Question: What can REBT offer a person who is involved in job hunting? Getting a job can be a hard and frustrating search. Sometimes I get down and dread searching and networking even though I know that these are good things to do. How can REBT help me?
1. By now I should have found the job I am looking for.
2. It is unbearable to do these unrewarding tasks day in and day out and come up empty handed.
3. I have to find a job that makes me happy, with a comfortable commute, and compensates me financially what I think I should be compensated.
4. Because I do not have a job, I am a loser.
REBT can offer you considerable help by offering rational alternative attitudes to each of the above four self-defeating, rigid and extreme attitudes. Adoption of these rational attitudes will strengthen your degree of resilience when the going gets difficult and the search moves into consecutive months. It is important and realistic to acknowledge that while you are job hunting you want to feel healthy negative emotions. You want to feel concerned, disappointed, and remain in a state of unconditional self-acceptance. These are healthy negative emotions that will flow from rational attitudes, which do not change your feelings towards yourself, as you do those uncomfortable and unrewarding tasks that are a prerequisite for a job. You will NEVER be exceptionally happy while looking for a job but if you are concerned, disappointed and remain in a state of unconditional self-acceptance instead of depressed, angry, anxious, and ashamed you will steadily look for a job instead of avoiding the process. You will also tend not to put your life and happiness on hold while you are searching for the job you desire. REBT teaches people how to have some happiness even when their life is incomplete or not as they want it to be. This is an essential skill to learn in order to live the most fulfilling and happy life possible because once you get a job some new problem, challenge, or adversity is likely to take its place and the happiness you had when you achieved your goal of finding a job will be very short lived!
See that the above rigid and extreme attitudes are irrational because they are interfering with surviving the job hunting process and being as happy as possible while doing it. In general REBT theory starts with the assumption that your general goals are largely to be happy and to survive. Rational attitudes help you achieve these general goals AND all the sub-goals that define your happiness and help you to survive the difficult periods of life such as when searching for a good or better job. Here are the rational attitudes I want you to repeat strongly to yourself so that you cling to them at those moments when you begin to feel weak, tired, and emotionally miserable or anxious:
1. I really wish that by now I would have found the job I am looking for but that has NOT happened and demanding that it has happened by this point in the game will only cause me to feel anger and self-pity. No one knows how many submissions of their resume it will take in advance of their search but one thing I can be sure of is that as soon as I hit that unknown magic number an offer will be made. That is how it works. It would be lovely if the universe had a law that said everyone’s job search must occur in no more than 10 application submissions. Unfortunately, that law of the universe does not exist. Keep at the search for as long as necessary and you will succeed!
2. It is very unrewarding and therefore difficult to do these job search tasks day in and day out and come up empty handed but it is not unbearable. If it were unbearable I would no longer be alive and able to complain to myself about how hard the search has become. If I want to continue the search I had better convince myself that continuing to search is bearable and stopping the search is the kiss of death.
3. I want to find a job that makes me happy, is a close distance from my home, and pays what I would like it to pay but it does not have to happen that way. Life on earth generally means compromise and settling for something that is good enough at this time all things considered. I can demand the perfect job or I can be realistic and accept what I can find and commit myself to being happy despite not finding the ideal job.
4. Because I do not have a job, I have a problem. No matter how many other people think differently and judge my worth as a person, to conclude I am a loser is flat out invalid. Human worth is not validly measured by a job, your income, or any other standard. Some jobs are better than others. Some people are better candidates for some jobs as compared to other people. The person who gets the job is not a better person, does not have greater human worth, but does have the job. Good for them. To define myself as a loser because I do not have a job or the job I ideally want will only get in the way of someday having that job. I always maintain unconditional self-acceptance and then keep doing what will increase my chances of someday landing that dream job.
Disclaimer: The response found in this column is for educational purposes only. This is not psychotherapy and you are not advised to act upon the educational information found above. This column attempts to show how one could analyze different problems using the philosophy and core concepts of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy. This is not the proper medium for you to receive treatment for a problem discussed in this column. If you need assistance seek a qualified mental health provider in your locale or go to a hospital to seek immediate assistance. If are experiencing suicidal thoughts call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or call 911 in located in the United States.