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 My skills are outdated.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?