again 30 years later) is an inability to trust myself. The way I perceive things is inaccurate. I don’t feel as if I know any longer how to interpret people’s words and actions. As I step forward, what I believe is ground may be thin air.
If I can no longer trust myself how can I project confidence when and if I get an interview? How much longer do I want to put myself out there in a situation that causes me nothing but pain? How high a price should anyone pay to get a job? I’m reverting to a self I fought for years to overcome and rather than do so may join the 14.5% of unemployed Americans who have “given up”.