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Pet Ways to Ease Stress
with Jessica Loftus, Ph.D. & Jack Murray

Kitty Tips for Easing Job-Search Stress

I feel like I spent two of my nine lives watching my owner look for a new job. Here I share my expert insights on easing job-search stress.

My poor owner lost his job as a community newspaper editor after 20 years of faithful service to his readers. Too young to retire, he set out to find a new job. Boy, was he stressed!

After investigating the top US jobs, my owner reviewed the latest trends in writing a resume. While taking a few deep breaths to quiet his stress, he created a draft of his resume and a LinkedIn profile. In my fumbled attempt to offer him support, I jumped onto his keyboard while he wrote a summary of his qualifications. “Sneakers!” he shouted my name as he prodded me off the keyboard. What a grouch!

The Application Process

Then I jumped on the back of his chair to encourage him to pet me while he crafted his resume. Focused on writing clearly, he felt satisfied that his first draft could pass the 30-second test, in which essential information could be gleaned. With action verbs and results-oriented descriptions of his work experiences, his resume started taking shape.

When he suddenly got up to take a break, I accidentally scratched his neck as I jumped off his chair. That earned me a loud scolding as he applied anti-biotic cream on his neck.

Finishing his resume, my owner culled through his favorite online job-search engines looking for jobs that matched his qualifications. He soon clicked on an ad to apply for a position and write a cover lever. Nearing the completion of a lengthy application with a personality test, I “accidentally” pounced on his power strip, clicking off his computer. That caused him to lose almost an hour of work. He promptly locked me in the laundry room.

When he finished for the day, he retrieved me. Looking very stressed, he petted me slowly while I purred and cuddled in his lap. After a while, he calmed down and got me a few kitty treats before he went out for a nice walk.

Preparing for the Interview

A few days later, my owner received an email requesting a phone interview for a promising job. He happily petted me when I jumped on his lap to share his good news. Finally, “Grouchy man” disappeared for a while.

My owner’s wife role played an interviewer with my owner asking him common interview questions. As I cleaned myself next to him on the couch, she asked him common interview questions. This practice helped him land an in-person interview. Boy, did I get petted enthusiastically then!

To prepare for that interview, my owner carefully researched the employer’s website and anonymously visited the worksite to glean a sense of appropriate work attire. He also assembled a mini portfolio in a glossy, black folder containing his resume, recommendation letters, certifications and work samples. Then he prepared several thoughtful questions to pose to the interviewer which he packed in his briefcase with a notepad and fountain pen.

The Interview

On the morning of his interview, his wife cooked him his favorite breakfast of cheesy scrambled eggs, turkey bacon, whole-grain toast and coffee. He ate happily and pet me occasionally as I purred in his lap, “You will do great!”

Before he shaved and showered, he carefully laid out his black wool slacks selected for his interview on his bed. Big mistake! I took a short cat nap on those comfortable pants, leaving them full of white cat hair. Too stressed to make a fuss, he merely grumbled as he scraped my hair off his pants with a lint brush. Then he took a whiff of lavender essential oil as he breathed deeply.  Finally, he reminded himself that the purpose of a job interview is to select the candidate who best fits the job, not to judge the candidate’s worth as a person.

Follow-up to the Interview

Coming home from that interview, my owner related what happened to his wife as I jumped on his lap. He had been nervous but managed to answer the questions well and ask all the right questions about the job. The interviewer told him he would hear either way by the end of the week. His wife reminded him that he prepared well and did his best. If he keeps at his game plan, he will eventually land the job he wants.

After playing laser light with me for twenty minutes, he hopped on his computer to write a brief thank you letter to the interviewer. Remembering to write the letter on a Word document, he recalled a question that he fumbled during the interview and clarified his answer in his second paragraph. Upon careful review, he emailed his letter as an attachment to the interviewer.

Success!  He landed the job. Visit the National Career Development Association website for extensive resources on career planning and job search.


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Kitty Tips for Easing Job-Search Stress

Jessica Loftus

Jessica Loftus has worked as a licensed clinical psychologist and national certified career counselor for more than 20 years. She currently offers counseling sessions via telehealth in Illinois. Her website,, outlines steps for making a career decision. details. See her retired blog, "Pet Ways to Ease Stress,"

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APA Reference
Loftus, J. (2019). Kitty Tips for Easing Job-Search Stress. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 2, 2020, from


Last updated: 29 Jul 2019
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