Eight ways to revitalize your job search
I am seeing a very disturbing trend in the ranks of the unemployed, especially those who are "long-term" unemployed (eight months or more). That trend is the tendency to give up.
I have seen several once-robust jobs networking groups dwindle or shut down in the last six months. This isn't because everyone is getting employed. It is because many are simply dropping out or taking whatever jobs they can as they go slowly bankrupt. While I understand and empathize with the frustration and discouragement, giving up is not going to make things better. Here are a few things that might actually help.
1). Get the support you need. I'm not a fan of hanging around with a bunch of other unemployed people grousing about the economy and the difficulties of getting re-employed. But I am a fan of getting support in continuing your search, whether that be from friends and family, or a professional. Choose at least one person to whom you are accountable for your job search activities. Then listen to that person when he or she must kick you in your behind to "motivate" you.
2). Be around positive people. I know that positive people are getting harder to find. But stay away from "Debbie Downer," and try to keep a large number of positive, inspirational people in your life.
3). Muddle through. No, you're not always going to have good days. The solution is to keep going even when you feel down, depressed, discouraged or even suicidal. Resolve to put one foot in front of the other, day after day. Remember the Japanese proverb, "Fall seven times, get up eight."
4). Do something every day. Even if you have to volunteer at a company or an organization, get working. Just having to get up in the morning and put on some clothes, and getting away from the idiot box and the Internet, will have positive effects. And you might well meet someone who can actually give you a job. I know that volunteering to work for free for a company has some difficult ramifications for both you and the employer, but I know of several people who have become gainfully employed that way. Just don't shoot yourself in the foot and complain to the Department of Labor about it.
5). Downsize if you are able. There are various ways of downsizing. Get real about how many cars, boats, motorcycles, and other stuff you really need. Then get real about the size and expense of a house you need. If necessary, go to one of the non-profit debt groups and re-negotiate your debt. Stop trying to maintain a lifestyle that is putting tons of stress on you and your family. While it might be nice to own a "McMansion," it isn't necessary for happiness. Get your ego out of the way and do what you need to do to survive.
6). Be active. Exercise need not cost tons of money. My gym (Colorado Pro Gym) is only $25 a month, but lets me work out frustrations and setbacks. Even 24 Hour Fitness has some low-cost programs. Exercise, especially vigorous aerobic exercise or vigorous resistance (weight) training will help you combat the depression that comes with long-term unemployment. Cut back on something else to help you afford the necessity of having a place to work out. And, at a smaller gym, you can easily make many supportive friends. If possible, go with a training partner.
7). Eat well. It is very easy to lapse into eating just "comfort food." However, with a bit of creativity, you can eat healthy food and do so inexpensively. My wife and I have "discovered" Sunflower Market. Their selection is sometimes limited, but the food is mostly organic and is often priced lower than a regular grocery store. Just cooking more at home helps a lot too. The more energetic and healthy you appear, the better chances you have of getting an offer.
8). Watch what you put into your mind as well as your body. Be very careful what TV programs you watch, what you read or watch on the Internet, what you listen to in music, and so on. Avoid programs that tell you how bad things are, or that are downers.
Yes, things are rough out there, but they aren't hopeless. Next week I'll write about some different ways to find great work, even in this Great Recession. Do not give up hope. There are jobs out there, and one has your name on it!