Once Bitten, Twice Shy

Have you ever had such a bad experience with something or someone that you have an almost violently negative reaction to anything similar you encounter in the future?

It doesn’t have to even be that much alike either; it only needs to spark that little bit of recognition to cause you to start running for the hills. Once you’ve been burned it’s hard to not fear the fire.

So, if you’ve had a bad employment experience, a bad manager, or a bad company in your past you are bound to be a little wary when you are looking for something new. The last thing someone leaving a bad situation wants is to find themselves in the same place, or possibly one even worse.

That kind of caution is understandable but at the same time it could be self-defeating as well. When looking for a new job, you can’t approach it with fear, you have to be positive, excited, and even hopeful. If not, it will come through during an interview and that is never a good thing.

So, what do you tell someone in that kind of mindset? How do you help them get beyond that?

First, let go.

Whether you are still in the tough situation or already out, let it go. Let go of the frustration and bitterness so that it doesn’t hold you back. The longer you hold on, the longer you let that bad situation control you.

Second, hope.

Yes, hope. Hope for a better job, a better company, a better boss. If you’ve been in a tough situation for a while, you can sometimes fool yourself into thinking there isn’t anything better out there or worse, that there is something wrong with you. But you have to hold onto the hope that you will find a better place to be.

And finally, learn.

Now that you’ve been in that kind of situation you know what to look for, what questions to ask, and most importantly, what you want. Just be sure to not bash your past employers while asking, because nothing will hurt your chances in an interview faster than negativity, no matter how well deserved.

The only thing you can control is yourself, so how effectively you can move on from a bad situation rests solely with you. Don’t hold yourself back, grow, move on, and find that better future for you.

Photo credit iStockphoto

About the Author

Shauna Moerke

Shauna is an HR professional with a diverse work history, a Master's degree, and a PHR certification. She is also a huge geek, social media advocate, and infectious giggler. Besides being a co-founder of the Women of HR she also serves as the current Ringmistress of the Carnival of HR, is the former co-host of the HR Happy Hour blogtalk radio show, and blogs at her own site as the HR Minion.


Jennifer Payne

Good advice Shauna….advice that not only applies to a job search, but to life in general!


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