Back in early 2018, as you may know if you have stuck with some of my earlier blog posts, my working environment under a new boss had become so toxic and my mental health deteriorated to such a degree, that after 15 years service i felt i had no choice for my own well-being but to take myself out of that environment, regroup and in time begin to look elsewhere work -wise, whilst trying to care for my mental health.
It’s a strange situation, leaving a job after 15 years, at times ridiculous as it sounds it almost feels like a bereavement. All those happy memories, the great friends made, the adventures had around the world with my job and the pleasure and pride of seeing some hard work bear fruits in terms of fans reactions to our efforts.
It changed over a one year period where the whole culture changed and the level of toxicity and the unwillingness of new people to listen and collaborate became too much.
So i got out… i sought CBT support after referral from my doctor (i have to be honest i didn’t find it that helpful , some people do, some don’t it seems). But gradually the stress began to leave my mind and a few months on i felt ready to get back into something new and began the job search, the networking, the writing to contacts new and old, the telling my story.
Even telling your story to potential employers is difficult i find, the ‘why did you leave your previous role?’ question, i’d rather be honest but apparently it is not good practice…. and you end up talking about ‘it was time for something new’ or ‘ i just wanted a new challenge’… if only we could all be a bit more open at times without question, the whole issue of mental health, anxiety, depression would be far less stressful to deal with. We all have our ups and downs in life (no doubt interviewers do as well) but the whole process seems to revolve around saying the right thing rather than being honest.
I am no-one special but i have 20 years of great experience, an appetite for hard work and love interacting with people and sharing my passion for football through my work and always trying to balance my professional responsibilities for income for a club, with the desire to ensure that supporters and their needs are kept at the forefront of any decisions that are made or products that are introduced. Rather than the short term quick buck now, gone tomorrow ethos that still affects how many clubs treat their supporters.
Anyway back to the point…
The job application process i expected to be tough, the football industry / sports industry are tough to break into and the market in terms of jobs can ebb and flow, between quiet and not so quiet..
But the one thing that has really shocked me is how dismissive companies (and i have applied for numerous roles both inside and outside the sports industry in the last 3 months) can be.
The time consuming process which you put your heart and soul into of crafting resumes, cover letters, filling in bespoke application processes, answering competency questions and then NOTHING.
I totally understand it is an employers market and lots of great people will be applying for roles and not everyone can be successful but my issue is with how many companies seeking employees have a rather forgetful and dismissive approach to those people who apply and they don’t want to go any further with.
And i am talking as someone who knows i am qualified for the jobs i am applying for , overqualified in many cases …
And this is where my anxiety kicks in again, that mental tick box in my head, knowing for example Job X closes on 1 August and their expected interview date is 13 August , or Job Y are saying they will sift on 5 August and interview on the 12 August , you check your emails, you wait for your phone to ring, you picture yourself in that role, the things you would love to do, to help with ….
And then NOTHING … except the automated response at the bottom of your original submission
We regret that due to the volume of applications we receive, we cannot respond personally to all those who apply so if you do not hear from us within 4 weeks of the submission of your application; your application has not been successful on this occasion.
I get people are busy, i get HR departments are under resourced and i get so many of these processes are even automated these days…but i think companies under estimate the human touch at times, even to say thanks but no thanks, or this is why on this occasion we don’t think you are suitable for this role…
It’s the not knowing that kills you, the lack of any contact that increases anxiety as those dates they listed for interview pass etc…
The world is a competitive place these days in so many ways but deep down whether you are a company CEO or the office junior, we are all human, we all have feelings, we all desire to be valued or of value and these processes i think forget that.
Some companies do at least take the time to say ‘ thanks but no thanks’ and you put it to bed and move on but most don’t, your time and effort applying, your CV, your life become something else just dumped in an automated bin somewhere. And it affects you or maybe it just affects me?
I have applied for jobs linked to my industry but working for two charities in the mental health sector in the last month, attractive roles that i would have loved to have had the chance to be interviewed for and to sell myself for but nothing came of it and to be honest that is what got me thinking of this post.
When mental health charities who know the effects of stress, anxiety, depression and the rest of it can have on people, have processes that are so dismissive of job applicants, how are companies in any other sectors going to be any better?
I even followed up to this mental health charity who are a national body with a personal email just asking if they could let me know where my application was up to and for any feedback if i hadn’t made the cut and that was ignored as well.
All i am asking i guess is to remember little things go a long way, whether it is saying thank you to the person who serves you in a shop, letting the person queuing at the bus stop go in front of you or even just letting people know, that this time sorry, thanks for applying but you haven’t got the job.
The mental health industry itself should be leading the way with this approach and sadly from my experiences of it thus far , it isn’t practicing what it preaches.
Here’s to the next job application anyway…!