Surviving Unemployment And Depression

There is Nothing Wrong with You

When you are out of work you find yourself applying to hundreds of jobs, start feeling the pressure to pay the bills and start wondering if there is something wrong with you since you have not received a job offer in months. This negative thinking is easy to get into. You need to try to focus on making a good impression and not dwell on the fact that you haven’t been hired yet.

Try to remember that being unemployed or having a gap in your resume is not a bad thing. With these economic times, many people are finding themselves unemployed a few times in their lifetime for 6, 8 and even 10 months at a time. Job hunting and interviews is an emotional journey. Here are some tips on how to survive being unemployed and depression:

    1. Not All Interviews are the Same
    For some reason people think every job interview should be exactly like the last one. Well, that’s just not the case. Some companies break the mold and don’t do panel interviews, phone interviews or even have HR in the room (bad idea but that’s just me). When this happens the interview seems more causal and the interview feels a little less formal. Sometimes the common interview questions are not asked and they just ask you one question “why should we hire you?”. When we are surprised by different interview methods we feel unprepared and as a result think we did not do well.

    I always feel that if you do enough research about the company and its interviewers, and if you feel comfortable talking about your skills and experiences, you should ace any interview method. Each company is as different as each candidate that applies to work for them. Try to remember that every interview should be a learning experience. Not only are you learning about yourself and how you can overcome any weakness you might have in interviews but you are learning about the company and if YOU think it would be a good fit or right step in your career.

    2. Get Some Exercise
    Eating right and getting or staying fit is the key to feeling good and fighting depression. Sitting and feeling sorry for yourself won’t get you anywhere. The only thing sitting and feeling sorry for yourself might lead to is gaining a few pounds that you will regret and hate yourself for. It’s important to keep up with a routine and that should include some sort of exercise to get the heart pumping before you log onto those career sites and apply to jobs. Staying fit makes you feel good and it will make you feel even better when you do get a job interview and you feel and look great in your clothes.

    3. Stay Confident
    Sometimes you can have a job interview that makes you feel horrible. Now when this happens we usually blame ourselves because we are our worst critics but maybe it wasn’t our fault. Recruiters and hiring managers are normal people who can make mistakes as well or who can be horrible at their jobs. I sat in on one interview with a colleague and found out that they were a horrible recruiter. They asked the hardest questions imaginable and made each candidate feel very uncomfortable. The hiring manager wasn’t a star either. My point is that sometimes it really isn’t you; it’s them and if they didn’t hire you, then they hired the wrong candidate who probably won’t work out and the same job will be available in 6 months or so ;). The most important thing that you need to remember is to always feel comfortable in your own skin and be confident with your answers.

    4. Network
    I might sound like a broken record but don’t just ONLY apply to jobs through job boards you find online. Change things up. Hand in your resume in person and see if you can talk with the recruiter. This is a great way to start that important relationship with the recruiter but remember to be polite, don’t be desperate and don’t act like a douche.

    Tell everyone you know that you are looking for a job and what job you are qualified for. Your friends and family might know someone who knows someone who knows someone that is recruiting. The point is don’t just hide behind a job board. You can also contact recruiters and companies on LinkedIn or Twitter and let them know you are looking for work or send them your resume directly. Be an active job hunter and not a passive job hunter.

    5. Work-Life Balance
    The more balanced your work-life is the less traumatic it is when you lose your job. Try to spend more time with family and take on a hobby. Some people let the name on their work building or their job title define them. It’s a status symbol. When that’s gone those people feel lost. Don’t let that happen to you so make sure you have a life outside of that cubicle.

At the End of the Day
Being unemployed for a few months to a few years is really hard. Not just emotionally but financially. You need to be organized and watch your finances but also be confident that even though this is your 10,001 interview that you will turn it into the best interview you ever did. Being depressed and getting into a rut is terrible and I don’t wish that on anyone. Before you feel yourself heading down that spiral staircase of depression remember that seeing a psychiatrist is expensive and since you’re not working you don’t have health insurance so how are you going to pay for help? The best thing to do is to surround yourself with people who can relate to you. Family and friends are great but so are support groups. You don’t need to do this alone because frankly you’re not alone; unfortunately, thousands of people are in your position but if you stay positive, it’s a position that you won’t be in for long.

Photo by: millicent_bystander