Note: this blog was written months after I started JibberJobber. “I smell blood” is one of the blog posts I have referenced the most over the years. Enjoy!
“I Smell Blood!”
You know as you move along in your career you develop some incredible relationships… I have such a relationship with Ces, a senior HR manager at a huge company where I started my IT career. Ces was one of my “customers” and I met frequently with him on projects for him or his team – I have had a great deal of admiration and respect for him since the day I met him.
When I was laid off I called him to ask for advice. I’m sure I didn’t even know what I was asking – maybe I was looking for sympathy, or to see if he knew anyone in my area that might be able to help me out. I wasn’t interested in moving to where his company might have a job, so I know wasn’t asking him for a job.
Towards the end of the call he said something that really struck me, and made me think about how I communicate with people. He said: “Jason, you have to remember one thing. HR can smell blood from a mile away.”
I took that to mean that my demeanor was too down. I was a wounded animal, and it was obvious. No one wants to hire a wounded animal – they want to hire a competent, capable person! Even though I considered this to be a conversation between buddies I realized that anytime I talked with anyone during my job search I could not let them “smell blood.”
I’ve been networking a lot since that phone call, and I’ve met a lot of folks that are in-between jobs. And you know what? I’m not HR, and I’m not a recruiter, but I can sure smell blood. There are folks that have allowed themselves to get so depressed about their situation that they reek of this “blood.”
I am not a psychologist (although I should have gone to one at least once in my life) and admittedly don’t know all the ins-and-outs of depression – maybe it is a lot more complex than what I’m saying here (ie, maybe you don’t have as much control over it as I think). But in your NEW JOB (which is finding a job), make sure that you maintain your dignity and have a proper attitude. You don’t have to be a Pollyanna but don’t come across as Eeyore either.
You are bleeding but have to not let anyone smell blood??
I KNOW it sucks – there are no two ways around it. You have been working your tail off and then you get the proverbial pink slip… and now what do you do?? There are bills to pay, mouths to feed. You aren’t Mr. or Mrs. so-and-so with the corner office anymore. Your cheese has been moved. And it isn’t fun. But please, please take one thing away from this post: They (everyone) can smell blood from a mile away. Do what you can or need to do to not be hurt, pick up the pieces, and move forward with a strong and successful job search campaign.
Your job IS out there!
Reflections from 2022
I’m in a different place now. The job search of 2006+ was painful. It was embarrassing and humiliating. It felt hopeless. I am glad Ces gave me this subtle warning.
I got through it with a lot of hustle. I had some dead ends, some pivots. I had some temporary wins and some temporary losses.
The bad stuff ended. The hard parts ended.
I still have hard parts in my life, but that’s life, right?
Regarding my career, though, I have come out fine. I can pay my bills. I do what I love and help others. I am convinced that you will make it through this exceptionally hard period in your life. It is temporary. My only hope is that once you land well you are more empathetic and helpful for others who are going through their own rough job search. Maybe even point them over to the courses I made for job seekers (all of my courses here) 🙂