Advice Male Perspective

Getting Through Being Unemployed

Since 2007, when the housing bubble crashed and threw the economy into a recession, many people have had to experience prolonged periods of being unemployed, and in some cases for the first time in their lives.  The average amount of time it takes someone to find a new job under these circumstances has varied a bit, but for the most part it’s been between 12 to 18 months.

The usual advice when it comes to dealing with being unemployed is that each day you should be looking for employment and applying to jobs.  Now this is not to suggest that advice is bad, but it fails to account for how long you may be unemployed, and what you’re going to need to get through it.  Essentially, it just may not be the best idea to blindly follow that advice.

A primary thing that you may want to consider is whether or not your skills, experience, and education are sufficient any longer for finding employment in your chosen field.  It just may be that the dynamics have changed, or that the competition is so fierce that there are too many other candidates that outstrip what you have to offer.  If you’ve gone through several long months of unemployment it’s probably time for you to take a long, cold, hard look and see if perhaps it’s time to consider a complete career change or to go back to school for more training.  This is not an easy thing to face, but it may become a necessary one.

You also may need to look critically at the level of jobs you’re applying for.  You may find you have a better chance of landing a job that’s at a level below what you were previously.  While, this can be pretty humbling to consider doing it may be necessary in order find work.

For many who are experiencing being unemployed for the first time in their working lives there are certain realities that may come as a shock.  One of these is that the summer months and most of December and January are dead months in terms of finding work.  There are far less job openings advertised during these months and if you are in a more specialized field you’ll find it’s very difficult to find a match for what you’re looking for.

Thus, during this time of the year you’re going to find yourself with a lot of free time, and because you’re unemployed, a limited budget.  From a career standpoint this is the perfect time to look into the idea of going back to school.  You’ll be able to calmly and rationally look at what the programs offer, their cost, student loans that may be available, and if your interest is piqued enough, start to make a plan.  By planning in advance you’ll be able to figure out what programs you can afford to take and whether or not they have a reasonable chance of helping you to land employment afterwards.

That’s just one option though.  Another is you can use this free time to get in shape.  Almost every city offers a cheap gym, which the public can pay to use, and if you live in a milder climate you can exercise outdoors.  By choosing to get your body in shape it’ll help make you feel better about your current situation because you’ll begin to associate it with a positive change in your life rather than the negative one of being unemployed.

Keeping a positive frame of mind is absolutely critical during this period because otherwise it will impact your ability to find employment.  It’s natural to feel frustrated, angry, and depressed when you’re unemployed so it’s crucial that you be kind to yourself.  If you have people in your life that are not supportive during this period you may want to consider distancing yourself from them because such a person can be detrimental to being able to land a job.

Try to take a day here or there and do activities that will help take your mind off your situation.  Take a tour of an art gallery or a museum.  Spend some time with a friend or family member you’ve been meaning to see, but couldn’t before because you were too busy when you were employed.  If there was a hobby or an interest you had wanted to pursue in the past, but couldn’t due to a lack of time now’s your opportunity.

Lastly, there is a tendency in our society to look down on those who are unemployed in a negative light, but the majority are hard-working people who no fault of their own lost their jobs.  If anyone reading this knows someone who is unemployed try to be kind and supportive of them.  Being unemployed can be a very difficult thing to deal with not only economically, but emotionally.  Many people have tied up their self-worth in their occupations and when they lose them it can be devastating, especially if they’ve never had to deal with such a situation before.

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  • Chelsea
    February 28, 2014 at 11:17 am

    I can relate to this. Thank you so much for writing. I hope you and the rest of the writers on the site keep this website alive. Please!