I knew I needed a new job after coming back from a long vacation and feeling burnt out within hours of returning. Despite convincing myself this trip would remind me why I once loved my work, it only made me realize how much I didn’t miss it. So I resolved right then and there to find a new company.
But not that month, because it was September, and by the time I landed a new gig it would be too close to the holidays—and I would be too new to take any time off. Within seconds I went from feeling motivated to fighting with my hypothetical new boss about working from home over Christmas. (And as anyone who has drawn-out hypothetical conversations in their head knows, things get hostile very quickly.)
So, I stayed for several more months—growing unhappier each day, letting this mythical monster manager ruin my search. Long story short: I’m an idiot for making my life worse than it needed to be.
And I don’t want you to be one, too. If you’re currently thinking about kicking off your job search, but finding a million reasons why you can’t, I’ve got news for you: It’s all in your head. That’s why I’m running through the five excuses I hear over and over, and telling you why they’re all BS.
1. “It’s Not a Good Time”
You would totally start looking, it’s just that when you come home from the office, you’re brain dead and the only thing you can manage to do is cycle through the DVR. Or, you’re booked with dinners, gym classes, and doctor appointments. And the weekends? Forget about it. That’s your time for yourself, when you don’t have to think about work. Plus, you have that vacation coming up, and you’d hate to cancel that.
Trust me, I get it. But there’s never going to be a time in your life when you want to look for a job. It’s very unlikely you’ll ever wake up on a Saturday and think, “You know what I’d love right now? An egg sandwich and a few quiet hours to quantify the bullet points on my resume.” So you’re going to have to take a good, long hard look at your weekly commitments and find a block of time each week that you can commit to the process. Yes, this might mean turning down plans, or skipping yoga, or working late at night—but the sooner you get it done, the sooner you’ll be starting that great new gig.
2. “This New CEO’s Supposed to Fix Everything”
On one hand, you want to leave your company and find a job you truly care about. On the other hand, rumor has it this new CEO coming in will really shake things up around the place and implement polices that’ll finally let you do what you love. So, spending time applying doesn’t really make sense until you see how it all turns out.
And sure, maybe it will all work out swimmingly. But, in the meantime, waiting around for a TBD change at a TBD time isn’t doing you any favors. Instead, you’re counting on something completely out of your control to put your career back on its rightful path—which is pretty silly if you think about it. Take back control of what you do every day by looking for an ideal company that already exists, rather than waiting for the one you have now to magically change.
3. “It’s Easier to Just Wait for a Recruiter to Call”
Yes, you could work on cover letters this weekend. Or, you can sit around waiting for a recruiter to find you on LinkedIn and offer you the job of your dreams. After all, that’s what happened to your friend. One week she worked at Company X, the next she was employed at Company Y—with a killer salary to boot.
Look, that’s awesome for your friend. Also for my friend. And your cousin’s girlfriend who has a similar story. But like the excuse above, this one’s another example of you just hoping you’ll get lucky. After all, think about what has to happen to make this a reality. One: Your dream company’s hiring for a position you’re qualified for. Two: It can’t find any good candidates (which is odd because it’s the coolest) and is forced to start cruising LinkedIn. Three: The hiring manager comes across your profile, and only your profile, and cold-call messages you. Pretty unlikely, huh? Much more useful than waiting for your big break is to go after that dream company by reaching out for an informational interview, today.
4. “The Next Job Could Be Worse”
Even if you’re not thrilled to be sitting at your desk every day, you soothe yourself by thinking about your roommate’s horrible boss, your partner’s insane schedule, or worse, your friend who just got laid off. While you could definitely be kicking off the search, it seems a little risky to leave a stable position where you have a few friends, a reasonable boss, and a bunch of vacation time saved up. Plus, it took you so long to feel comfortable here, and you’d hate to start all over again.
I hear you! Starting over’s scary. But it’s only risky if you go through the process blindfolded and plan on accepting any old position. By taking the time to research companies, learn about the culture, and do reverse reference checks, you’re making it more likely you’ll land a gig you love. Especially if you know what you want out of your actual position. (And if you don’t, no stress! Instead read this and this to figure out what to do with your life.)
5. “No One’s Hiring”
You’re more than ready to get out there. In fact, the only thing that’s stopping you is that no one has open positions right now. How do you know? Oh, it’s just one of those things everyone knows. Especially in your industry—this time of year is just so dead. Anything you do now’s totally pointless.
Tell you what, you might be right. There are certainly times when it’s harder to find a job, such as December. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything to move the process along. As Muse writer Stacey Gawronski explains in an article on pain-free, productive ways to job search during the holidays, there’s plenty you can do to put yourself in a great position when the time is right. Meaning: There’s always a way you can get closer to your dream career.
Ready to get going on finding that new big opportunity? I thought so. Start the process today with this guide to kick-starting your job search in 30 minutes.
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