Who Owns Your Job Search?

Sometimes I get comments from readers that offer so much practical wisdom I just have to share their words. Mack wrote to tell us he’s been laid off since January and has been a finalist for TWELVE different jobs since then – some definite “no”s but a few held up for one reason or another. It takes a lot to keep your attitude up when you can almost taste the job and then it is either pulled away or disappears completely.

As Mack puts it:

“Between coming in second place in most of these jobs and being in limbo for the rest, it’s just a drag on the psyche. (The process is also a reminder of why so many stay in jobs even if they despise their managers, their colleagues, even the work itself; job hunting sucks.)”

Well said, Mack. 😉

Luckily, he has a previous job search experience that reminds him sometimes you just have to keep going:

“I always have to keep in mind that I’ve been through this before for an 18-month spell [and he got the job], and that I’ve at least gotten to the final round for some of the jobs for which I’m applying. And that in each situation, there was probably someone who is applying for the same job who has gone through the same tiresome process for a longer time than I — and he or she may have been due for their “yes”. Doesn’t always make me feel better, but it keeps things in perspective.”

Adopting an Owner’s Mentality

So what does Mack do to keep going and still keep his great (and yet realistic) attitude? Here’s what he says about having an “owner’s mentality.”:

The uncertainty of the hiring process is one reason why I’ve long ago adopted an owner’s mentality. That is, instead of looking at this as the desperate attempt to get some company to hire me for a job, it is a chance to match up my talents, skills and ambitions to a firm that wants to partner with me for a time (and is deserving of them). In many ways, it is adaption to economic reality: No job is permanent; no employer is [guaranteed to be] loyal (if this was ever the case); and you are merely a full-time equivalent whose talents are only as valuable to the firm as they fit into its mission, goals and financial condition.

This reality is as true for each of us as it is for the companies on the other side of the transaction: If an organization doesn’t provide you with what you desire for your life (from benefits to career success), then you shouldn’t stay with them.

Such a mindset isn’t exactly comforting, especially when you need the check to pay the bills; but at least it is clearheaded and allows you to stop falling in love with every opening for which you apply. And while it doesn’t keep me from falling into occasional bouts of despair, I can at least keep my head above water. Or at least try.

I thought that was well worth sharing with all of you because of what he says and because so many people can relate! While the company of course calls a lot of the shots, you are the one in charge of your own job search. You can change your resume. You can network. You can snoop for openings not advertised on jobs search engines. You  can brush up your interview skills. You can network some more. 😉 And most of all, you can remember that you are still the same, strong capable person no matter how many rejections you get. Your “yes” may be just around the corner.

I think it helps to remember that.

So what do you think? How can you make an owner’s mentality work for you?

Original article where Mack’s comment appeared:

15 Job Search Tips from a Guy Who Just Got a Job


About the author…

Ronnie Ann, founder of Work Coach Cafe, bases her real-world advice on her many years as an organizational consultant where she helped interview and hire people, added to a certificate from NYU in Career Planning & Development and her own adventures as a serial job seeker. She can also be found on her new blog, and on Google+.


  1. Hannah Morgan says:

    Ronnie Ann:

    This is a super post and I am so glad you used Mack’s own words!

    Job search does suck, big time!

    His understanding and commitment to take ownership is brave! It is what so many career professionals recommend but it one of the hardest pills for job seekers to swallow.

    It sounds like there is some emotional detachment going on as well. Survival mode kicks in after awhile.

    The only caution I would urge is to remain passionate about what you love to do! Not what you can do, because there’s no passion in that.

    Thanks Ronnie!

    • Thank YOU Hannah. Appreciate what you said about passion as well as what being in survival mode – especially long-term survival mode – can do to a person. In the end, finding things we truly care about can make all the difference. And if a job-job is necessary for whatever reason, all the more reason to make sure we add passion to our personal lives. 😉

    • Mack Simmons says:

      Thanks, Hannah. The detachment is a form of survival mode, of course. But it is also based on a reality: A job is only great when you are hired for them (and even that can change once you are in the role). Otherwise they are just great opportunities. And you have to think of them as that.

      I had to remember that this week after learning that I came in second place again for another gig. The organization is a fine one — and one I thought offered great opportunities. But it was just that. It was disappointment (especially after three interviews and a project that took up time that I could have used for earning more-guaranteed cash). But the disappointment was easier to deal with once I remembered that there were other great opportunities out there, one of which will lead to great full-time employment.

      This said, you are right about this: You have to have passion for your field and your career path. That’s important. I am passionate about my field and what I contribute to the world. I am so passionate about my field, I would do what I do for free, but also so good at it that I can get paid for it. This means that I am still earning an income even without the perceived stability of a full-time job. And if the organization with which I am interviewing doesn’t realize that, then I will be disappointed, but still okay; my “yes” will eventually come.

      Now, if the yes would finally come. Preferably, today. At three o’clock.

      • Thanks for the terrific comment, Mack. I just love your attitude. Now I’d like to love hearing you got that job! Fingers crossed. 😉

  2. This is a great post! I really appreciate Mack’s comments. I have had two interviews this week, one a second round, and one for a perfect life-balance fit job, and while I want to be in love with both, I know that there are other candidates. It’s disheartening to get so close, and then to get no, no and no, even if it’s ‘one step closer to yes.’ In my case, I have nothing else in the hopper (i’ve been looking but no returns) so I’m feeling particularly needy about these two.
    I’m telling myself (over and over) that if the life-balance job doesn’t work out, it’s not necessarily a bad thing, and if neither works out, I’ll just keep on chugging… but it is good to hear affirmation that it’s okay to get no’s.
    Thank you for this.
    P.S. I just had the weirdest interview ever. Do you have anything on how to read weird interviews?

    • Glad this article helped. You are so right about “keep on chugging”. 😉 I wish you MUCH luck getting a yes soon.

      As for weird interviews, not sure I have anything specifically on that. Plenty of stuff I don’t think is weird after all this time, others do.

      I still think the things I mention in How to Tell If a Job Interview Went Well apply. But basically, how did it feel to you, especially at the end?

  3. The opening a candidate interviews for can be withdrawn in an instant due to budget constraints.

    Tenacity wins, whether or not the job is offered.

    Much like being on the job, it’s about getting in there and doing the work day after day.

  4. In reference to my weird interview: I felt communication was way off on their end… they were vague and nothing seemed to click right, and I didn’t feel I was connecting with them — it wasn’t an easy conversation. But I went through it, all smiles and professionalism, and I got a second interview with them. I’ve learned I’m not the best at judging how I appear to people!

    • You’re not alone, Lisa. It’s often hard to read all the cues, especially in the first interview. Also some places try not to show too much in interviews. Just make sure now that you are able to communicate enough with them to feel comfortable in the job, ok?

      Good luck! Please let us know what happens.

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