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The Job Search Valley of Disappointment:

We often fall victim to the “Valley of Disappointment” because we have an expectation. Whether we go into it with an optimistic attitude or not. When we start something new, we struggle until it becomes a habit. Often our brain is gathering information to improve efficiency for the next occurrence. However, this takes many repetitions.

Here’s the thing about job searches and interviews they do not occur often enough. Unless you’re a consultant you stay with an employer for 2-5+ years and search that frequently. Unfortunately, the education system did not provide you a course in career management and advancement. Most learn job search and interview skills through trial and error.

All too often our expectations are not aligned with reality. Hence, we enter the Valley of Disappointment. See the image on the post for an example. It’s not a new concept but definitely applies to your job search.

We get frustrated, feel rejected, and we give up to early and more often then we should. In this article, I want to cover the 3 key components to help you avoid giving up in the Valley of Disappointment. Your mindset, setting your intention, and your routine.


A lot of your success comes down to your mindset. Most importantly, how do you process these failures or setbacks? They are learning lessons. You are not a job search or interview expert because you don’t interview all the time. Until you learn the proper steps to land your next role you will fail but again your learning. Getting interviews, what you’re doing during interviews, and how your closing them.

However, you must look at those experiences needed to land your next role. Each time you interview it will get easier because your getting better. 

But you 1st need to learn sometimes from your failures. Having the correct mindset will allow you to take those setbacks in stride.  Most job seekers fall into two buckets.  Those with the lack of experience interviewing for recent grads or students.  Or a professional who has been with their current employer for a long time between searches and interviews.  Which can lead to a lack of confidence.

In my course, I start by focusing lessons on job search mindset. Like confidence building, remaining positive, understanding self to empower growth (personality & strengths finder assessments) and emotional intelligence.

To help you focus your mindset:

I want you to write out your commitment to your goal and why it is important to you. You need to define your why, so you can leverage it for motivation on days that you don’t feel like it. You can be your best friend through your habits or your worst enemy, but you must be first committed to achieving your goals.

100% commitment is required. That simply means there are no alternative choices. Your commitment does not waver because there is no plan B. It takes the decision-making process out of the equation by having 100% commitment mindset.


In Stephen Covey’s book, “7 habits of highly effective people” the concept is presented that between stimulus and reaction, there is choice. In that split instant, you get to choose how you react. Elevating your mindfulness and awareness of self and others (EQ). Sometimes challenges show up unexpectedly. Yet if you’re present then you will be able to handle the change with ease. You can decide based upon your commitments whether it adds value to your efforts or not. Then take action.

I don’t remember who said it, (it might have been Covey) but we are given a bucket of water and cement mix. You can choose to create a stumbling block or a steppingstone. The best part is that the choice is yours.

Intention versus hope:

Professionals enter their job searches hopeful to successfully land a role. They take more of a passive approach to their searches versus those who set their intentions. Your intentions provide again better clarity when you need to make decision and action to take in your search. To guide your intentions, you first must set goals.

Set achievable goals that will stretch you. It’s essential to set your intention to work through the “Valley of Disappointment” conducting your daily routine working towards your goals. Again, look at the image the our expectation versus the reality of what causes the breakthroughs we desire.


The valley of disappointment is not a concept that I created rather a concept I learned while reading. I enjoy learning from other experts who have experience in area that can get me there much faster myself. Then in return set the intention to help my clients do the same.

James Clear in Atomic Habits talks about the VoD. I believe his book was an excellent read and would recommend it to anyone looking to improve habits. The VoD is real in the job search market because there are a lot of uncertainties in outcomes. Leaving candidates in the dark on the interview process and timely feedback. However, those who have their goals and intentions set know to keep chugging forward until they start a new role.

Once you have set your intention you should know the action steps that your going to include into your day. Which leads us to your routine.


Let’s face it we are creatures of habit. Essentially, our brains look to conserve energy and create habits. Through discipline your routine lead with the small incremental steps towards landing your next role. Let’s be honest. You don’t know what submission will lead to an interview. What interview will lead to an offer. What offer will long term employment. So you have to remain vigilant to committing to your routine.

A couple of things to include in your routine. Applications, Professional Branding, Networking, Interview Prep & Skills, Eating Healthy, Exercising, and Destressing.

You need to practice all of your preparation elevator background pitch, STAR stories, etc. Get ready to perform when it matters most. Setting a positive tone and interviewing with confidence by knowing what to do and say before, during, and after an interview.

Commitment to your daily habits and routine is essential. Review through your day and look for opportunities to improve. How often are you scanning through nonproductive social media? How much television do you watch per week? How many books do you read per month?  How do you continue to educate yourself?

You will always be breaking someones heart or they will break yours. Until, you find your one and hopefully only. The same goes for your job search. Your intention will help you in focusing on the right role and organization to take that next step or challenge in your career.

In summary, success in your job search comes from your mindset, setting intentions, and your routine. Having the proper mindset allow you to set your intentions/goals. Once you have clear goals you can set your routine and review for improvement. Through repetition and experience you will soon land your next role. You’re 100% committed so there is no other alternative!

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