IT Employment

Top fears of job seekers

Gary Grappo, author of Get the Job You Want in Thirty Days, once outlined the top 10 fears of job seekers that he culled from talking to people around the world. How do they match up to your fears?

About 10 years ago, a guy named Gary Joseph Grappo wrote a book called The Top 10 Fears of Job Seekers. In the forward, the author says that he gathered the 10 fears from his years as a career counselor for qualified and talented professionals. The list he culled is:

  1. I won't be hired because I'm overqualified.
  2. I'll never find a job I really like.
  3. My spouse will leave me if I'm unemployed.
  4. My kids will think I'm a failure.
  5. Others will think less of me.
  6. All I'll get is rejection for my efforts.
  7. I dread getting a job offer and starting over.
  8. I'm going to retire old, homeless, and poor.
  9. I won't be able to sell myself.
  10. My skills are outdated.

I find this list a little confusing. Some of the items I would consider worries rather than fears, such as "I won't be hired because I'm overqualified." On the other hand, "I'm going to retire old, homeless, and poor" would definitely fall into the "fear" category. Of course, in today's economy, you could be gainfully employed and still fear that you're going to retire old, homeless, and poor.

And some items seem to me a little more complicated than unemployment. Fearing your spouse will leave you? I think there are some other issues going on there. It may also be a little more of a male thing since, historically, and at least in my family, the men define themselves a great deal by what they do for a living. (This is not to say that women don't feel that too -- I know I do. We're coming upon a time when just as many woman as men have lifelong careers that they're psychologically attached to.)

I can understand the fear of having to "sell" yourself. I know that you should consider yourself a product that you're selling, but I'm not really comfortable with it. To me, it's the worst thing about looking for a job.

So what are your job-seeking fears?

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

17 comments
reisen55
reisen55

I have posted many times on outsourcing here and continue to believe that this is most single destructive force in Information Technology support today. Any corporate job is at risk, always, almost more so than any other department save Accounting and Human Resources (also outsourcing candidates). American IT has been destroyed because of managements willingness to send jobs to India at 1/4 salary and minimal health care benefits, all in the name of doing things CHEAPER, FASTER BETTER and improving shareholder value by cutting expenses. Notice that talent, ability, certifications and doing the job RIGHT THE FIRST TIME does not entire into this equation at all. Used to, not any more. Skill means nothing to most large American management and the outsourcing firms know this too. Lynn Blodgett of ACS said so many words and EDS is just cutting over 3,000 people, mostly sending jobs to India, in prep for their own assimilation by Hewlett Packard. Most American IT jobs are rocks that, when you step on them, stay afloat for a short time until CSC, ACS and Accenture come in singing songs of economies and then don't let the door whack you on your way out. Would you like an email survey?

vaughndumas
vaughndumas

I'm a 40 year old developer and need a company I can grow with and spend the next 10 to 20 years with. Therefore I need as close a perfect fit as possible.

mtaylor619
mtaylor619

They left out the fear associated with changing jobs after 50. The fear should be silly because many of the most talented and competent people are over 50. Their competence, wisdom, tactfulness, and sheer work ethic often leave their younger colleagues in the dust. However, HR and some managers have built in biases for reasons that range from concerns about health and the cost of health insurance to wondering whether they can work with a younger boss. Corporations need to wake up to the new reality that today's over 50 worker may well have 20 years of work life left in him/her. Their maturity often makes them more loyal than the 20 something job hopper. I will grant that they may not be itimidated by a younger boss, but who in their right mind wants to work for a boss who governs by intimidation? So, in sum, we should not have fears of making job/career changes after 50, but we do.

CyberCritic
CyberCritic

When I started in IT nearly 30 years ago working on IBM 3750's managers always told us that we could be replaced with another hungry student. Then as the years passed the threat was you'd be replaced by a younger guy, then the foreign worker, and now the threat is your job will be outsourced. Nothing changes, managers will always threaten, cfo will always cut budgets, and people who work in IT will always be unappreciated and over worked. Maybe you should do a survey on how many people in IT have had heart attacks, divorces, ulcers, and so on, then you would see the true toll of working in our profession.

RandyB1
RandyB1

Everyone in IS has to re-apply on our jobs. I responeded to six in-house job postings. Today, I get to interview with three managers to convince them I am qualified to do the job I've been doing for the past 12 years. My big fear is that they are going to use this as a way to lower pay grades.

Dr_Zinj
Dr_Zinj

As long as you provide people the means of keeping physicially fit, they should last a good long time. Like any machine, proper maintenance goes a long way.

alan
alan

Just had to let you know that IT fall in at number 3 or 4 on the list of the top 10 most stressful jobs.

