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Wanting a Job Too Much

23 May 2022

"This job is me."

I am this job.

Everyone sees me in this job.

This job is everything I have worked for.

I am perfect for this job.
Are any of the above quotes familiar?

While it is essential to be excited about a job you are applying for there is an unhealthy zone in which it is possible to want a job too much and over attach your identity with it.  

Over identification with a role you are applying for can see you attach self worth to getting the job or the promotion.  The danger that lurks here is that you lose perspective, making it hard to see both the positive and the negative aspects of the role. In effect, you put on rosy glasses and see only the benefits you believe will come from being successful in obtaining the role.

It also increases the pressure you are likely to put on yourself in the selection process (especially the interview).

If you feel you are becoming a little too identified with a role or promotion you have coming up try some of these ideas:

  • Take some time out to connect to your own personal values.  Do a values assessment, journal about your values, discuss your values with a friend.  Connecting to your values reminds you of your inherent worth and goodness and weakens the link between external outcomes (i.e. getting the job) and your internal sense of value.
  • Engage in some perspective thinking.  Imagine that this 'perfect role' is not available and think about what else you could do to advance/develop your career.  There are always many more options once you start looking.
  • Fast forward two years and from this distance ask yourself what benefits could come from NOT getting this role.
  • Consider spreading the load and applying for a range of other roles at the same time.

The other problem with over identification with a role comes if you are not successful in getting it.  No matter how suited you may be for a role you can never control who else may apply and the extraordinary qualities (at least in the eyes of the panel) they might bring, so the outcome may not always go your way.  Over identification will increase feelings of disappointment (anger, shame, helplessness...) if you are not successful in the selection.  This is unhealthy for you.  It is especially unhealthy if the successful candidate is someone you need to work with if the role was an internal one.  

Remember that no matter how suited you are to a particular role, there is always an abundance of opportunities you can pursue in your career.  No one role is the 'perfect' or the 'only'.

As always wishing you a flourishing career


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