By Carrie Maldonado
Any time we are in an unpleasant-feeling situation, we have two choices in how to respond: there is rationalization and there is truth.
Rationalization is a process of telling yourself a story about something to make yourself feel better about that situation. The purpose of rationalization is to keep yourself from taking the scary step towards change. Truth, on the other hand, leads to freedom, hope and change. How so, you ask?
How Telling the Truth Supports Your Employment Goals
Here is an example. Suppose you've sent your resume out to hundreds of health care facilities, only been on a couple interviews, and have never received a call back let alone a job offer. Rationalization says, "Everyone knows this is a competitive field, and besides that, I'm being discriminated against because I'm [fill in the blank], so I guess there's nothing I can do." Now, you can feel good about the effort you've put into your job search and no further effort is required. Yay, rationalization!
However, if the end goal is to get the job of your dreams, this has not particularly advanced your cause. Truth says "There is something about either the quality of my resume or my interviewing skills that is not resonating with the employers I'm selecting. Health care is a highly selective field and I need to go back and make sure my resume is as crisp, professional, and sellable as possible, and I need to choose employers and positions that are a fit with my knowledge, skills and abilities."
With this tactic, you may feel a little bit overwhelmed because that's a lot of work ahead of you, but you probably also feel hopeful, because there is still action to be taken. Feel hopeful, lots of effort. So why not just choose rationalization? Except...
Is the end goal to be employed, or to feel good about not being employed? Rationalization leads to inaction and that is its danger. Even though you feel okay, you're not actually okay, and you're not actually doing anything helpful with the lie. And while truth doesn't change reality either, it is the doorway to hope and change and that does change things.
Here are 5 ways telling yourself the truth will help you advance your job search:
1. You will become aware of the things you are doing to prevent your goal.
Are you ignoring the field in the application that lets you input a customized cover letter, or neglecting to proof read your resume? Once you open yourself to the possibility that there are things you could do better, you WILL see them.
2. You will become a powerful decision maker in your life, and not a victim.
You know what? You may decide that you would rather not be employed than undertake a particular commute, or work in a certain environment. That's okay. The important realization is that you get to choose which job you accept and truth is the vehicle to choice.
3. You get to have hope.
If you have ever experienced the nagging solace that rationalization provides versus the excitement that hope brings, you know the value of hope.
4. You get to make peace with yourself.
If you have been sabotaging yourself in advancing your health care career, or doing things to undermine your progress in your field, it's possible that on some level you feel guilt or even shame about this. It might not be something you'd ever admit to another person, but it's there. By pulling off the Band-Aid, you get to heal and move on.
5. You get to have change.
And that's the best part. Once you have let go of your 'stories' about why you're not getting job offers, you get to stop old behavior and start something new.
So if you've been frustrated in your health care job search, maybe it's time to look at it with a fresh pair of eyes to see if there's anything you could be doing different or better to get different results.
About the Author
As a certified HR Professional, executive coach and CV writer, Carrie Maldonado divides her time between consulting with small to mid-size businesses and career coaching with executives in transition.
The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author, and do not represent the views of WoundSource, Kestrel Health Information, Inc., its affiliates, or subsidiary companies.