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Why Anxiety Makes Me Dread Being Offered the Job I Applied For

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Recently, I’ve been applying for jobs and have had a lot of anxiety building up because of that.

I was talking to my therapist yesterday morning concerning the interview coming up in the afternoon.

At one point, she asked me, “What is the worst thing that could happen?”

The first response to hit my brain was, “That I get the job”

OK, that’s a weird one. I’ve been wanting this, right? That’s why I’ve been applying and pressuring myself to go out of my comfort zone.

But, it comes back to the issue I face the most: I am so afraid of failing. Which brings us back to the conversation I was having with my therapist.

“OK, what’s the second worst thing that could happen?”

“I don’t get the job”

Not getting job would definitely be a failure, right? Where actually getting the job has the chance of failure but it is not certain… And so the logic races circles in my brain.

I went to the interview. I did my best to sit still and not fidget with my phone when waiting, to think calm thoughts instead. The first part of the interview was shadowing, which I thoroughly enjoyed and I felt completely at ease doing. I got a little tongue tied and frozen during the actual interview, but still did alright I thought. I wasn’t going to let myself dwell on it and beat myself up over it.

This evening, I picked up my phone and saw I had a voicemail. They were offering me the part time job I’d applied for.

The worst happened.

I kind of froze. Inside, there was excitement, but also foreboding. Will I be able to do this? I’m starting off part-time, so that won’t be so overwhelming. Baby steps. Get a schedule, interact with the world again, start to build up my strength. I can do this.

Over the past two and a half years, there have been multiple times when the “worst possible thing that could happen” has happened, and I’m still here. More battered and afraid than before, but still here. That means something.

I’ve been offered the job. That’s not actually the worst thing that could happen. I think I’ll take the job. I’ll do the best I can at it, and hopefully, I won’t have to survive another worst thing happening. I can’t dwell on the fact that it might happen. If it does, I’ll get through that too. I just need to keep telling myself to be brave and do my best.

So tomorrow morning, I’m pretty sure I’m going to make a phone call that will push me out of my safe little box and out into the world again. Exciting, but scary. But, hey, that’s what new beginnings are supposed to feel like.

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Thinkstock photo via Anna_Isaeva

Originally published: October 20, 2017
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