If you are an anxious person who is thinking about getting a new job then your anxiety may be getting in the way from you actually getting that new job. As a psychotherapist, I see many young adult clients who are either right out of school and in need of finding their first full-time job or adults who dislike their current job and want to transition to a new job. Below are 4 ways that anxious symptoms can prevent people from getting a new job.
Anchor Therapy is a counseling center in Hoboken, NJ with psychotherapists specialized to help teens and adults with anxiety, depression, and life transitions.
Feeling you are not good enough for the job
It is a great feeling if you know what job, business, or career path you want for your future. But it is okay if you are not sure of exactly what you want to do with your future because a majority of people feel that way. Whether you are confident in your career path or you have no idea, you may still feel that you are not good enough for a specific job. In your job search, you may come across a job description which you feel you are under qualified for therefore you don’t apply. Before you totally dismiss applying to a job, I want you to question your choice. Ask yourself if you feel you are not experienced or good enough for this job or if you actually don’t meet the specific minimum requirements.
You want to challenge your thoughts that may be telling you that you are not good enough or experienced enough for a job. It will not hurt you to apply for a job that you feel are under qualified for. The people who are looking at applications may come across something in your application that sparks an interest with them and they may want to take the next steps. Or they may look at your qualifications and see that you fit in a different role they have open within their company. Or they may believe that you are not a good fit and will not reach out to you. But one thing is guaranteed: If you don’t try by applying, you will not get the job.
So if you find yourself over analyzing a job description and going back and forth in your head if you should apply- just do it. And if you do get a call from them to schedule an interview then you can think about it more. But don’t let your anxious thoughts cause you to take up time over analyzing if you should apply or not. When it comes to job searching, the more you put yourself out there the better.
Feeling anxious about an upcoming interview
If you reached the part of the job search in which you received interest in setting up an interview then your anxiety may actually increase at this point. First you need to decide if this job interests you enough to spend your time going to an in-person or video/phone call interview. You don’t want to over analyze this part again since you are not accepting a job by accepting an interview. You go on an interview to learn more about the position and company. They will in turn learn more about you as a worker as well. Look at the interview as something that will help you further make decisions. And it is always good practice to go on an interview to become more comfortable with what questions will be asked of you. While debating going on an interview, it is not the time to question if you are good enough for the position. The company clearly think you are good enough as they want to take the next step in interviewing you.
If you do decide to go on the interview then you may feel an increase in anxious symptoms as it approaches. This may include an increase in physical symptoms such as an increased heart beat, shortness of breath or an increase in feeling worried. These symptoms are likely to increase as the interview gets nearer. This is normal to happen as it shows you care about how you will do on the interview. Remind yourself that this is how your body is showing you that you care.
When people feel anxious, they want to avoid what is making them feel anxious. It would be common for someone with anxiety to not end up going on the job interview. In order to go to the interview, you will have to face your anxiety head on. You can refocus your thoughts as I have described a little already to remind yourself that this is your anxiety creeping in and it just shows you care about doing well in the interview. You can also use breathing techniques and mindfulness techniques to help you relax. You can listen to free podcasts and YouTube channels to help you with this, attend a yoga class, or get a massage prior to the interview. If you are not doing so already, you can see a mental health therapist to help you with your anxious symptoms and help you prepare for your interviews so that you feel more confident.
Worried about leaving the comfort of your current job
If you are already working at a job it may be hard to feel confident in leaving it. Someone with anxiety may feel that any other job could be worse than the job they’re already in. I can’t agree or deny this as we don’t know what will happen next in life. It can’t be promised that your next job will be better. But what you do know is that you want to change your job. If you feel strongly about this then you need to listen to yourself. There will be anxious thoughts that pop into your head trying to get yourself to second guess your decision. You want to notice that you are having these doubts and really explore where they’re coming from. Are there positive reasons you want to stay at your job or is it the anxiety and worries that are keeping you there? The best changes comes from going out of your comfort zone.
Experiencing “What If…” thoughts
Anyone who has experienced anxiety has had a, “What if…” thought. Some examples are, “What if I leave this terrible job, but then the next job has an even worse boss and I hate it?” or, “What if I apply for years and no one ever wants me and I’ll be unemployed forever?” or “What if I apply to this job and they want to interview me, but then I don’t actually want to take the job?” These thoughts are usually worries about what is going to happen in your future or over analyzing what you could have done in the past. These thoughts are not helpful. You can create all types of stories and scenarios in your head that are 100% imaginary. These thoughts will snowball and cause your anxiety to increase.
To not get stuck in the snowball, you want to notice that you are having “What if…” thoughts and refocus them to reality. Ask yourself, “is that really happening right now?” or “did that actually happen”? If the answer is no then you must refocus on what is actually happening right now. If you need some extra help then you can point out things you notice around you in your space. This is a grounding technique that can keep you mindful on what is currently happening around you.
If you able to acknowledge your anxiety and keep going then you are successful. Your anxiety will want you to avoid applying for jobs and avoid going on interviews.
So do the opposite.
If your anxiety is telling you that you are not good enough and not to apply to a job- then apply anyway! If your anxiety is strong and causing major problems then reach out to a mental health professional for some extra help.
Courtney Glashow, LCSW
is a licensed psychotherapist practicing in Hoboken, New Jersey. She specializes in helping teens and adults with anxiety, depression, and life transitions through counseling. Courtney can help NY or NJ residents through telehealth (video/phone) therapy sessions as well.