Tough Love: Stop Whining and Take Responsibility

“Character- the willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own life- is the source from which self-respect springs.” ~ Joan Didion

That quote hit me like a punch in the face when I first read it. At once I understood and agreed with what she meant, but I also felt accused and chastised. I suppose that is the point, right? It is so very easy to blame others for my own failures, missteps or lack of success. However, if I stop and look at my life objectively, any mistakes are my own, not someone else’s. And rather than bellyache about them I should just take responsibility for them and push on. Get better. Succeed.

I’m guessing you are not any different.

If you are in the middle of a long job search then I’d guess it is even easier to fall into that place where you’d rather throw a pity party than do the hard work to overcome obstacles and succeed. I get it. I’ve been there too. But the thing is, after a while, that behavior starts to become a habit. Then our whining and complaining about the unfairness of the whole process becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

-There is too much conflicting advice on how to write my resume.
-Recruiters never call me back.
-Interviewers ask unreasonable questions.
-Networking takes too much time.
-HR departments set up hurdles no normal person can get through.

While there is certainly a kernel of truth in all of these statements, eventually this is all you’ll see. How do you think you’ll sound on an interview when you finally land one if this is the kind of interior dialogue you have going through your head?

So the next time I find myself in that kind of cycle I’m going to try to remember that I am not the first person to face such odds or obstacles. In fact, many people have had it far worse than me and still made it through to the other side. What right do I have to moan and complain about how the Fates are set against me?

Am I fighting real religious persecution?
Is disease ravaging my country?
Am I or my neighbors lining up in bread lines?
Am I in a trench fighting over 3 feet of land for months upon months?

No, I just wish my life could be a little easier. I just wish I didn’t have to forgo a newer, nicer car to repair the roof on my otherwise nice home. I just wish my perfectly healthy kid would stop back talking me so much. I just–

Never mind.

Time to get to work.