- How you see yourself affects your approach to job hunting.
- Feeling depressed impacts your sense of self-worth.
- Improve your self-esteem with help from an outside perspective.
It’s hard enough to choose a career path or find a job when you feel great about yourself. But if you feel lousy about yourself, it’s a next-to-impossible task.
Whether called self-esteem, self-confidence or self-worth, if yours is low, you’ll struggle with just about any career-related issue. Why? Because your feelings about yourself are behind practically everything you do — or don’t do — where your career is concerned.
Many of the college students and recent graduates I work with, whether here on MonsterTRAK.com or in person, struggle with issues of self-worth. These feelings can show up in a variety of ways. Do any of the following descriptions sound like you?
- Some students not only have trouble finding a job; they have trouble looking for a job. They just don’t feel like trying — an attitude that often carries over into the rest of their life and emerges in feelings of anxiety, despair and worthlessness, which can raise more serious concerns like clinical depression.
- Other students feel they just don’t deserve the job or career they really want, or that they won’t be able to pursue their dream job even if they try. These students believe the good jobs and careers are for someone else.
- Still other students feel completely overwhelmed by the career-selection or job-hunting process. They don’t even know where to begin, and then they start labeling themselves as stupid or dumb (or something even more demeaning) because they’re struggling, which only makes the problem that much worse.
As one student put it on the Career Planning for College Students message board:
"I’m feeling very overwhelmed. Finding a job is like wandering through a city with a hundred dead-end roads, and only a couple of roads that go anywhere. And I have to somehow find that needle in the haystack. I know that I will not get most jobs I pursue, which diminishes my motivation."
Do you recognize yourself in any of these scenarios? If so, you’re almost certainly wrestling with issues related to your self-esteem. And you’ll almost certainly continue to struggle with them — and your career or job search — until you get some help.
Your best bet is a career or personal counselor at your school — someone who is highly trained in the issues college students typically face, and who can help you develop a more objective view of yourself. Often, it takes an outsider to help you see that you are smart and talented, you do have skills and knowledge to offer the world — including the world of work — and that you can get to where you want to go.
Will you be able to quickly turn your attitude around, and become completely positive overnight? Probably not. But with guidance and support you can achieve a more balanced view of yourself, so while you may still beat yourself up from time to time with one hand, you can pat yourself on the back with the other.
You’re worth at least that much. We all are.
Take this Self-Esteem Test to see how you really feel about yourself.