Career Transition: For Job Searchers Dealing with Depression

Gail Nicholson Gail Nicholson, MA, LPC
Gail is passionate about working with individuals who want to explore and connect with a more authentic sense of self as a basis for defining their lives, work lives and roles in the larger community. She offers a blend of personal and career counseling, as she has found that attending to personal issues or mental health concerns can reduce barriers to moving forward. Gail works with clients on defining purpose and direction, handling stress and tackling career exploration, job search and small business start-up.

For Job Searchers Dealing with Depression by Gail Nicholson, MA, LPC

Is your job search getting you down? Are you wondering what’s wrong with you and your resume? Do you think you’re no longer marketable as you wait and wait between interviews?

Afraid to tune in the news, thinking more sad news about the national and global economy will depress you further? Feeling too old? Dealing with a prior injury or life challenge? Divorcing?

Confused about it, but still wondering what it would be like to go back to school? Worried about your lack of education or money? Swamped by family concerns and feeling overwhelmed, about how to improve your life at home and at work? Staying away from friends and family to avoid embarrassment about your situation?

Any one of these frustrations could technically be called “depressing for job seekers.” Barely fending off the negative, despairing dialogue going on inside your head is making it impossible to think your way through to answers for your “stupid, silly situation.”

Do your best to put those voices on hold. Develop calming, loving and rational responses instead. Talk with someone who knows how brilliant you really are and get some validation for your perspective. Would meeting new people change your outlook? Over the next few days, consider whom you would most like to see personally or professionally.

When you are personally overwhelmed and in crisis; remember to emphasize simple positive activities to help yourself find your path toward a working community, continuous, small steps taken after daily reflection. Think more about how you truly feel about things; what will nurture you most right now as you seek to be true to yourself and your family and find your place in the working world?

Don’t worry; think it through, establish priorities, make plans daily and start something that will make a small positive difference. Consider the next five steps.

1. Care for yourself: especially physical movement. You’ll do a better job search when you feel better. We think better, when we feel better. Get back to your best habits around rest, projects, pleasure, diet, exercise and socializing. Prayer or meditation? Try it. Develop new healthy daily and weekly routines to stoke your stamina. Acknowledge and praise your smallest of accomplishments, alone and with others. Indulge your persistence at the end of each day with a cheap thrill. Get the alone time you need and call your special friends. Take time for relaxing or invigorating hot baths and massage. Read favorite authors and check out their biographies.

2. Commune: get together with people in person. If you are unemployed, daily personal contact outside your partnership, family or living situation could be a good goal for you right now. Step up the pace gradually, starting with informational interviews. Cultivate contacts at employment agencies. Scope out a place to volunteer in your field if you haven’t already. Check out events in your chosen industry that are affordable and go to them. You never know whom you might run into. Check out free or low-cost counseling and support groups offered by local non-profits, universities, community colleges and the employment office. Exchange ideas and resources. Hike and camp out in nature. Where can you effectively wrestle with the biggest questions you have about your life? What’s important now?

3. Set small goals and take action, online and off. In this age of hyper cyber fascination, my career search clients are having most success relying on a combination of web exploration and existing personal connections.

4. Learn to explore. Embrace your questions and concerns. Listen. Who’s got the info or training you need? How are you going to find these people? Who could help you find the people you need to talk to? Small actions taken daily add up quickly as you get better at pinpointing priorities and responding. Even if you’re not sure just what to do next, find a way to follow-up with something that’s been on your mind recently.

5. Start a journal of your experiences. Write about your priorities and why these personal interests and values are so important to you. Make lists of things that occur to you about any aspect of your situation as you write. Learn to go from big picture thinking to identifying what should be done today or tomorrow. In business we call it “breaking a vision down into doable steps, with an emphasis on the follow-through.”


2 Comments on “Career Transition: For Job Searchers Dealing with Depression”

  1. Anne Bryant Says:

    Outstanding job, Gail! Insightful, compassionate, and practical.



  1. Career Transition: Dealing with Depression II « Career Transition: The Inside Job - November 3, 2011

    […] a series of three blog articles to help you deal with depression. The first five tips can be found here. I invite you to continue reflecting on the following ideas to help you through unwelcomed […]

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