Searching for a job can easily become an obsession.
It’s kind of like getting into a new, exciting-but-energy-draining relationship over and over again, every week. With each position or company you find, there are new things to learn, insecurities that come to light, people to meet, and decisions to be made. Did they like me? Was I too forward? What should I wear? Will we be a good fit? How can I be sure this is what I want? Can I really do this?
And, just like anyone who obsesses over a new relationship, those of us who have been consumed by the search for a new job can easily overdo it when turning to our friends for a listening ear. So, how do you avoid becoming that dramatic, desperate-for-a-new-job friend? It’s not easy, but here are a few tips to help you be more aware of how your job search could be affecting your friendships.
Speak With, Not At
If you’re finding cool jobs every week, talking to people on the phone, and setting up interviews, you’re going to want to tell your friends about every one—and that’s OK. It’s the reality of what your life is right now, and your friends will understand. But do be careful not to step over the line. If you find yourself listing out every opportunity you get and regurgitating everything you just Googled about the company you’re meeting with the next day, then you’re probably going overboard and dominating the conversation (not to mention really boring your friends who are in other industries).
It’s great to tell your friends about your job search, but the rules of normal conversation still apply. Make sure you’re not just talking at them, but that you're engaging with them. Ask them what they think, if they’ve heard of an industry or organization, and what their past interviews and job searches were like. If you feel yourself drifting into a one-way conversation, make an effort to guide it back to a proper exchange.
Get a New Perspective
Your friends like you, and they more than likely want to help you—so let them! Asking your friends for interview advice or their thoughts on a company you’re looking into can help you get an outsider’s perspective on your decisions. You may think you’re the expert on your industry or what companies in your field are looking for, but sometimes talking to someone who’s not so close to your job search can give you some much-needed perspective. Chances are, you’ll gain some good ideas about how to phrase answers in an interview situation or learn ways to tweak your resume.
Again, though, be cautious about how much you’re leaning on any one person. Seeing if a friend can take a peek at your cover letter is one thing—asking someone to spend an entire weekend running through mock interviews with you is entirely another.
Talk about Something Else (Duh)
I know it seems obvious, but when you’re consumed by the search, it’s always good to be reminded that there are other things in life besides you. Make sure you take the time to discuss the really important things in life with your friends: things like your other friends, your family, the Kardashians, what you ate that day, puppies, the political situation in Nepal, that great New Yorker article you just read, or whatever other silly or serious topics naturally come up when you and your friends get together. It’ll do you good to think about something other than your job search for a while. Plus, isn’t the fun stuff one of the main benefits of friendships?
It’s great to go to your friends for guidance and support—that’s what they’re there for, and if they’re good friends, they’ll be happy to hear about how your job search is going. Just make sure you’re not so consumed by your search that you forget that you’re there to offer guidance, support, and a little comic relief for them, too.
Photo of friends talking courtesy of Shutterstock.
Megan is a writer, editor, and public relations professional who has worked in publishing and education for the last seven years. She’s currently working for a higher-education startup in San Francisco and is obsessed with books, fancy cheese, dive bars, making herself tired, and basically anything ridiculous and beautiful.More from this Author