Don’t Let Success Get In Your Way

Don't let time get away from you - photo courtesy Drop Dead Design ( remember many small successes last year that brought my job search to a halt. It might have been the most incredible interview. It might have been establishing a really “powerful” network contact. It might have been finally finishing a resume packet (or at least a customized resume/cover letter) and getting it sent in to the target company.

There were times when this success made my job search go backwards. For example, one incredible series of interviews was going really well (I thought). After the first interview I was about 100% sure I had the job. This was an extremely exciting opportunity for me as I would be working under an ex-Microsoft hero (supposedly), in a super-cool new high-tech startup that was well funded, and in a capacity that I wanted to be in to expand my depth in that area. The salary was a little low but everything else had “dream job” written all over it.

So I actually spent time, in my mind, doing the job! I thought about systems and programs to put in place. I thought about how I’d work to fit into the culture. I thought about the thing I’d need to accomplish in the first year. I thought about what would happen if there was an acquisition or IPO. I even took my handy-dandy notebook and began to map all of this stuff out.

After two more interviews I got the wierdest e-mail. It was some lame canned e-mail – something about “we have chosen someone else for this position…” This was wierd was because:

  1. In my interview process I found that no one knew there was a position open
  2. I found that there weren’t any other candidates (remember? There wasn’t a position open!)
  3. I had spent a good four or five hours with these people, and we were getting to know eachother pretty good. Why did the tone of our discussion go from “interview mode” to “canned e-mail”… ?????

This was the absolute lowest part of my job search. I read the e-mail about four times and then did something that I hadn’t done for a long time – I worked out for about 30 minutes (I hadn’t allowed myself time to do this before because I was too busy looking for a job). I was speechless. I was hurt. I was confused.

I vowed to not get emotionally involved in this process again.

But I did – the next big thing, as the interviews progressed, was too exciting. I found myself thinking about what I’d do in the job, mapping out a strategy, and all that.

The problem, I found, is that when you get too wrapped up in a pending success you put other things on hold. And for me, getting wrapped up in something that wasn’t a sure thing only took away from my job search.

So celebrate the successes, but the best thing to do after an excellent interview is to get another interview! The best thing to do after an excellent phone call is to get on the phone again! Don’t get sidetracked and steal time from your search – rather, build on the successes to have another one.

And now, if you don’t mind, I’d like to share my last success with you, just to prove that I still don’t abide by the above (when mind = jelly, its hard!)…

My most recent success turned my mind into jelly. Yesterday I started seeing multiple signups on JibberJobber by the minute. Everyone was saying they were coming from… so I went to and didn’t see anything special. Finally, a new signup told me it was on the front page of – and it was amazing! I had a very hard time concentrating during that time – it was only about 3 hours (and then they put different content up), but it was amazing. Welcome to the hundreds of new JibberJobber users! And thank you Yahoo!

4 thoughts on “Don’t Let Success Get In Your Way”

  1. John, thanks for the comment – this is the reason I blog – if only one person gets “touched” by one of my thoughts then it is totally worth it 🙂

    And the Yahoo thing… yes, awesome!

  2. It can be tricky, especially when you want something badly. Sometimes that feeling of success comes with a false sense of completion or security that makes you ease up on other initiatives.
    The key is to feed on the success and use it to move other possibilities along. Often easier said than done!

    Big congratulations on your Yahoo Finance success, though. That’s the beauty of the Internet. You’re gaining well-deserved recognition.

  3. Jason, you’ve hit the nail on the head. It’s like success is the poison apple in the Snow White fairy tale. Looks beautiful, but it’s deadly–it puts you to sleep. Only problem is that in job search there is no handsome prince/princess coming along to wake you up and hand you the happily-ever-after!

    I’ve seen my clients lose momentum so fast and hard it’s like they’ve plowed into a brick wall. All because they have a “great opportunity” in the works. And we know these days those great opportunities are not done deals until you’re sitting at your new desk for a week!

    It’s so easy after working so hard to feel you “deserve” to take a breath and enjoy the feeling of pending success–but you are right–it puts the breaks on so hard it tough to get started again.

    I’ve seen it happen to me, too. In fact, I doubt anyone is immune to “success-stall.” Trick is to recognize it, allow yourself to take a short break, and then jump-start that battery again–fast!

    Thanks for a great reminder–and congrats on the Yahoo success. Now what have you got planned for today?!

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