The alarm shrieks.
Welcome to your personal Groundhog Day. You wince — another fruitless day of job searching commences.
Unemployment, or underemployment, bruises. We shuffle from one employment fair to another. We spend hours fine-tuning a cover letter only to receive a curt response from an employer.
“The selection pool was very competitive. We have opted for another candidate. Best of luck in your job search.”
You sigh, crumpling the letter and flicking it to the wastepaper basket. Lamenting the depressing job search, you question your employability.
“Maybe there is something wrong with me,” you grumble. Slinking back to your bedroom, you close your eyes.
It is 11:03 a.m.
The job search is demoralizing and disheartening. But as the numbing depression threatens to topple you, know that you aren’t the only one. There are million of transitioning professionals trawling those very same career sites.
Job malaise is a silent epidemic, but one that you don’t have to fight alone. Here are strategies to manage the job search’s isolation and indignation.
- Find a support group
A support group comes in many forms. Family, friends, a weekly Meet-Up, your basketball group can prop you up. And you don’t have to worry about snarky comments from old Bill with the reliable jump shot. He is more concerned about your defensive rotations.There is one support group stipulation: put the job search on the backburner.
- Find an outlet
I am a self-admitted travelholic. A wandering nomad. A languid stroll in a cobblestone alleyway keeps my world a-spinning. When job uncertainty threatens my mental well-being, the allure of far-flung destinations preserves my sanity.Make the outlet interactive. There are Meet-Ups to exchange travel stories; online portals to divulge off-the-beaten-path destinations. And once the memories from the last adventure fade, there are glistening photos to renew your motivation during a floundering job search.
Well-meaning family, friends, and college acquaintances press you about the latest employment possibilities. The conversations can be exhausting. Think of a generic response (“I’m optimistic something will pop up soon”) to disarm the constant inquiries.If the employment search drags on, depression can morph into despair. Remember that you are more than a job title or dollar sign. Think of the roles you play: trusted confidante, doting parent, reassuring friend. Your identity cannot be distilled into a one-page resume.
- Find a purpose
A purpose-filled job search may ease the job search crunch. As I transition into a more satisfying career, I reaffirm my long-term goals: emotional fulfillment, financial security, meaningful relationships.When depression ensnares us during a job search, our long-term goals contract. Responding to every semi-promising lead, we appear unfocused. When our focus meanders, our career prospects do, too.
If picking your passion seems daunting, that’s okay. Life comes with an eraser; you can always discover a new passion or chart another path.
The job search can be deflating. As days turn into weeks and weeks turn into months, a tide of self-doubt threatens to submerge you. Your bed calls. But on this day, you have already received a special wake-up call: You are more than a job.