Why knowing the worst case scenario can be the best case

Photo by Kristoffer M.C.

Any one who knows me well knows that I lean toward the optimistic side, so why would I be talking about worst case scenarios? The image above is obviously a worst case scenario none of us would like – being attacked by a shark is not on anyone’s top 10 list.

Most worst case scenarios are not quite that bad. Usually we build whatever is scaring us up to the extent that it consumes us, upsets us, and sometimes makes us unable to function. Business owners and job seekers alike often fall into this trap.

Your job search crisis will last forever

Convinced that the sky is falling, we assume that whatever our present circumstances are, they will last forever. We see doom and gloom instead of sunshine. In reality, even when going through the darkest days, eventually the sun will come out again again. In business, we assume the economy will never change or we can’t do anything to change it. We don’t understand that tiny steps can make a big difference.

The endless stream of no’s in your job search

In a job search, we take one no and multiply it into an endless stream of no’s in our mind. We shut down the networking, thinking no one will help us or worse start using the Law of Subtraction as I outlined in this popular post:

Ranting about HR policies, interviewers, and other people who are now hired may momentarily lift the job seekers distress but the long range potential for the “Law of Subtraction” to take over the job search is growing with every angry word.

Business owners who are savvy will know that if they aren’t getting results, they need to turn to someone who can give them a clue as to how to get them. And that works in any economy.

The job search worst case scenario

Likewise, savvy jobseekers learn that by acknowledging their worst case scenarios and realizing they need help to get to the other side, they suddenly find offers popping up in the most unexpected cases. I am relentless in coaching networking with my clients. Connect, connect, and connect again… but not willy-nilly. Target to showcase your best skills in the best environments. Know the companies you are connecting with and find out how your skills will benefit their current problems or pain.

Yesterday, a client shared that her extra part-time job connection (she’s working three jobs right now) at a restaurant with owners who saw her value, yielded them sharing her new resume with someone who was a dead match for her talent. She picked up the ball and asked for the interview. It’s Friday. Then she did her homework, cashed in on an hour of interview coaching with me, prepared herself with background on the company, and she is off and running!

Write down the worst case scenario, acknowledge it, and find steps to change the course. Your worst case scenario is powerless if you take charge. It only has power when you deal on it. Ask yourself: “And then what?” to your worst case scenario and take away its power.


  1. Ari Herzog on April 13, 2011 at 9:04 am

    Ironic you wrote a few days earlier to stay away from panic, yet here you imply panic (if that is the worst) can be a good thing.

    • Julie Walraven on April 13, 2011 at 11:50 am

      Good catch, Ari. However, I was privileged to see this strategy played out at a conference where the subject was continually asked “and then what?” when they gave their answer to the worst case. The point was that we build up fear to something that in reality we could overcome if we really thought it through. By acknowledging our fears, we can not panic because we have effectively already owned them and taken away their power.

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Julie Walraven, Design Resumes

Julie Walraven

Professional Resume Writer

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