6 signs your pandemic fatigue is sabotaging your executive job search — and how to fix it

Looking for your next executive job? Today, so many are, and often times it just doesn’t seem to be working. It may be time to evaluate to see if perhaps you are not effective in your search because of something that you are doing or not doing. You might discover that your pandemic fatigue is leading to a negative attitude and that is what is actually having an adverse consequence on your search. You might not even recognize that it is, so here are some things to consider and also solutions and ways to fix them.

You hesitate to reach out to people you know to network and connect.

You have solid experience at reputable companies that have strong corporate alumni. Additionally, you graduated from top-tier educational institutions that give you access to incredible college alumni. Yet, you don’t call these people you have paid for the opportunity to know and worked so hard to be connected to directly and indirectly. Why? Maybe you worry you won’t measure up to whom you are reaching out to. It’s possible you imagine that you are afraid they won’t want to help you because you aren’t worthy of the help. Many times, this hesitation is fear and it hinders moving a job search forward.

SOLUTION: Realize that no one is immune from a career setback or a career hiccup — particularly in a pandemic period. Your network — people you know and people you don’t know — are there to connect you to opportunity, but you must do the work for those connections to happen. It’s important to also know that you are worthy of it. So, get out there and start reaching out more.

You don’t ask for help.

Many of us are competitive people. We believe we have the ability to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and plow through whatever obstacles are in our way all by ourselves. That is, until we can’t. During a pandemic with even more challenges, it can be especially trying. Sometimes we get to a point where we do actually need help but our upbringing and conditioning subliminally tells us it is weak to ask. We think people will think we are not good at what we do if we ask, and that fear is compounded by the vulnerability of being in a position of looking for a new job.

SOLUTION: Acknowledge that it is human to not know all of the answers. Look back at your career at all of your wins — you most likely did not do all of those all by yourself and you did invoke the help of others in some capacity. We are often better when we pool the brain power of others collaboratively with our own knowledge and abilities. This situation makes me think of the 1992 movie My Cousin Vinny, where Marisa Tomei’s character tells Joe Pesci’s character it is a nightmare that he will have to continue to ask for help to continue succeeding. Funny how that still applies so much today for many job seekers.

You resist formal and informal instruction that you know will help you.

Have you signed up for training or executive coaching programs, either on your own or through your employer, and not followed the guidance of the coach or consultant brought on for your professional development? This is often a big sign of self-sabotage done by those who don’t believe they are worthy of what they are receiving or will receive as a benefit of the training. During the pandemic there seems to also be more training required because of the different nature of working remotely or just the differences that many companies are seeing today. This obviously can cause even more stress.

SOLUTION: Check your ego at the door. Listen to the guidance and advice you are receiving from the person you hired to help you or that your company is funding to assist you. Attempt to put it into practice and try it more than once if it doesn’t go smoothly the first time. Pushing yourself outside your comfort zone will expand the boundaries of your comfort zone, which equals growth.

You look for problems versus focus on solutions.

Do you feel heavy by everything that is going wrong at work? Are you someone who pokes holes in everything that comes across your laptop? Have you lost the ability to see how something can work because you seem to zero in only on how something can’t work? If these questions resonate with you, you may be resisting success by only pointing out what is the problem versus seeking the solution. In a job search, this mental albatross can look like thinking no one wants to hire you since you were rejected by one opportunity. Another example is assuming that no one will help you since you sent out a few emails that no one replied to — and you won’t acknowledge that you could have written those emails more effectively.

SOLUTION: When faced with a problem, pause and think “How can I make this work?” This may sound like an oversimplified response but shifting your mindset as to how you can make things work versus only focusing on how it can’t work is a small shift that can have massive results in how you tackle setbacks and obstacles. When done consistently, you can even develop a reputation and track record as the person in your network who figures out the solution, and this is a coveted place to be. Be the solution during this pandemic, which allows you to stand out among your peers.

You make small problems into bigger obstacles.

Mistakes happen. Problems occur. Vendors, clients, employees, and managers all have situations not go smoothly. There are people who make problems go away and then there are people who make problems bigger than what they are.

Which person are you? Looking back on some recent obstacles you have experienced, do you make them bigger than what they need to be? Examples that this point can be affecting your job search will look like being extremely hard on yourself for replying in a not-so-perfect way in a job email or making a misstep on an interview.

SOLUTION: Keep your problems right-sized so you can assess them objectively to determine the right course of action for the quickest solution. Frankly, mistakes that happen in the interview process can give you an opportunity to show how you handle problems and think on your feet, which can be a chance to impress a hiring manager. In fact, how you handle the mistake can often speak volumes more to a hiring manager than the perfect answer to a predictable interview question. It allows the interviewer to see what you are made of in your instinctive core.

You don’t have results from your job search and you believe it’s what you deserve.

This is a tough one. When someone has low self-esteem and they don’t have results they want from their job search, the end result can be a compound of them feeling it’s what they deserve and then it can spiral from there. This is especially happening more today with the isolation experienced during the crisis.

SOLUTION: When this happens — and it can happen to anyone — imagine the dearest person in your life coming to you with this comment about themselves; you would reassure them they are wrong in their assumption of their self-worth and give them examples that counter this self-defeating notion. Speak to yourself the way you would speak to others. I suggest taking an extra step and setting up a support circle of a few choice people you trust who can give you concrete examples of your worthiness when you need it most. When you see how you contribute to the lives around you, you will gain your motivation to resurge your job search effort and get traction.

Now is the time to start taking aggressive action to overcome your pandemic fatigue and negative attitude. These tips and solutions should help!

Lisa Rangel is the founder and managing director of Chameleon Resumes LLC, an executive resume writing and job landing consulting firm named a Forbes Top 100 Career Website. She has also authored 16 career resources, which can be found at joblandingacademy.com.

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