You can REFUSE feedback

“Feedback is a gift.”


It’s okay to refuse to even hear someone’s feedback.


Searching for a job is often stressful, and it can put a strain on your emotional resources.

My own experience taught me that the well-intended feedback from naysayers, or those who are simply clueless about the realities of searching for a new job in a new country (your family or friends back in your home country for instance), can do more harm that good. This is usually not actionable advice, and it can unfortunately even contribute to draining your emotional resources.

Even if you don’t act on this feedback, it can stick around in your mind rent free, like a broken tune you’re not even aware is playing. And sabotage the actions that you take. 

For instance, let’s say you’re casually chatting with someone who happens to also be searching for a new job. They’ve been trying for over a year, with little to no success, and they are understandably frustrated. They passionately tell you something along the lines of:

“It’s incredibly hard to get a job here, especially with Covid, it will take you forever, no way you’ll find an English-speaking one, blah blah blah, count yourself lucky to get any job in this pandemic…”

Now, if you choose to believe what they say, this “it’s so hard, be grateful to get anything” line of thought risks to affect your own thoughts about job searching. And as a result, it risks to affect your feelings about it, your future choices concerning it, and the results that you are likely to get. This disempowering line of thought can not only affect how quickly or easily you get your next job, but also the specific job that you end up getting. I talk at length about the way in which your thoughts influence the results that you get here – if you haven’t already, I highly recommend you give it a listen.

This is not to say that you can always steer clear of this type of feedback.

Sometimes people will outright tell you what they think about what you’re doing –before you get a chance to let them know you’d prefer not to hear it.

If what they share does not sit well with you, you need to consciously remind yourself that the person who is giving you the feedback has a subjective perspective. What they’re saying might be true for them, but it doesn’t mean it necessarily has to also be true for you. Some useful questions to ask yourself: Do I trust this person? Have I received this feedback consistently, or is this a one-off? What does my intuition say – is this advice something I should consider or not?

And sometimes, there are people in your life who already have a history of giving you unhelpful and even demoralising feedback about how you should or should not be searching for a job, how soon a job offer should be happening for you, or about any other aspects of how you should live your life. 

In these cases, I’d suggest you find a way to insulate yourself against their opinion. One way could be to diplomatically let them know that your job search is not a topic you want to discuss with them. 

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution, but placing these boundaries when it comes to what you are willing and what you are not willing to listen to, can really make a difference for not only your results, but for your wellbeing.

It has to be said, this doesn’t mean that you won’t sometimes receive feedback or advice that won’t feel good in the moment, but prove helpful.

There’s one thing to receive uncomfortable, yet helpful and actionable feedback from someone that you trust. 

And it’s a whole other thing to receive unhelpful, not actionable and uninformed opinions from people who don’t understand what you want, what you need and what context you find yourself in.

Feedback is a gift.

Just remember that at times, ignorance is a better gift.

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