Your Inner Two Year Old Is Killing Your Search

I am blessed to have three little boys that are absolute angels (at least in my eyes) that I love more than life itself.  My  middle son is right in the middle of his ‘terrible-twos’ phase and the way he is acting reminds of a lot of the job-seekers I work with on a daily basis.

For example:

His response to anything that he doesn’t want to do, even if it is in his best interest is always “I don’t want to.”  Whenever I ask many job-seekers why they are not networking and doing the things that EVERYONE says they should be doing they come up with a million excuses that always lead back to ‘not wanting to.’

He only thinks of himself and what will make him happy. Many job-seekers only take into account what they want and really ignore their families needs during their time of transition. Most develop the inability to go out and work a job that is ‘beneath’ them even though the extra money could go a long way in helping their family out.

He has a one track mind and it cannot be changed. A good number of the job-seekers I speak with refuse to think outside the box and look at things in a different way when it comes to finding their next opportunity and will only accept a perfect role at a perfect company.

He asks a question to both my wife and I (and sometimes others) until he gets the answer he wants. I have actually had job-seekers ask my thoughts on the search process and when I tell them something different than what the want to hear (that networking works) they have actually told me they would just go ask someone else (it has happened multiple times).

He doesn’t like to share. One of the biggest problems I see with people who are looking for work is that they take, take, take, and then take some more and never offer to return. For some ideas on helping others and how it can benefit your job-search read our previous posting on the Fred Rogers Approach to searching for work.

Depending on his mood he will not accept any help at all on anything. You need some help in your job-search from your network and their network. If you don’t ask, they will not be able to assist you.

Again, depending on his mood he is reliant on someone else for everything. Your job-search is a YOU project. You cannot expect anyone else to do it for you.

I hope that you don’t fall into any of the traps listed above but if you do you better ‘grow up’ really quick if you want to attract real attention for your next opportunity.

Until next time – good hunting and good luck!


33 responses to “Your Inner Two Year Old Is Killing Your Search

  1. Dear Matt,

    FABULOUS article ~ though I am certain you are not speaking about your 3 perfect boys!

    I see so many of the qualities you are speaking about in applicants (and memories of perhaps shreds in myself when I was job seeking as well!)

    Thanks for a fun spin on a serious subject!


  2. Great blog, Matt. With what I went through during each of my job searches made me realize just how important it is to network. Getting people out of the mindset they have to go solo while searching is such an avoidable handicap. Keep doing the right thing and fighting the good fight!


  3. Great article! Job hunting can be a devastating experience – if you let it. It’s important to keep things in perspective. Networking is actually a great experience – both professionally and socially. People forget about some of their best resources – friends and family. And the job search can actually be a rewarding experience – even if it is in retrospect. Think of all the great people you met and new friends you made.


  4. Matt – This is right on target. A flexible attitude goes a long way in the job search.


  5. Hi Matt,

    As someone who has been searching for a little while, I found your article refreshing!


  6. Matt –

    Great info !!

    I just finished the book “Never Eat Alone” and this falls right into place with being “out there” and networking to your next position

  7. What a great article!
    Thank you so much.

    Are your kids old enough for “play dates”? I am helping a Canadian friend apply for her O-1 visa and she is giving me a lot of great career advice. Sometimes having a “buddy” to help us get the ball rolling is a huge help! We work together, inspire each other, confide our fears to each other, and have great suggestions for one another. We have “strategy sessions” at my apartment — she uses my computer and my internet connection while I make tea and/or lunch for us both.

    Sometimes networking “one on one” is much easier than facing a crowded room full of strangers…

    Thanks again for the great article!

  8. Matt,

    Thanks for the humor with truth. As recruiters we are often put into the role of career coach. Yesterday I had the pleasure of directing a new grad to network with someone who had recently landed a job similar to her target job. When that awesome candidate becomes a hiring manager, I hope she’ll remember me when she needs talent!

    Deni Martin

  9. Keeping everything in perspective and having a good attitude is essential during a job search- essential, but not easy!

    Job seekers (especially someone with minimal experience like myself), are in the weaker position, so the constant rejection and being ignored makes you want to throw a 2-year old style hissy fit. I’ve found this best way to deal with this is to allow your self to be mad/sad whatever for a little while, then forget about it and move on.

    Just as some (but not all) job seekers act like 2 year olds. Some (but not all) hiring managers act immature as well. Example: I had a manager tell me I had great potential and discussed the possibility of offering me a position in another state. I also spent an entire day in the field shadowing someone. I followed up with a thank-you e-mail, and a few days later, a phone call, and NEVER heard back from them! Eventually I received a form letter from HR thanking me for my interest, but I never spoke to another human being from the company. I understand that maybe I wasn’t the best person for the job, but feel like after giving a day of my life and discussing the details of me taking a position, I at least deserved a 2 minute phone call or a personal e-mail.

    Jobseekers, hiring managers, and all people for that matter, need to care about other people (even the ones they aren’t hiring). Which brings us back to Mr. Rogers 🙂

  10. Great insights! But don’t tell me to network. I don’t want to! 😉

  11. Heidi Lancaster


    This is so on target. We’re seeing a lot of people who feel “safe” on unemployment and are so afraid of losing it that they are missing out on opportunities which could lead to excellent career progression. It’s a shame.

    Thanks for sharing!


  12. This sounds just like me…hahaha

    But, yes this article is an eye opener. It shows how narrow minded and blinded some can be(including myself)

    yo must be willing and open minded.

  13. Matt – Thanks for this refreshing article! I think that your examples are spot on.

  14. Dear Matt,
    A great benchmark!

    I’ve a 30 months old son and I’m very much familiar with the attitudes you’ve described! But never realised these similarities between the “terrible-twos” and the “job-seekers” 🙂 That is a result of your observation power, I guess…

    And Amanda,
    Hiring managers sometimes worse here in Turkey.

