Don’t Sing the Job-Hunting Blues!

You created the resume. You composed the cover letter. You bought the suit to dress for success. You applied for various job openings and now you wait. You wait for the phone to ring inviting you to interview. You wait to learn of job leads. Waiting…it’s a hard place to be in a job search.

The in-between time in a job search can be a lonely, isolating time. Suddenly, it seems like everyone is working except you. The job search can make you feel benched, out of the game and more of a spectator rather than a player. It’s easy to get the job-hunting blues…that place of being in limbo.

Often, our mindset can be our enemy or ally. It’s a matter of perspective. The negative mindset can start to gnaw at us with belittling comments. We can start to second-guess ourselves with questions regarding our performance, what we could have done differently, how we could have prevented our situation, and so on.

The feelings of leaving or losing a job when nothing better is on the immediate horizon are described in the Kubler-Ross Model on Death and Dying. Kubler-Ross identified the five stages as denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance (not necessarily in order). Likewise, not having income, loss of benefits and losing a sense of belonging and security are part of the grief process…so is waiting.

While you are in this place, you might feel the sense of the cup as half full. It’s an important time for self-care. The dark skies will eventually clear, but taking care of you, reaching out to others and accepting an outreached hand can make the journey less agonizing.

Here are some tips to help you cope with the job-hunting blues:

  • Read - Reading for pleasure, relaxation, escape…either way, it’s a good time to let your mind be engaged. Research companies or educational opportunities. Make a trip to the library. Consider reading to your children as well.

  • Reflect - The question is, what’s next? Take time to ponder the question. This time in your life can provide insight into your strengths, values and what you contribute to the workplace. Maybe it’s time to retool, return to school, relocate or explore a career change. Take time to be with the issues and uneasiness rather than avoid them. Write down your observations. Take time to deepen the learning as you prepare to forward your action.

  • Exercise - It’s just what you might not feel like doing, but it is beneficial. This could be a good time to try yoga, lift weights, walk, use the exercise bike, play with your children, etc. Exercise is good for the heart and the mind. You might also enjoy the benefits of dropping some weight and firming up. The extra energy can be a boost to your job search and a healthier body can help you be more confident for future interviews.

  • Network - You’re not the only one looking for work. You don’t have to be alone with the process of a job search. Meet a friend for coffee. Attend a job transition support group. Call the Workforce Development Center. Contact a temporary employment agency or outplacement specialist. Learn more about support opportunities and options in your area.

  • Volunteer - There are opportunities all around. What do you enjoy? How could you contribute? Whether you sort food at a food shelf, visit a nursing home, or mow the lawn for an elderly neighbor, volunteering for a few hours can make a difference for you and them. Volunteering can be a form of networking as well.