It Affects More Than You Know
I have advised several people over the past year regarding how to find their next opportunity and deciding if a certain role is the right fit for where they are and where they want to go in their career. For the long-time unemployed, I’m finding that it’s difficult to determine their true wants and objectives because everything is shaded by a certain level of uncertainty and despair.
So part of my role during our sessions are to help them see the potential in their downtime. Brainstorm on what associations they can join, volunteer opportunities they should pursue and skills they can develop. What’s really crucial is staying active and saying connected.
Negative feelings are only natural after being laid off and going through a job search, especially in the current economic climate, but experts say there are some symptoms which require outside support if they linger too long. Here are some red flags to watch for:
- Depressed mood
- Significant weight gain or weight loss
- Withdrawal from activities
- Withdrawal from family
- Increased substance use
- Little things setting you off that didn’t before
- Feelings of shame
- Feelings of helplessness
- Feelings of hopelessness
Refocus and Re-energize
Debra Donston-Miller offers great advice on how to combat the negative physical and emotional aspects of being unemployed:
- Exercise regularly.
- Eat a healthy diet.
- Maintain a regular schedule, especially when it comes to sleep.
- Stay away from anything that can dull your edge, such as alcohol.
- Don’t try to go it alone. Connect regularly with other people, both in your professional and personal circles. If all of your connections were through your job, consider seeking out religious or community organizations.
- Make yourself useful. Reaching out to others during this time is one way to help you feel valuable — and valued.
- Limit your exposure to television and the Internet. Sitting passively while consuming bad news is detrimental in many ways.
- Seek out free services in your community. Many people who have been working don’t realize that there is a safety net out there, experts say — everything from the library to mental-health services.
- There are many things you can’t control right now, so focus on the things you can: how many resumes you send out, how many phone calls you make and so on.
- Don’t put your eggs in one basket. If you pin all of your hopes on one “perfect” job, you have to start all over again if you don’t get it. In fact, think outside the box. Your next job may not be the same — in function or in pay — as the one from which you were laid off.
- Count your blessings. There are worse things than losing a job. Try to be grateful for what you do have.