    I’ve more than 10 years of professional experience, and there’ve been cases that I even couldn’t receive a form letter from HR.

    I remember an example from 5 years ago: Like yourself, passed through all the steps at the hiring process, filled out many forms and personalty tests, had an interview of nearly 2 hours, immediately after returning home sent a kind thank-you e-mail and a few days after had a follow-up phone call. The hiring manager wasn’t at her desk, left a message and guess what? She neither called me back nor sent a short e-mail, I had no response from her! She left me totally uninformed in dark. How rude! And what a pity that she was representing one of the biggest holdings in Turkey. The image of this “powerful and big” holding in terms of HR management licks the dust in my eyes after this experience…

    Remaining silent shouldn’t be an option for declaring the candidates that they aren’t considered for the job!

    Greetings from Istanbul.

  15. Wonderful article Matt! Truly hit the nail on the head in the most positive way….leads to introspection for sure!

  16. Matt,
    Your post is bang on. My business is helping people with job search and resumés. Some clients tell me with big sincere eyes that they are serious, proactive, and willing to search, self-search and work hard. We agree to partner, money change hands, and suddenly, it’s “When is my resumé ready, Mommy?”.

    Job search tends to bring out the worst of our inner child; and no wonder. It forces us to look at ourselves, deal with at least the possibility of rejection – or our fear of success – and it takes discipline, patience, humour, self-insight, and a willingness both to be helped, and to help yourself.

    Currently staying in a place where the tv is on all the time – where do we see any of these values practices or praised?

  17. Matt, another great work!

    I just shared this with the Memphis Area Career Transition Group membership for their benefit and a few much needed laughs.

  18. Those who adapt win. Great post, Matt!

  19. Great article, short….sweet..and to the point. Being that I have been looking for employment for a while and trying to relocate at the same time I can relate to this article. Creating and maintaining your network is a skill I am still attempting to learn.


  20. This is not only accurate but frightening. While this self absorbed mindset is not true of all young people, my observations are that it is true for far too many. In the 21st century only the strongest will survive and such attitudes are not held by the front runners in any field or life in general. This is most frightening for parents who will have no choice but to watch their children struggle to survive and live at a lower standard of living OR continue to support their kids well into adulthood.

  21. Great article! And good reminder to me – as a job seeker.
    Thanks for your perspective!

  22. Matt – as always, I enjoy your posts. This one is great!


  23. Matt -Great read. I’ve been trying to hire, and I’m shocked at how many people come in with no sense of accountability or flexibility. They complain about how unfair their last boss, job, interview, etc. is and how nothing was any fault of their own. Regardless of how talented someone is, I can’t have that attitude dragging the rest of my team down.

    Without question, the lack of hiring on my part has been due to lack of positive attitude, flexibility, and growth!

    • The need to reject certain situations can be linked to the mind’s defense mechanism, designed to prevent severe depression and insanity.

      In the book “Brain Rules”, by John Medina, there is a discussion about how we react to situations over which we are continually harmed but have no control over. The example given tells of a dog that is shocked by a collar for no good reason, and eventually lays down and separates from the world.

      Unless we are more reflective, giving us insight into why we might be unemployed, our first instinct is to find external fault. In any case, we have to find fault, internal or external; we have to explain the situation somehow, otherwise we risk becoming the dog and separating ourselves mentally from the world.

      I personally had to stop other people from blaming my management when I became unemployed. I believe that there is a cultural norm where people are SUPPOSED to blame their boss, and that anything else is considered ‘not normal’. I have tried to reason about why certain events occurred with friends and former colleagues, but most of the time it is easier to just be non-specific and say that the situation is unfortunate.

  24. Mary Beth Mudgett O'Donnell

    GREAT article!!!
    I loved the Fred Rogers snap –
    This is truly a way to get down to the core of
    where we all can exceed or not.

    One of the best most insightful, humorous and
    helpful articles I have read in a long time.

    Thank you.

    Mary Beth Mudgett O’Donnell

  25. Excellent article! Wonderfully creative and spot on the money.

    But the truth is, finding a job is as (seemingly) difficult initimadating for us as brushing one’s teeth for a child.

    As they say though, the greatest recipe for failure is only wanting to do what’s easy.

  26. Matt – Great article – I’d add one more: .

    Spends most of his time playing with toys. I find lots of job seekers who spend 90% of thier time on the computer searching for a job – instead of spending 90% of their time in networking. It’s less threatening

  27. I think what it comes down to is that even professional Sales People don’t like cold calling, which is what networking outside of your inner network is. So why would an accountant or operations professional?

    As far as taking a job beneath your current experience. I have found that employers will look at your last position and pigeon hole you to that experience level. For example, from 23-27, I was managing staffs of 100, I then switched from operations to more marketing operations and managed products and services rather than people. But when applying for various positions in the recent past, most presumed I had lost the ability to manage people. The irony is that I have worked for very few good managers over my career, many efficient tacticians are promoted into management jobs and are like fish out of water. Gerber in the E-myth explains this best.

    • Regarding employers pigeon-holing you, once again the answer is networking. I believe Pigeon-holing is a result of the need for quick decisions with little information and little time. If you want more consideration, and broader view of your skills, you have to network and take the time to market yourself to your potential employer.

  28. Pingback: Family Blog » Everyone has an Opinion

  29. If a relative or friend was out of work and you were in a position to hire them, would you even though you knew deep down they would be all wrong for the job?

    • Sean Gonzalez

      Hiring someone close to me, who was not right for the job, would depend on what they were proficient at, and whether it would really harm my business. Goodwill can go a long way.

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