Too Afraid to Want What You Want

By J.P. Reynolds

Todd hired me because he wanted guidance as he searched for a new job. The financial situation at his company is such that he doesn’t see room for either advancement or a raise and he doesn’t want to be stuck on a Titanic.

He works in the entertainment industry as a technical manager at an editing production house. He’s been at it long enough that his knowledge and expertise put him in a valued position.

For several months he’s been going through a series of interviews at a major studio. After each one, he’s been encouraged that “the job” is going to be offered to him.

However, in an odd twist, his fifth interview was with an executive who admitted he didn’t know what job he was interviewing Todd for! At the end, the guy assured Todd that he seemed like a perfect fit — even though he couldn’t say for certain what the job was!

He told Todd that someone from HR would contact him shortly. Todd realized that with each successive interview, he was becoming more confused as to the job he was a “shoe-in” for.

Ten days went by without a word. So, he called his contact and explained that he’s going on vacation and would like to know what’s up before heading out of town.

His contact asked him to call when he got back because for sure he’ll have good news then. Todd told me that he’s not going to call; he’s fed up and if they want him, they’ll call.

But there’s more. Todd admitted he enjoys being a drama queen because he doesn’t want them to offer him a job — whatever the job may be!

Yes, intellectually, he wants “the” job, but emotionally he doesn’t. He likes his job, he likes the power and influence he has and he’s afraid to lose it, but because the company’s in a financial mess he feels he should move on.

If the studio says, “No,” then he’ll be happy because he can reassure himself that he tried. If the studio says, “Yes,” then he’ll go to his boss and hope he’ll counter-offer, though he doubts he can.

Todd admits he doesn’t want to take power in the situation because then he’ll have to live with the consequences of his decisions. He’s hoping that what “should” happen, will happen.

Crazy? Sure. But most of us do some version of what Todd is doing. Change is scary. Taking responsibility for our decisions is scary. Leaving it up to the “gods” to decide our fate seems less risky. Playing mind games is more fun than mapping out a strategy.

But, if we don’t create our own life, then who will?

Please send your communication questions to me at: jp@jpr-communications.com