A lot of job hunt stress boils down to worry over whether you really want to work in this role.
Is this what I want to do with my life?
Is this what I want to be?
These are big, existential questions, so naturally having them unanswered slows down progress and momentum on the job hunt. You can’t really go after something if you’re unsure you want it.
I don’t think it helps to pretend these are easy questions to answer, or to ignore them. But you still need to be able to move forward without fear and hesitation. So what to do?
Try reframing opportunities into a shorter time horizon and less steep commitment.
You’re not choosing who you are going to be – your place in the cosmos – for eternity. This isn’t your sole identity. You’re simply choosing a good way to spend the next 12-24 months. That’s it!
It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to not suck. You want an opportunity that seems more interesting than the real alternatives (not imaginary perfect jobs) for the next chunk of time.
Instead of, “Is this what I want to do/be?”, ask, “Will I be in a better position in 24 months than I am now if I try this?”
Jobs are constantly in flux and more flexible than ever. What you’ll be doing in ten years probably doesn’t exist yet. Optimize for interestingness, play, learning, and meaningful challenge. Focus on adding to your value with each unit of time, and don’t stress about what might have been or some ideal scenario.
If you treat your next job as a mission, or tour of duty, you’ll feel less anxiety and less job hunt stress. You’ll be ready to pitch yourself!