Superstitions usually kick in when you’ve done everything you possibly can do to prepare for your big moment — the pressure is on and you just need something a little extra so you can knock the ball out of the park.
Just look at the world’s greatest basketball player, Michael Jordan. he wore the same lucky University of North Carolina shorts under his pro uniform in every single game.
Similarly, Tiger Woods wears the color red on the last day of his tournament because his mother told him it’s his lucky color.
Serena Williams bounces her ball five times before her first serve.
Whether or not these actions actually bring these athletes luck, what’s important is that indulging their superstition helps them feel more self-confident. It gives them a sense of control over the situation. When we’re faced with uncertainty and high stakes, we habitually revert back to what we know has worked in the past.
Athletes aren’t the only superstitious professionals. We talked to many job seekers who practice their own unique superstitions during the job hunt. Here are a few of their superstitions, rituals or lucky charms:
Sleep with a Glass of Water Under Your Bed
Bridget Shirvell is a multimedia journalist. A friend once suggested that, on the day before an interview, she should sleep with a glass of water under her bed.
“I have no idea idea where they came up with that, but I admit to doing it just twice and both times I was offered the job,” Shirvell says.
Hey, it can’t hurt to try!
Wear a Red Suit to Interviews
Like Tiger Woods, author Mary Greenwood is a strong believer in the color red. That’s why, Greenwood always wears a red suit to her interviews.
“I got one job with a red suit and now I always wear one,” she says, “I read that red is a power color and it makes me feel confident. That original red suit is long gone, but I always wear a replacement red suit.”
Hindu Ritual: Fasting Every Monday for 16 Weeks
This is more of a religious ritual than a superstition. It involves fasting from sunrise to sunset for 16 consecutive Mondays. In Hinduism, Mondays are dedicated to the Hindu deity Lord Shiva, who grants wisdom and fulfills desires. Giving up this material comfort and fulfilling this vow to Lord Shiva is a way to help you focus, concentrate and gain perspective.
A few people I know, who prefer not to be named, practice this ritual while job searching. And, sure enough, it worked! (Though, their experience and skills may have had something to do with it.)
Never Tell Anyone About a New Gig Before it’s a Sure Thing
Or else you might jinx it! Ruth Furman, corporate image strategist at Imagewords says she never tells anyone “about a new gig or contract work until I have the first check in hand,” she says, “I learned the hard way.”
Melissa Stanger, associate editor at Levo League, did the same thing during her job search. She never told “anyone, even family or friends, the names of the places I applied, fearing that would jinx my application!” she says.
Even if you don’t really believe in jinxes, there’s really little to gain and everything to lose by jumping the gun and prematurely telling folks about your big accomplishment. If things fall through, then you’re left with not only the loss of your big feat but also the burden of explaining how things didn’t pan out.