Afraid I Won’t Get a Good Job After MBA

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Reader’s Question

I am 25-year-old man. After working for two years, I left my job to return to school. I applied for an MBA program, took the entrance exam but did not get a good score. However, I got calls from two good colleges, and school will begin for me in a few weeks. Now, I am very afraid that I won’t be able to pass other tests in the MBA program and that afterwards I will not get a good job.

I am very afraid.

Psychologist’s Reply

You are not alone. In these lean times, many well-qualified college graduates are struggling to find any job, much less a job that matches their credentials. It took some courage for you to leave a job in order to improve yourself. After your initial setback with the entrance exam, you were still able to secure a position in college. Congratulations are in order. Now it seems like you’re struggling to maintain your courage for this long training program ahead of you, especially in light of these real uncertainties.

We have to separate our fears from our anxieties. Fear is a natural response to a threat in one’s immediate situation. Fear needs our respect. We need to be able to listen to our fear just as we would listen to an early-warning siren. Anxiety, on the other hand, is a worry that does not seem to be related to your immediate situation. You might call it an irrational fear or a fear attached to a situation that no longer exists. In your case, you sound both anxious and realistically fearful about your future.

Preparing for difficulties that might lie ahead sounds prudent. It sounds like you are quite capable of managing that. Relaxing your anxiety in the present is the bigger challenge. It is important that you do find a way to relax and stay focused on your task at hand in order to prevent you from sabotaging your success. Sometimes, people will not do well in a test or job interview because they’d rather blow their chance to succeed than hear someone else say they’re not good enough. Their experience can be a cautionary tail for us as we continue to grow, reach, and extend ourselves to greater and greater goals.

Since you have a few weeks before school starts, use this time to develop a plan of self-care. Make sure it includes all the basics: nutrition, exercise, rest, study and fun. By the time school starts, you will already have your work habits established. Once that is done, then you can fit your new classes and assignments into your schedule. Perhaps after college ends, your work habits will be the most valuable credential you develop.

All of us struggle with the tasks assigned to us. The best we can do is to apply ourselves and do our best. Somehow, we each need to recognize that our best is all we can do, and that is good enough. The things we can’t control will hopefully meet us halfway as we keep on trying and applying ourselves to what we are doing in the moment.

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