Career Development

Vulnerability and Ego in Your Job Search

I quit my job last August.

I was unhappy. I was stressed. I got asthma.

It wasn’t worth it. I walked away.

I found myself job searching, without a safety net. Without knowing where to go. I turned to LinkedIn, where I reconnected and reengaged with my network. I met with 40 people in 3 weeks through informational interviews, coffee chats, phone calls, and events. I hustled, networked, followed up, met new contacts, interviewed, and found a new job. I fell back in love with my career. Now I get to help others do the same.

I am very grateful for what happened to me because during this process, I learned a lot. One of these lessons is that job searching is uncomfortable. It’s frustrating. It’s a lot of giving with no receiving. A lot of dead ends, what ifs, no progression, even regression. Standing still and wondering what your next move is.

There is another feeling however, and maybe one you can’t identify. This feeling holds you back, maybe makes you think twice about reaching out to a new contact or professional.


That feeling is vulnerability.


Exposed. Open. Sensitive. Susceptible. These are words to describe vulnerability.

Vulnerability is present in your job search, because you are putting yourself out there for acceptance or rejection in professional settings. You are exposed, you are open, and you are susceptible to what may come next. You need to recognize and accept this reality.

Vulnerability has two sides. And you have a choice on your approach and state of mind.

One side is ego. Your ego is not your friend, however, it disguises itself as one. It’s that little voice that says “I am going to protect you from this uncomfortable feeling.”  You can’t trust that voice, because it’s a liar. It’s not kind to you. It prevents you from moving forward. It’s arrogant. It’s prideful. It’s angry. It tells you things that are not your truth. Ego invokes fear and judgment. It makes you think:

  • I can’t do that.
  • Why did I just say that? What a stupid question.
  • I will never be able to do this position, why apply?
  • I am wayyyy too good for that person or that position.
  • That person would never be able to help me. I can’t help them, either.
  • I’ll never be good enough. I should just stop, give up, and do something else.

Fortunately, there is another side of vulnerability. A completely different way of looking at it. It takes a lot of strength to put yourself out there. You know that you deserve better, and are motivated to change your current situation. That takes a lot of guts. It’s openness. It’s awareness. It’s love. That feeling is empowerment. This mentality makes you think:

  • I am worth this.
  • I am walking away from this position because I deserve to put myself first.
  • That person is awesome and I am inspired to learn from him/her.
  • I can help others. Others can help me as well.
  • I deserve to be happy.
  • I am fearless.

When we look at vulnerability as a source of strength, not fear, empowerment floods out. You are putting yourself out there, in order to create a better opportunity for yourself. And that sounds pretty strong to me.

Be kind to yourself. Encourage yourself and others. Just because you are exposed, does not mean you’re in harm’s way.


I learned about the empowerment side of vulnerability after taking two of David Razowksy’s acting workshops. David is an actor, director, teacher, former Artistic Director of the Second City LA, and all around improv Jedi master.

When you take one of his classes, it’s an out of body experience, and changes the way you think, observe, and take in information. The above image is a hand drawn infographic by Bob Kodzis, featuring the mantras that are said during class. You also get a little insight into how powerful a comedy improv class can be.


Need some more inspiration? Here’s is Brene Borwn’s TED Talk: The Power of Vulnerability.


So what to do next? The answer, every answer, is here. Now. Happiness does not live in your next job or career. Happiness lives here. In the now. That mindset is vulnerable. That mindset is powerful.

Change thought. Change attitude. Change perspective. Change action.

Now get out of your head and go fulfill your dreams.



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