You’re out of work and your experiencing the stress of a prolonged job search. You and at least one other person are looking for a job and supporting each other in the process. When you do come across a job lead that is something you AND your buddy are looking for, do you share the lead or just apply yourself?
I’m going to suggest the right thing to do is apply yourself and give your friend the same chance. First of all, the job market is competitive. Whatever job you are looking for, you can count on having competition for it, and one more person competing for it isn’t likely to make a huge difference. You come across as a helpful decent guy at a time when your own self-image could use some building up, but as good as that is, I’m telling you that’s not why you pass on the lead.
The real reason for passing on a lead to your competition is twofold. First, you need to make sure that the lack of employment doesn’t change who you are as a person. Just because you lack a job and income associated with it, that doesn’t mean you are somehow less worthy as a person unless you degrade yourself by doing things that give others cause to see you this way. Secondly, you need to reinforce to yourself that you are good enough to compete not only with the addition of your buddy, but you can compete with a whole bunch of people and successfully get that job. Your ego needs stroking and this is one way to do it.
Jobs are partly how we define ourselves. When we say what we do for a living, we put ourselves out there for judgement and state what we do with pride, embarrassment, confidence, enthusiasm etc. Yet, we are all many things at the same time. We are fathers, mothers, winners, role models, etc. How we act when things are tough and life is throwing us challenges says a lot about our character.
What would you think about going into an interview and when the interviewer says, “Tell me about yourself”, you answer by smiling genuinely and saying, “I’ve been out of work for eight months now and I couldn’t be more pleased with myself in maintaining my dignity, my character and my confidence. Unemployment is my work status at the moment but it’s only one small thing that defines who I am. I will be employed soon, and I’ll look back at this time in my life as a time when I was tested and I did what was in my power to stay in control and be the best I could be.” Wow. Now that’s unique.
Sharing a job lead may mean a great deal to someone else who knows you need the job just as much as they do. The respect they feel for you may add a layer to your personal armour that you need in the battle as you rebuild your employment identity. Respect won’t pay your rent, and it doesn’t buy groceries, but it provides something much more long-lasting and important – your self-worth and self-perception. If you don’t get a job and someone else does due to your lead, you have one more person who might recommend you, and maybe that person will act as your reference too.
It’s what you do when you have a choice and no one will know one way or the other that will define who you are to the person that you will be with every single day of your life – yourself.