Q: There's a job I want, and I know if I could get it my career worries would go away. However, every time I apply for this type of position...

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Q: There’s a job I want, and I know if I could get it my career worries would go away. However, every time I apply for this type of position, I’m passed over. How do I prove to an employer that I’m the perfect fit?

A: An employer will only be repelled by a job candidate who appears to be pursuing a job with desperate white knuckles.

It sounds like you may believe that the only way you can stop worrying is to be employed in your dream job. The reality is that if worry is a problem for you now, your dream job does not have the power to fix your emotional state.

We live in a culture where advertisers would have us believe that external factors control our inner world. If we just buy the right car, have the right watch, and wear the right clothes, then we’ll achieve inner peace, permanent bliss and eternal popularity.

We might have to buy a lot of cars, watches or clothes before we figure out that this is a lie. We can then get more sophisticated and figure we were waiting for the wrong thing. Instead, we obsess about the right job, mate or even education.

The graduate school I went to, the Fielding Institute, does a clever exercise with all their doctoral candidates. In the beginning of the Ph.D. program there’s a class where each student gets called “Doctor.”

We all thought this was weird because none of us felt worthy of the authority invested in that grand term “Doctor.” When I finally asked our professor why she was doing this, she explained, “If you can’t grant yourself the authority of being a doctor now, don’t think this degree will give you that feeling.”

Of course, you can spend your life waiting for an event, thing, or person you hope will give you the internal state you want. Or you can cheat, close your eyes, imagine you had what you want and see how you feel.

What if, instead of waiting to get this job, you gave yourself permission to feel respected, talented or calm now?

Now imagine your next interview: You walk in already in the state of mind you hope to achieve; you’d like to get the job still but your entire well-being is no longer hanging in the balance.

If you can separate your career goals from your inner world, you’ll find more freedom in both.

The last word(s)

Q: My boss is setting me up to be fired. What can I do?

A: Figure out your best exit strategy and use it.

Daneen Skube, Ph.D., is an executive coach, trainer, therapist, speaker and author of “Interpersonal Edge: Breakthrough Tools for Talking to Anyone, Anywhere, About Anything” (Hay House, 2006). She can be reached at 1420 N.W. Gilman Blvd., No. 2845, Issaquah, WA 98027-7001; by e-mail at interpersonaledge@comcast.net; or at www.interpersonaledge.com. Sorry, no personal replies. To read other Daneen Skube columns, go to www.seattletimes.com/daneenskube