Career Advice – Wanting A Job Too Much

May 19, 2009

Recently, I have been working with a number of talented information security professionals that are currently in between positions.  This recent change in their employment is most caused by external factors, mostly focused on broader economic environment, then their individual performance.   These professionals find themselves in an unfamiliar position, and under a good amount of stress.  From my perspective, the stress comes in two different categories, financial and personal. 

The financial stress is quite easy to figure out.  Severances are running out, savings are depleting, and resposnibilites remain.  The personal stress traditional begins with a deflation of one’s self -esteem.  People question their value, their roie in their profession, and their overall usefulness.   The idle time does not help.

The idle time is mostly spent worrying about the future.  It illustrates how liitle control that you currently have over your present situation.  The silence  and lack of feedback becomes deafening.  You become consumed with questions /statements  that include- “Why have I not heard back from that company”, “Is my resume correct?”, “When is the right time to follow-up?”,  “Am I being a pest?”, “Have they decided to go another direction?” etc. 

When people start asking these questions to themselves, they begin to create a feeling of anxiety.  When these feelings begin to creep up on you, many times it clouds  your judgement, and produces a feeling of desperation.   When you begin to have these feelings internally, it is almost impossible for them to not come out in conversations with perspective employers and during interviews.  Many times, without realizing it, candidates will share some of their personal hardships during these discussions and it creates an uncomfortable mood.   It also creates the feeling of desperation.  This  causes these potential employers to believe that you are searching  for “any position” as opposed to “their position”. 

So, how do you avoid “Wanting a Job Too Much?”   Here are some things that you might want to consider:

1)   Remember that you have talent, and know what that talent is.     Talent is the key to any professional,s career.  Chances are if you have built a career in the Information Security profession, you have built it on a foundation of skills.  Knowing those skills, and how to apply them to the role that you are searching for is key.

2) Think back to the time when you were “over recruited.”  You all remember those times when you were gainfully employed and you had multiple employment offers from competing companies.  You remember how it felt to be wanted and to be in demand.  That was a good feeling to have.  Those people who came looking for you in the past, will come looking for you again.  It just may take a little longer to find you.   Carry that attitude into any interview situation.  Exhibit confidence, without being “cocky”.

3) Take your mind off the job search.  Regardless of how much stress that you are under at home or financially, you have to take your mind off that for a period of time each day.  Use that time to do something that makes you happy or that you have neglected due to your work schedule.  Maybe this will remind you why you do work, and give you more incentive to balance your career and your life.  It might also provide you with some clarity as to what type of position that you are searching for. 

The three items above are geared to help you more mentally then financially.  However, if you take care of the mental aspects of a job search, you should find yourself with the abillity to think clearly,  be exposed to more opportunites and leave yourself with better options. 

In closing, I think that everyone should look around what is happening to themselves or to their peers.  This can happen to anyone.  Plan accordingly.  The better you plan, the less stress you will have.

Posted by lee | Filed Under Advice, Behavior, Personal 


9 Responses to “Career Advice – Wanting A Job Too Much”

  1. rodmar on May 21st, 2009 8:34 am

    when you have a job and you are in that state of personal stress like described above, should you speak with your supervisor about that?
    Or should you just wait?

  2. lee on May 22nd, 2009 11:18 am

    I think that this comes down to the relationship that you have with your supervisor. In a perfect world, you would have developed a relationship that extends beyond the work environment, if that is the case, if you are confident in the strenght of that relationship, by all means, have a conversation outside the confines of the work environment.

    If your relationship is not that strong, and purely employer and employee, make sure that if you do decide to approach this converation, you have a plan of aciton behind it. Sometimes things are better left unsaid.

    Hope this helps.


  3. Anton Chuvakin on May 22nd, 2009 1:47 pm

    “Career Advice – Wanting A Job Too Much”

    Please also write about “Career Advice – Wanting A Job Too LITTLE”

    I was interviewing some folks and it totally annoys me when people just aren’t enthusiastic even though their likely want/need/can do the job.

  4. Couch to Career - Follow up | on May 23rd, 2009 2:38 pm

    [...] Lee Kushner writes about “Wanting a Job Too Much” [...]

  5. cmdline » Blog Archive » Couch to Career - Follow up - on May 23rd, 2009 7:41 pm

    [...] Lee Kushner writes about “Wanting a Job Too Much” [...]

  6. Matt Harrigan on May 26th, 2009 6:32 pm

    Solid advice Lee, as usual. I think the current economic conditions have taken people who are already normally twitchy and concerned and turned them into utter head cases during interviews.

    Not to exempt myself from this in the slightest… It was probably 10 years ago when Lee told me “dude, just relax for 5 minutes. we’ll get you into a solid position.”

    Energy is much better focused on enhancing yourself to stand out from the resume stack than it is worrying about whether or not you’re lame.

  7. Rose on May 28th, 2009 1:43 am

    If these guys are such great security professionals, how come they aren’t making money being black hat hackers?

    Wasn’t there a point where the white hats where hiring the black hats because they wanted them off the market? When the market tanks, how come these guys aren’t turning entrepreneurial?

  8. lee on May 28th, 2009 8:19 am

    There is a code of ethics that clearly differentiates an Information Security professional from a “hacker.” If you go back about 15 years agon, there were not many Information Security positions where one could do innovative work and earn a fair salary, leading many people to choose the “Black Hat” world. Now that Information Security has become a popular career destination, it is possible to do interesting work, earn a good living, and not compromise your integrity.

    I sincerely hope that no one decides to throw away their professional career, to become a criminal.

    Short term solutions usually turn into long term problems.


  9. cmdline » Blog Archive » Couch to Career – Follow up on June 11th, 2009 8:02 am

    [...] Lee Kushner writes about “Wanting a Job Too Much” [...]