Three Lies Trauma Will Tell You When You’re Job Hunting

Three Lies Trauma Will Tell You When You’re Job Hunting

 Trauma, especially any kind of abusive relationship, can leave us feeling inadequate, incompetent, and with a giant dollop of imposter syndrome. Not a great position to be in when wanting to put your best foot forward! The good news is that awareness of trauma’s big little lies can remind us that they’re just that—lies.

Lie #1: You don’t have any skills.

Chances are, you have gathered more experience over time than you realize. If you have a supportive person in your life, ask them to sit down with you and take notes as you describe each job you’ve had and all the things you did in that job. Then move on to volunteer experience, then hobbies. You’ll probably end up with a bigger list than you thought. Remember, abusive people want us to believe that we can’t do anything so that we’ll stay in the abusive situation. It’s not because it’s true. In fact, the more skilled we are, the more they’ll work hard to convince us that we aren’t.

Lie #2: You can’t do anything right.

We know this can’t be true because you’re still alive! You must have somehow found a way to consume food, to use the internet to be able to read this article, and so on and so on. You’ve probably done at least a dozen things right today already but just not noticed. Plus, finding and succeeding at a job isn’t about doing everything right. It’s how we handle and learn from our mistakes that matters.

Lie #3: Don’t bother applying—they won’t want you anyway.

So I can’t guarantee that any particular job is going to say yes. I can say that we often hesitate to apply for jobs if we don’t meet every single criteria. Job postings are like employers’ wish lists! They often know it’s unlikely that they will find all of those things in one person. So if you’re interested and come close to the criteria, it might be worth your time to throw your hat in the ring. You never know when it might work out. The one thing we DO know is that if you don’t apply, you definitely won’t get the job.

There are plenty more lies out there, but these are just a start. When you notice that voice showing up to discourage you, thank it for its concern and then see if you can move through the application anyway while it chatters in the background. And good luck!

There’s more on my blog about trauma and work and some other things too. I’m a licensed clinical psychologist in Austin, TX, who loves helping people rebuild a meaningful life after going through awful things.

 Image courtesy of Andrew Neel