Job searching. It’s simultaneously thrilling and terrifying, isn’t it? Sure, there’s a certain element of excitement that comes along with hunting for a new gig. It’s the optimism and promise of something better coming your way—that golden job that will make your entire life seem like a bed of roses.
But, when you aren’t feeling all tingly and excited about the prospect of a new position? Well, more often than not, you’re positively petrified with fear.
Let’s face it—job searching can be plain ol’ scary. With stiff competition, those dreadfully awkward interviews, and the threat of rejection constantly facing you like a firing squad poised at the ready, searching for a new job is definitely enough to have you shaking in your perfectly polished, most professional pair of dress shoes.
Yes, job hunting can inspire a certain sense of fear. However, you can take a little bit of comfort in the fact that you aren’t the only one that feels that way during your hunt for a new gig. In fact, there are several terrifying thoughts we all have when job searching.
So, here are just a few of the many, many, many hair-raising thoughts that flash through our minds. Cue the horror movie soundtrack.
1. “Oh wait, did I spell something wrong on my resume or cover letter?”
It happens to the best of us. The minute you hit “submit” on that online application, you’re suddenly convinced you called the hiring manager Julie instead of Julia or you accidentally ignored that red squiggle under “detail-oreinted”.
Before you know it, that little nugget of fear has snowballed into the idea that literally everything is spelled wrong on your resume—even your own name. You can kiss that job goodbye.
2. “I didn’t respond to the interview request fast enough, and now I’ll never hear from them again!”
You did it! Somebody actually did see your resume, and you’ve received an email inviting you in for an interview. If you’re like most of us, your first thought is that you need to respond immediately, before they can change their minds or any other candidates get the best interview slots and fill up the entire schedule. It doesn’t matter if you’re in the bathroom or at a funeral—you have to respond right this very second.
3. “Wait, did I delete that drunken karaoke video from my Facebook page?”
You’re giving yourself a pat on the back for even landing an interview, when all of a sudden panic strikes. You remember that the hiring manager will undoubtedly be combing through your social profiles. Did you delete that embarrassing karaoke video or your “Keg Stand Champ 2014” profile photo? You’re suddenly short of breath and your heart is racing. You scramble to your computer faster than Usain Bolt to delete all incriminating evidence. Whew, that was close.
4. “I’m going to rip my pants or spill coffee all over myself right before I walk into the interview, I just know it.”
The amount of ridiculous visions that fill your head before you attend a job interview are numbered in the thousands. If you aren’t already envisioning somehow destroying your entire outfit right before your interview, you’re likely obsessing over the fact that you’ll get lost on the way to the meeting, clog the sole office toilet, or get into a fender bender with the CEO in the parking lot. Something bad is bound to happen.
5. “They’re going to ask me some bizarre quiz question I won’t be prepared for. Time to memorize their entire website.”
You sit down to start preparing for your interview, when you become convinced that they’ll prompt you with some question that’s totally out of left-field—like where the company holiday party was held in 2002. You better know it all, just in case. Your time spent preparing for your interviews is reminiscent of cramming for your college finals.
6. “I’m blanking on all of that important information I rehearsed and memorized. What’s my interviewer’s name again?!”
The day before your interview, you’re feeling cool, calm, and collected. But, when the day arrives and you’re strolling across the parking lot and into the building? Well, you’re totally blanking on everything you just spent days preparing for. Your mouth goes dry and you feel like your stomach is in your shoes.
7. “I checked in with the receptionist, now what? Do I sit? Do I stand? Should I take out my phone, or is that rude? Should I be striking up a conversation? What am I supposed to do with my time?”
Arriving at the interview location is awkward and uncomfortable for everyone. And, if you’re like everybody else, your first inclination will be to way over-analyze what you should do when you get there. Don’t worry, you’re not alone.
8. “Why is she writing so many notes?! She must be making a detailed record of just how much she hates me.”
You’re chugging along through all of those interview questions, but the interviewer is scribbling notes so frantically that you’re convinced she’s transcribing her own copy of War and Peace. What could she possibly be saying about you? Whatever it is, you’re sure it’s bad.
9. “Well, I bombed that interview. I’ll never get a job!”
You finally make it through that torturous interview experience and trudge back out to your car. You’re certain you completely tanked that entire interview—so, you’re back to square one. Here we go all over again.
These all sound familiar, don’t they? Like I said, we all have these pesky, terrifying thoughts when we’re working our way through the job hunt—whether we want to admit it or not. It can be a frightening time, so these scary and obsessive speculations are totally natural.