Yesterday (October 29, 2007) Jason Alba, who blogs very successfully on his JibberJobber Blog, wrote an excellent posting about the dark side of job hunting - the job search depression that seems to overtake many people after months of knocking on doors, sending out resumes, and trying to find a new job - a discouraging task that seems to have no end.
Seeing Tragedy First Hand
As a 1994 layoff "graduate" I have seen what happens when people cannot deal with losing their jobs or with the SEEMINGLY endless battle to find a good, new job. My former employer was a Fortune 40 company, the # 2 computer company in the world at that time. But the market zigged while we zagged, and thousands of people in this area, and across the globe, lost their jobs. The layoffs extended over several years as the company gradually shrank. Now, it's gone - the remnanents sold to another (smaller) computer company.
Relatively quickly after the layoffs began, two true “victims” of the layoff, from nearby towns, committed suicide. A third, a co-worker of mine for nearly 10 years, waited a couple of years after he was laid off to murder his wife and then commit suicide. Appalling! But, not really surprising when you consider how most people handle a layoff and look for a job.
The Problem - Self-Fulfiling Prophesy
The first time you go through a “pay period” without having a paycheck at the end is a terrible shock. I remember being frightened, and also convinced that I would never receive another paycheck ever again. It is terrifying to have bills to pay without money coming into the bank account.
On top of that fear of not being able to pay bills, a job search can be a lonely and very discouraging process. The repeated rejection and – perhaps worse – lack of response can be terribly discouraging, even to those with the most robust egos. Over and over again, it can seem like people you don’t know (and maybe some that you do!) convey that you are worthless or just not good enough. Of course, it’s not true, but after you get that message over and over and over again, you begin to wonder. What’s wrong with me? Why won’t anyone talk with me? Return a call? Schedule an interview? Call back when they say they will call back?
After a while, job seekers get discouraged, expecting lack of positive response and lack of progress in everything they try. This feeling becomes the classic "self-fulfilling prophesy" - you end up creating what you expect (and fear the most) by sharing your sense of hopelessness. It becomes obvious to those who speak with you.
You need to have a better attitude. But, how do you dig yourself out of this hole? Get help! Doing it by yourself is very difficult if not impossible.
1. Get some counseling.
This is typically something people try to avoid because of the expense potentially involved when income is already too low, but it may be the best money you've ever spent.
You may find free counseling at your local One-Stop Career Center. You'll usually find local support through your state's employment offices. See Job-Hunt's list of state employment offices to find the one for your state.
2. Join a job search support group.
Job search support groups are wonderful if there is a good one nearby or a relevant one online. Most of them meet weekly, some less often. In the U.S. every state has some form of state employment office, usually with One-Stop Career Centers where you can find counseling, help with your resume, and, possibly, retraining assistance. You'll find comiseration from others "in the same boat" PLUS help with your resume, leads, advice, and help moving forward. Knowing that you're not the only one being rejected and ignored can be very encouraging. And, a positive attitude will help you reach that positive outcome sooner.
Find links to over 600 networking and job support groups on Job-Hunt’s Job Search Networking page. (Let me know if you find additional ones to include.)
3. Read "Beating the Job Search Blues."
This is an article I wrote in 2003, but it still applies.
The Bottom Line
The good news is that you WILL get another job! Honest!! You WILL!!! It may not be perfect, but it will be income. You will survive! And, you'll have improved your network and your job search skills so that your next job search - if there is one - will be easier.