Increasingly more job seekers are opening up to me saying the hardest part of being unemployed is the emotional drain they feel. Some will tell me they’ve never felt worse in their life. Sure, money is an issue, but it’s the fear, uncertainty, anger, despair, the whole bundle that affects them the most.
I was out of work 14 years ago and found there were people with whom I should have surrounded myself. The people I found helpful made my job search bearable. They helped me deal with the highs and lows of the job search.
Here are five people you should have on your side.
You know the type I’m referring to. They wear a smile on their face most of the time, and they speak positively about people and situations. They’re not downers, and they won’t let you dwell on your problems.
People like this exude positivism that’s contagious. They make it possible for you to forget your negative thoughts for a moment. That moment can be enough for you to realize that your unemployment will be temporary.
Unemployment can wear on relationships, particularly between your spouse. It is natural for your spouse to also feel the effects of your unemployment. So you will want to seek people who can provide you with the positivism you need.
People who give great advice
For free professional career advice your best bet is your nearest One-Stop career center or your alumni career center; although not all universities provide this service. There are public career centers throughout the US, and they are free.
Workshop facilitators and career advisors can provide the most up to date job-search advice. They are empathetic to your needs. However, they will not let you dwell on your situation.
Another option is networking groups in your area. The area in which I live offers networking groups that meet every day of the week. It’s important that you find people who are knowledgeable about the job search.
I don’t mean to make this sound like a gangster movie, but you should also seek out people who know others. Start with people who are know connectors, who know almost everyone in your industry and/or occupation.
It’s important that you don’t just call on these people when you need help. Keep in touch with them on a social basis. You don’t need to mention you’re still looking for work every time you correspond; they’ll usually ask.
Be prepared to offer help in return. He or she who only takes will soon find themselves empty handed.
People who believe in you
At this point, you might feel that no one believes in you. This isn’t the case. You can’t discount family members, friends, neighbors, former colleagues, past bosses, etc.
These are people who will assure you with words as simple as, “You can do it, Bob.” or “I have faith in you.” or “You’ll turn the corner.” And you can tell by their tone if they’re sincere. I, for one, can’t lie to save my life; so when I say these words, I mean them.
The ultimate sign of people believing in you is when they are willing to deliver your résumé to someone in a company, or agreeing to be a reference, or going to a hiring manager and recommending you for a job.
Non-judgmental people will not put you down because of your situation. If you were laid off due to your previous company’s poor performance, they will not insinuate that you could have prevented being laid off.
If you were let go, they won’t blame you when it was a conflict of personality between you and your manager. I tell my job seekers that there are bad bosses who have an agenda, and no matter how hard my job seekers try, they can’t make it right.
Non-judgmental people don’t throw stones in glass houses, as the saying goes. They are empathetic because they’ve made mistakes of their own. To me, they demonstrate emotional intelligence and can be a great source of comfort.
People who want to have fun
One way to take your mind off your problems is by enjoying a laugh or two with friends or relatives. I’m sure you’ve been among friends who were recalling hilarious memories that had you in stitches.
When the laughter ceased and you were brought back to the fact you were unemployed they took notice and gave you a punch in the arm. They told you to snap out of it, so you did. Your friends wouldn’t allow you to dwell on what you couldn’t change at that moment.
You must remember that there are people like your friends or family who are counting on you to be the same ole Bob. Don’t drag them down with you. Sure they will offer a shoulder to cry on, but only for so long. They believe in you, are confident that you’ll bounce back, and instill positivism in you.
If you’re unemployed, seek out people who have one or more traits explained above. They’ll keep you positive, give you sound advice, believe in you, won’t judge you, and will keep moments light.
Photo: Flickr, Chris “Paco” Camino