You’ve been out of work for a very long time.  Much longer than you thought you would be.  You’ve gone through all the motions, filling out online applications, reading about how to be a good interviewer with all the proper answers.  You have a clearance that should make you desirable to many companies.  You’ve even snagged a few interviews, but for some reason you just haven’t been picked up.  You’re desperate, and in that state, you might not want to make any life-changing decisions.  Maybe, just maybe, it’s time to sit back and breathe.

The Deliberate Job Seeker

Take stock about what your job search process has been so far.  Are the positions you’ve looked for in line with what you’d like or even love to do?  If you’re unemployed, you’ve likely been advised working in a career you enjoy is unusual, or that work may be barely tolerable, at best.  But can a strategy of desperation really lead to job search success?

At this point you have almost nothing left to lose.  Except you do–which is why you’re staying with the same job application script.  Your family depends on you.  You have a new car you’re still paying for.  You have that house you’d like to live in for a while longer.  And they both need to be insured, too.  The money needs never seem to stop.  When you begin to feel most discouraged by the pressing financial and emotional burdens, it’s time to stop, relax (I know it’s hard), breathe…and think. Become human again—don’t react, don’t think you’re only as successful as your job.

Strategies for coping with unemployment:

  1. Look for opportunities to volunteer.
  2. Pursue new (and inexpensive) hobbies.
  3. Take time for your relationships.

Think instead about what you can do. You can do things that make you happy. If those things cost very little, or even better, no money, then great! Do you like reading books?  There’s always a library available. Do you have a bicycle?  How long has it been since you rode around on it? Do you have an inexpensive hobby you never pursued because work got in the way or made you tired when you got home?  Get out there and learn that hobby.

Find an Opportunity in unemployment

You can do things that makes your family happy.  When I was unemployed, my wife and I enjoyed the fact we could suddenly spend lunch together. We discovered more of our city just by walking on paths we’d never known were there. My soap-making hobby?  Well, it inspired my wife to start making her own lotions. I’m pretty sure we’re happier than if I were holding it all in, constantly afraid, and constantly desperate.

Being unemployed is definitely emotionally draining. You’re constantly second-guessing your applications and interviews.  Even when you’re doing things that make you and your family happy, it will still weigh on you. That’s natural. But don’t let it gnaw at your soul.  Don’t let it kill the relationships you have.  Think about what it is you truly want to do.  You really have so much more to gain than to lose, so why not try the different path?

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John Holst’s career path is as nonsensical and mad as the March Hare. In a series of what John thought were very trusting decisions, the United States Air Force let him babysit nuclear weapons, develop future officers, and then operate multi-billion dollar space systems. Then John re-enacted scenes from “Brazil” by joining the Missile Defense Agency, working as minutes-taker, configuration, project, mission, and test manager. When he’s not writing for Clearancejobs.com, he is putting his journalism degree skills to use as The Mad Spaceball.
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