… the HR Minion. Because even minions have opinions. And giggles.

Locus of Control

I have a confession to make; I have a high internal locus of control. What does that mean? Basically, it means that I believe that events result in ways that are mostly due to my own efforts (or lack thereof). Obviously, the opposite end of the continuum is having an external locus of control where you believe that events result due to influences outside your control. Neither side is bad or good, and everyone exhibits characteristics of both to varying degrees. What has been on mind recently was how people who skew one way or the other view unemployment and the job hunt.

Personally, this means I view unemployment and the job hunt as a situation that requires active and frequent effort on my part to overcome it. It means I am much more likely to seek out connections, information, and feel that through hard work I will be successful. Unfortunately, it also means I am more likely to blame myself for being unemployed and I’m harder on myself for every perceived mistake that might have cost me an opportunity. Now, someone with who has an external locus of control is more likely to blame their unemployment on the bad economy, bad luck, or even a bad boss. They take the situation less personally and not as a reflection of their own skills and abilities. Unfortunately, they are also most likely to feel powerless and depressed in the face of something they feel they have no ability to change. See, neither good nor bad, just gradients along a continuum.

Why does this matter? It matters because understanding your locus of control is essential to understanding how you need to tackle your job hunt in a constructive manner that helps protect your state of mind. If you lean towards an internal locus of control you need to learn to let go. Things happen that you have no influence over and that’s ok. Sometimes it’s not you, it’s “them”. If you lean towards an external locus of control you need to push yourself beyond your comfort zone. The economy might be bad, but that doesn’t mean you are doomed to unemployment for months no matter what you do or who you are. In the end, no matter which direction you lean, unemployment is a mass of frustration and what if’s. Be careful that your own perception of control over the situation doesn’t make things worse.

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