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One of job search’s biggest roadblocks: You don’t know what you don’t know

We recently completed a full renovation of both bathrooms in our house. The ‘problem’ started as a mushy spot next to the tub in the main bathroom. We learned not to step on that spot, and hoped it didn’t get any worse.

About a year after we noticed the floor by the tub, I stepped on the floor in front of the bathroom sink. It gave. Fortunately, I didn’t fall through. Evidently, things had gotten worse. Our solution; cover the spot with a board.

My husband’s son was visiting and graciously volunteered to climb under the house. He found not only rotting floors in the main bathroom, but in the back bathroom as well. Evidently things had gotten MUCH worse.

Main bathroom: Before

We were officially overwhelmed. There were so many questions; we didn’t even know where to begin …

  • Was it termite damage? Oh no. I’m sure we have termites. If it’s termites, how bad is it?????
  • Would I have to be out of my house for months? (I’ve watched too many HGTV renovation shows)
  • What would I do with our pets (2 dogs, 7 cats, 2 cockatiels, a chicken, a rooster, and a tank of fish) if we had to stay elsewhere? How would we arrange care?
  • Where would we stay? Mom has room, but lives in Raleigh. My business is portable. The hubs works in town. Could he stay with one of his children? But, how long? How long would we live apart? We didn’t want to impose anywhere.
  • How much was this going to cost?
  • How long would it take?
  • What did we have to do?
  • What could we do on our own?

And on and on and on … (asked with increasing frenzy.)

At this time, I knew, all I needed to do was call a contractor, and make a plan. Sounds easy, huh? Dial the phone.

One year passed. We did nothing, another year passed, and another. Every time I walked past or into the main bathroom, I reminded myself, we really needed to do something to address the problem. Every time – for four or five years – is a LOT of energy wasted fretting about something.

The problem grew and grew and grew – in our minds. The fear of what we didn’t know, the fear of finding out what we didn’t’ know, and an “I’ll do something tomorrow” approach blocked us from getting the answers needed to make sound decisions and formulate a plan. We didn’t know what we didn’t know. And more importantly; didn’t ask.

Our approach to bathroom repairs mirrored the approach many careerists and job seekers use when ‘launching’ a job search or thinking about leaving a dead-end job. Rather than getting expert guidance as soon as they identify the need, they ignore, procrastinate, speculate, fabricate, and consternate scenarios. I cannot count how many times I tell job seekers you have to break this ‘career management’ thing into manageable pieces, or you’re going to continue wandering around in the “Land of the Overwhelmed,” doing nothing; and lamenting the fact things haven’t changed. (Funny it took me so long to listen to my own advice … but that’s a whole ‘nother blog post.)

Main bathroom: After

What I discovered, after I finally made the call …

  • What I thought would take months, took 10 days. (ONLY 10 days.)
  • What I thought would be over-the-moon costly, was actually quite reasonable.
  • While I thought we’d be displaced and separated and providing long distance care for animals, we lived in the house during the entire project, with minimal inconvenience.
  • What I thought to be overwhelming was simplified with step-by-step guidance from an expert.

The effort necessary to get from the before to the after picture and the value gained from our beautiful new bathrooms, with solid, jump-up-and-down-on-them-if-you-want-to floors, was soooooooo worth it. My only regret, I let myself sit in my own way and block happiness and peace of mind for so long.

This is a “do as I say, not as I do” post. If you’re just launching a job search or in the midst of an unsuccessful one, don’t be your own biggest roadblock.

  • If you need help, ask for it. (Don’t wait.)
  • Partner with someone you trust.
  • Your ‘concept of reality’ and reality probably differ greatly.
  • “Things” don’t normally magically fix themselves without some sort of outside intervention.
  • The dread of the task, usually, far outweighs the task itself.

Building a job search (or a bathroom) without knowing the steps, tools, and processes necessary for success overwhelms and paralyzes.

Go ahead. Dial the phone. It could be the first step toward that incredible new career, lovely new bathroom, or wonderful new something.

(I found a lot of job search parallels in this remodeling adventure. Stay tuned. I’ll share more.)   

**Bathroom remodel by Woodcock Home Improvements. THANK YOU!

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  1. Kristin says:

    Great parallel! Thanks for sharing this, Dawn.

  2. Ken says:

    The fear of fear can be paralyzing, we’ve all been there. Nice post, enjoy you new space.

  3. […] One of job search’s biggest roadblocks: You don’t know what you don’t know […]

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