When it comes to our jobs, we are going to experience a wide range of situations and emotions as long as we are in the work force. You may have a job or career that you love, or you may have a job that you are feeling unfulfilled by. And of course, there’s a wide range of situations and experiences in between. If you are in the work force, you may even experience a point in time where you are jobless. Being without a job for any period of time can bring up many complicated emotions. Research shows that individuals experience an increased sense of well-being right after losing their jobs, but this feeling reverses if they are still searching for jobs after 10 weeks. Job-search depression and anxiety are real feelings that many people will experience if they are having difficulty finding work. In Micaela Marini Higgs’ article, How to Deal with Job-Search Depression, the author writes about several coping skills that allow you to overcome the job-search depression. This post will reflect on her article.
It is important to note that the solution to job-search depression is not as simple as constant networking and sending out resumes. Even some of the top candidates are not guaranteed success or landing the job they want. The uncertainty behind job-searching is a driving force for increased stress and anxiety. Dealing with the emotional and mental health aspects of this type of adversity is difficult, and we are most likely not taught the appropriate skills to manage this challenge. Overcoming the stressors of job-searching and jobless-ness requires building new habits in our personal lives.
Remember: You are more than your career
The first step in overcoming job-search depression is to remind yourself that you are more than your job. We sometimes forget that as our careers become a big part of our identity. In fact, identity is a big factor that influences our job-search depression. Not having work and being on the constant look-out for a new opportunity may make one feel as though they have lost a part of their identity. The solution for this is to recognize that you and your personality are greater than your employment status. Remind yourself of the rich and diverse experiences, values, and attributes you have. This is crucial for coping with job loss!
Treat job searching like a job
Aside from loss of income and struggling with identity, you also may lose that day-to-day structure that your job allowed you to maintain. After a while, a lack of structured and scheduled time can lead to feelings of depression and anxiety. A simple solution to this hurdle is to create structure for yourself both within your job-searching and outside of it. Schedule blocks of time throughout the day solely dedicated to networking or applying to jobs. Make sure to then include time for other activities that help you mentally recharge. Add a workout class to your daily schedule, take time to call a family member or friend, or get out of the house for lunch or run errands.
Set yourself up for some victories
Create some feasible goals to work towards (other than finding a new job) during this time. Engage in activities and create small goals that are outside of your comfort zone, and acknowledge even the smaller victories that you achieve while job-hunting. Got a second interview? Great! Felt confident during your networking meeting? Awesome! Be proud of the efforts you take during this difficult time, and explore new opportunities that you may not have given a chance before.
Get out and be social!
One of the best things that you can do for yourself while being jobless is to take a mental break from your job-hunting and connect with family and friends. Being social and in-touch with your loved ones reaffirms the aspects of your identity that have no ties to your career. It also helps you avoid isolation, which is common during jobless-ness. If you’re feeling embarrassed or down about your unemployment, surround yourself with people who will be supportive and encouraging. Also, remember that you’re not alone in this type of situation. Many people have experienced job-loss or will in the future, and connecting with others over your experiences can be validating and healing.
If you are having a difficult time overcoming job-loss, therapy may be beneficial. Contact Symmetry Counseling to get connected with one of our talented clinicians.