Searching for a job can be a real chore and quite the challenge. This is especially true if you are venturing into a new field.

While I don’t think I ever had what Carol Dweck would call a fixed mindset, recently I have come to better understand the growth mindset and it’s awesome power. I’m sure if the growth mindset is more powerful than the fixed mindset is crippling but being aware of one’s closeness to either side is really important!

I have always been interested in learning new things and challenging myself to stretch my abilities on many fronts. My pursuits have included repairing electrical outlets, composing a “cool” original composition for second-year high school band, and developing a one-page Angular web application with a Rails back-end.

The bumps in my road often come from my innate “need” to find a solution. I find myself in great cognitive dissonance when too much time goes by with no solution in sight. I must remind myself that not all problems have a solution that I am ready to create or implement. Great Scott!

While I have not been on many interviews and only a handful in the past decade I find my confidence drops when imagining myself engaged in deep technical talk. You see, most of my skills have been learned in isolation with help from written resources like Learn. Little things like how to pronounce “Gnome” or “PostgreSQL” leave me feeling a little naive to say the least.

Knowing how to do something technical, explain something technical, and teach something technical can be separate beasts. As an educator, I know that the greatest mastery of a skill or topic begins with the ability to effectively teach someone else. Teaching makes break things down. Questions from pupils make us think in new ways that may require new testing or research to get a good answer. Great teachers are always learning and embrace new thoughts and challenges from his or her students.

Going back to interviews and other job-searching activities, I find my mind freezing up sometimes due to nerves and my desire to “have the right answer” to questions posed by potential employers. Remembering to remain calm, friendly and humble while conveying confidence is a delicate dance that I am not sure how to choreograph. In the future, I plan to remind myself that I am more prepared, skilled, and ready at the next interview than I was at the one before it!