Surrender the Invisible Negative Cloak

A woman I’ll call Susan met with me about her job search a few years ago. She’d been downsized when her telecommunications company was hit during the recession. Susan was a professional executive assistant and presented herself very well. She had an excellent resume and terrific skills. Then it happened. As she became comfortable talking to me, her façade broke. Susan was frustrated after looking for months. Her conclusion? She was in her 50’s, so no one was interested. Never mind that the market was terrible! Never mind that you couldn’t tell her age from her resume! Though I tried, I couldn’t change her mind. Additionally, she was opposed to doing temporary work.

I‘m convinced that age, in particular, was already a fear factor when she started her job search, and she wore it like an invisible negative cloak. It was woven with her fear as well as her anger about being laid off. Hiring managers surely sensed it was there. It sort of hid her pain, and what the hiring manager sensed was that there was something not quite right – something not quite open about her.

You need to understand that seasoned recruiters and hiring managers have finely honed instincts. They’ll sense they’re talking to someone wearing an invisible negative cloak. However, most won’t really know why they’re observing contradictions or hearing a slight edge of bitterness in the answers they receive. They can’t quite put their finger on why they don’t want to hire this person despite outstanding qualifications. This is why job seekers who have fear must gain confidence, who have bitterness must gain perspective, and who have doubts must gain faith. Managers want to hire people with a can-do attitude, but they also want people who can grow and learn from their experiences. If you’ve been burned in your previous job situation, then examine the experience, become philosophical about it and move on.

Susan’s story has a happy ending. Though she was previously resistant, she decided to take advantage of our firm’s temporary division. She took a good-paying, long-term assignment as an executive assistant. By accepting the assignment, she surrendered her notion that she couldn’t be valued by an employer. Sure, persistence was a factor, but it’s probably no coincidence that when she opened to this new opportunity, she attracted abundance. She called me about a week after she started. Apparently, she had received 3 or 4 other offers to interview – all in the same week! She loved the company and the manager she was supporting at the temporary assignment. Furthermore, they were in discussions about converting her into a permanent staff member. Ironically, she ended up declining those other opportunities and took the job which had started out temporary. How cool is that!

Susan shed the invisible negative cloak by doing a sort of surrender. Surrendering didn’t require a 12-step program either. It was simple. She decided to accept whatever was going to happen. She also let go of the baggage, kept an open mind and stayed committed to her job search. With the right attitude, Susan showed it can be done!

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