Careers, Communications, and Getting People Off Of Your Back

You're doing a job search or career change (or both), and you're working hard at it.  You may be sending out resumes like crazy, or networking, or going to class, or all of these and more.  You're doing a lot to advance your career, and you know it.

Unfortunately it seems other people don't know it, and they won't get off your back.  They want to know what you're doing in your job search, they want to know how you're doing, they want to know whats up.  You may feel you spend more time being bothered by friends, family, and so on than you do interviewing or studying.

You don't want to tell them off of course.  They're probably trying to help, or a fight isn't worth risking, or you aren't sure what to tell them to get you some peace and quiet.  You're not sure what to do in order to get them off your back concerning your career.

The problem is, as is often noted in NLP, that you "cannot not communicate."  Everything you do says something – even a lack of action or communication says something – so you're going to have to learn to tell people about your job and career activities.

If you don't tell them, they will bug you.  Trust me, I know, *I* bug people about these issues.

So when you're on a job search, realigning your career with classes, changing jobs, or engaged in some career activity that will concern people, learn how to communicate it to them.  If you make the effort to communicate, they'll probably bug you less.

Why not try:

  • If the person is very close to you (spouse, best friend, parent you live with) try and give them a status report once a week or so, perhaps as part of another friendly or family activity.
  • If the person pestering you is offering to help (with networking, resume review, etc.) set aside a time to talk to them and get advice, or work out a way to get feedback that won't drive you crazy.  In short, engage them.
  • If people are offering advice and tips you don't need, find a way to demonstrate tht you don't.  You may have to be firm with them.
  • Use numbers.  If you can say you sent out X resumes, passed a test with a 95%, etc. it says something to people.  People like numbers, if only because it shows you're keeping track.
  • Be patient.  There's a good chance these people mean well.
  • Get space.  If you make an effort to communicate with people, you can also more easily get yourself some personal space by keeping your distance when you have to.

So make the effort to communicate with people who are trying to be helpful with your job search or are concerned about your career.  It'll save you time and trouble, and by doing it on your terms, you'll save your sanity.

– Steven Savage