Learn how to prevent job search depression.
Oh; the joys of looking for a new job… You’re so excited. You’re about to enter a new future. You’ll be making money, paying bills, and saving some for the vacation of your dreams. Sure, you’re excited about this new stage of your life, but that initial enthusiasm doesn’t last long. Soon, you face the harsh reality of the job hunting process.
There are several reasons that make the search for a new job challenging. First of all, you face huge competition. There are too many candidates for the good jobs, and the really good positions are limited. You realize you’ll have to settle for “less cool” positions, so you might still be far from reaching your dream jobs. The fact that hiring managers are not calling you back is not pleasant, to say the least.
And then, there’s all that stress. The stress of searching for adequate job ads. The stress of applying with the perfect resume and cover letter. The stress of waiting. More waiting. More applying. More waiting… It’s no wonder why job search is so depressing!
How To Prevent Job Search Depression
Job search depression from a personal point of view
Been there, done that. Before I got a job as a writer for EduGeeksClub, I went through a real struggle. My degree opened up a limited choice of options in the public sector. I didn’t like any of them. I kept applying for jobs I didn’t want to get. And I wasn’t getting them. Several interviews later, I found this amazing opportunity. But that’s not what I want to focus on today. I want to write about the depression the job search process causes. It can really change your life… for the worse.
During that period, I stopped being the person I once was.
As a student, I was full of enthusiasm. I was going to be a social worker and make a real change in this world. After tons of volunteering, I realized it was almost impossible to get a job in this sector. I continued volunteering, but I had to look for a real job. That’s when the troubles started.
Now that I’m over that struggle, I can think with a clear mind. What causes such job search depression and how can you prevent it?
Preventing Job Search Depression
There’s only one explanation for the fact that the job search process is making you depressed: uncertainty. Will you be able to pay the bills next month? Will you ever start getting a decent paycheck? Will you hear from that company you really want to work for? Will you have to settle for less? What will you do? How will this new working environment be? Will you make it through the interview process? Will the hiring manager like your resume?
You have only one answer to all those questions:
“I don’t know.”
That uncertainty is killing you. Combine it with the process of waiting, which can last for several months, and there you have it: your reason for getting depressed.
But you won’t allow yourself to get depressed, right? Here are few tips that will help you to prevent job search depression.
You didn’t expect this, did you? You probably expected a tip such as “stay focused on the job hunt and make it a priority.” Of course, you’re focused on the job search process. Of course, it’s one of your highest priorities. But is it something that should consume your entire life? No! If you allow that to happen, the process will be too stressful.
You have to get physical. When you get active, your body will release endorphins – neurotransmitters that act as natural stress-fighters. Plus, the focus on exercise helps you stop thinking about the stressful job search process for a moment. It reminds you there are other things in life.
Do you know what the most common excuse for avoiding exercise is? “I don’t have time for that.” Well, you do have time when you don’t have a job. So stop making excuses and get active!
2. Do something productive with your time
You can’t just spend your days feeling sorry for yourself. When you start complaining about life not being fair to you, you should stop and notice the first signs of depression. You have to act before this state of mind hits you full-time.
How about an online course? Volunteering, maybe? Learning new things and gaining new skills will not only make you productive but will also help you get a better job.
Maybe you like reading. If that’s the case, start a major reading project while you’re looking for your new job. Just do something useful with your time. When you do get a job, you won’t have much free time and you’ll be sorry you didn’t do more when you had the chance.
3. Try journaling
Therapists often suggest people with job search depression to write journals. That activity helps them to identify and cope with the intense emotions and fears they are experiencing. You don’t have to wait to get depressed to start writing a journal. This works as a preventive measure, too.
The daily journaling practice will push you to express yourself. You won’t be hiding your feelings and you won’t allow them to cause stress. You’ll gain another huge benefit: you’ll track the progress you’re making through the job searching process. This can work as your job search journal. You’ll write about the things you tried, the things that worked, and the things that didn’t work. When the moment for the next interview comes, you’ll be able to learn from your own experience.
4. Practice positive self-talk
Do you know what drives you to depression? Negative self-talk. When you send yet another application, you start thinking: “There’s no chance I’ll make it. They didn’t call before, and they won’t call now. I’m just sending purposeless emails here.” That’s not the attitude to have.
“This seems like the perfect opportunity for me. I have all the skills and qualifications they are looking for. I’ll craft a great resume and I’ll impress them with my cover letter. Maybe they won’t call, but I’ll do my part well.”
That’s more like it! With a positive state of mind, you’ll keep doing your best. You’ll keep improving and you’ll never allow depression to undermine your chances for success.
5. Get out there!
When you have to save the money you’ve got, you can’t invite your friends for lunch and you can’t accept their invitations every time. You feel like you’re forced to stay home. That makes you feel excluded from societies. It’s like you’re being punished for not having a job. That’s how I used to feel, but I was wrong.
The true friends are always there for you. They don’t care where or how they see you. They want to hang out, even if it’s just a movie night. So invite them to a movie night! Don’t stop socializing! Your support system helps you build immunity against depression.
Most of All, Be Patient!
That’s the hardest part. The waiting triggers stress, negative self-talk, self-pity, and despair. Don’t allow that to happen! Yes; it might take some time for you to find a good job. Stay strong. You’ll get there!
Thank you, Warren Fowler, for sharing your personal experiences and insight about preventing job search depression.