Why a little pessimism can help your job hunt

Anne Fisher

Let’s say you’ve been job-hunting for a while now. Your significant other is getting impatient, your bank account looks anemic, and you’re feeling pretty blue.

That’s normal, according to longtime career coach Doug Hensch, author of Positively Resilient: 5 ½ Secrets to Beat Stress, Overcome Obstacles, and Defeat Anxietyespecially since “in our society, a job is about more than a paycheck. So much of our identity is tied to our careers.”

If a job search that’s dragging on and on is getting you down, here’s a tip: Don’t waste a lot of energy trying to cheer up.

“One of the many myths about resilience is that it requires ‘positive’ feelings,” Hensch says. “In fact, even saying ‘positive’ versus ‘negative’ emotions implies that one is good and the other is bad, and that’s just not true. To get through tough times, you need a balance of both.”

Monster recently talked with Hensch about how to turn “negativity” into a strength, and other ways to be more resilient.

Q. You mention in the book that you’re a pessimist by nature, and explain why that’s not always a bad thing. Can that apply to a job search?

A. Yes, it can. A lot has been said and written about visualizing great outcomes ahead of time, as a step toward making them happen. For instance, think about a job interview going really well, and how great it would be to get that job offer. That can boost your confidence, and that’s fine.

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