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What Should I Be When I Grow Up?

By Patricia Drain


I don’t have a job.


Miserable place to be isn’t it? I don’t think you have the

privilege to write about a subject this intense unless you have

been there. I’m here to tell you: I’ve been there.


It’s humiliating, discouraging, frustrating, demoralizing,

maddening, embarrassing, and on and on. Well, here’s the bottom

line about losing your job: You were supposed to move on. It’s

time to open yourself to new possibilities. They are everywhere.

Unfortunately, none of us can move on until we go through the

following stages:


Stage 1: Complete Shock. “I don’t know what I am going to do.”

Stage 2: Denial. “I can’t believe this is happening to me.” Why


Stage 3: Anger. “The nerve of them to do this to me.”

Stage 4: Depression. “It’s going to take forever to find another

job.” “I don’t have that many marketable skills.”

Stage 5: Acceptance. Ok. Next chapter. It’s time to move on.


Now all of us who have been in this position vacillate from stage

to stage. The lucky ones get to Stage 5 sooner than later and

live happily ever after. However, if you are one of the normal

“laid off” individuals who lost your job, you find it quite

difficult not to be angry. You probably also will say things

like, “I will never forgive him or her for doing this to me.”


My motto through life has always been “It’s not what happens to

each of us that matters, it’s how we handle it.” Some of us stay

down way too long while others skip right through the stages and

never look back.


I know you are reading this and that someone is saying, “But you

don’t know my circumstance!” No, and you don’t know mine. We

could exchange war stories and even get pleasure from doing it,

but I do know this: It doesn’t matter how it happened, where it

happened or even why it happened; it’s so important to deal with

the fact that it did happen and to know that you are supposed to

be somewhere else to learn other valuable lessons.


For those of you who are still out of work while reading this, I

would guess you are either angry right now or depressed.

Understand that finding a job is a numbers game. The following is

an excerpt from one of my books on interviewing, “Hire Me! Secrets

of Job Interviewing.”


Interviewing is a numbers game, so know your numbers


Anyone making a career change needs to know the statistics of

interviewing. (If we were gamblers, we’d call them odds and tell

you that this book stacks them in your favor, but I prefer to

look at it as keeping the chance-taking to a minimum.)


Understanding these “facts of interviewing” may release some of

the pressure that goes along with the game, and who wouldn’t like

less stress in their life?


First of all, what is a game? According to a popular dictionary,

a game is “a competitive activity governed by specific rules or

the total number of points required to win the game.” That

definition makes it clear that interviewing is indeed a game. The

rules are already established before you start, even though most

people don’t know them.


Imagine playing any game and not knowing the rules! How could you

possibly expect to win, or if you did, how would you even know?


If interviewing is a numbers game, then being aware of how many

interviews, resumes, handshakes, buildings and companies you must

encounter before you find the right job is an important rule in

this game. The following numbers, based on a large metropolitan

area, have been studied for several years. They do change

depending on the time of year, economy, etc., so what you see are



You have to send out 32 resumes to get 1 response

You have to send out 47 resumes to get 1 live interview

You have to go to 21 interviews before you get an offer

At our company, employers pay us to find the perfect match. We

usually interview 85 people a week to send 20 to our client

companies. Of the 20 candidates sent out, approximately eight

will get a job offer.


These numbers could discourage you, but my hope is that they will

help you better understand rejections. Most “no thank you's”

aren’t personal; you just have to do your numbers.


Just remember that the greater the numbers in your networking,

the better your chances of having a “choice” when it’s time to

make your career decision.


Good luck to us all who have been fired, laid off, downsized or

right sized. There is a wonderful new career out there waiting to

embrace you. Be grateful for the push in the right direction.


(Article reprinted by permission from Today’s Arizona Woman:

Celebrating Success, December, 2001, p. 16)



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Patricia Noel Drain is the co-founder of MAXIMIZING SUCCESS, INC.

The next Life changing Wealth Building Bootcamp will be held in

Phoenix AZ Oct 28-30 2005. For more information go to and tell them Patricia sent you.

Ms. Drain is an international author and speaker living

in Arizona. Visit her at  and

check out her new book, “"HIRE ME! Secrets of Job Interviewing"