Devans00
Devans00

Four out of 10 of the issues on the list apply to me. 1. I won?t be hired because I?m overqualified. 2. I?ll never find a job I really like. 6. All I?ll get is rejection for my efforts. 9. I won?t be able to sell myself. There is another fear that I have that doesn't show up on the list. - I feel like I'll be pre-judged and not given a fair chance. I've been told in the past that I didn't match the image of what the hiring team expected. They used that for part of the reason to not pick me. Totally dismissive of my abilities and experience. It's always in the back of my mind and I always wonder if "not fitting the image" is why I'm rejected.

Lizzie_B
Lizzie_B

1) I won't be able to get a job because of my age - I'm about to turn 52 in an area loaded with kids right out of college. There are two universities within 12 miles of my house. 2) I won't be able to get a job because of disability. This is my biggest fear - I have a combination of spinal injuries that not only limits my ability to lift and carry, but also limits my mobility - I can only walk about 50 feet without experiencing severe pain and occasionally am forced to use both canes and a wheelchair. In spite of this, I'm well able to work - my average work week in 2007 was 55 hours, with peak periods of 80+ hours/week. But I'm very worried that my medical problems will scare off any prospective employer. As the TR readers are well aware, IT can be extremely physically demanding at times.

pwarrenz3
pwarrenz3

... I look for my next temporary assignment, so I don't really suffer from the fears (or worries) others do. All (business or work) relationships in my mind are temporary. Coming from the NE of the US there is no such thing as a 'permanent' job and hasn't been for years. That is the typical 'corporate way of thinking' up north, so I adopted it as well. Besides, I read years ago the best way to move up in ones profession or career is to jump ship every 2 to 3 years. After my last direct employment position as an engineer (6.5 years) I opted for no more than a year with anyone client and now prefer 3 and 6 month contracting intervals. I've actually tripled my yearly income in less than 15 years and for the most part really love what I do and who I work with. There are some personal life trade-offs early on in the process, like saving as much as you can and having at least a years income in savings to pay bills, rent mortgage, etc. but the freedom, especially from fears and worries is more than worth it, not to mention I now take multi-month vacations, sometimes the entire summer. Cheers

ITIL Citizen
ITIL Citizen

I would be interested in hearing from folks who are members of a union, and in an IT role. Our new economy is the information based as opposed to the old industrial based economy and therefore requires dedicated IT professionals to make it work. I have experienced reorganization three times in the last six years, from different organizations. Has anyone considered a union to deal with this brunt the average IT worker must bear to make up for management's lack of leadership?

network admin
network admin

Some of my instructors have been teaching the same message. If you want to get anywhere in IT, you should move around every couple yrs. I have to say my biggest fear is not getting the job; I was in sales for years, I can sell myself pretty well. My fear is working in a male dominated field; another subject matter in my classes. Right now, women are the majority in my classes and I'm not the only one worried about it. Will I make the same money as a man who is coming in with the same credentials as I have? How will I be treated? Will I have to fight harder for respect? Will I be able to handle the stress? Which is why I work in a small company that has a laid back atmosphere. But someday I will have to move on...

Baruch Atta
Baruch Atta

Why is it that certain professions, like Psychology, require certifications, while IT and programming don't? Is it because just about anybody can fake being a psychologist, but in IT, either it works or you're fired. Good luck in a IT trade union. By the way, what are our grievences? By me, my biggest grief is poor management. How are you going to negotiate better management? See any Dilbert comic for examples. My pay should be higher, I should have an office with a window, longer vacations, shorter hours, and so on. But, I could problably be much more productive with good management. Why is it that the first line manager has ten programmers, but every layer above is two to one?

dstreifling
dstreifling

During a buy-out transition I worked for a huge retailer in the Pacific Northwest. At one point their programmers joined a union. Over the years folks dropped out, realizing there was little or no benefit. By the time I got there, only three of over 100 programmers were still with the union and that was only because they were close to retirement. A union can not "make up for management's lack of leadership."

RandyB1
RandyB1

If you really want to call it a union. They caved on the job descriptions. Now, instead of Win server admin, it's like I'm server, desktop, and network. By throwing desktop in, they lower the value of server and network experience.

pwarrenz3
pwarrenz3

I personally, as do most male engineers have a lot of respect for the women entering into the field, including IT. I have always found it an added pleasure & benefit to be able to work with female engineers and technical managers on assignments. I'd say worry less on most of your points. Men in general are welcoming women into the work place, and not just in IT. It adds a new dimension to work and employers should imo be promoting it. On the money issue I have never worried about what the other guy, or gal, is making, just what I can safely ask for from a client or employer and get it. Having worked with placement agencies over the years it gets fairly easy to find out what market rates are. If it is not equal to what others there are being paid, I look for and move on to the next assignment, our skills are that portable, and a required part of businesses nowadays. It's really that simple. Respect is IMO something that is earned not something you should have to fight for, and if you do it may be the wrong company or a corporate culture issue. Earning my respect is as simple as being technically competent and having some common sense. Sounds like you have a gem of a job, which may be hard to replace.