Looking for a Job When You Are Depressed
Searching for a job is hard enough when you are already gainfully employed and not depressed. But, add depression and maybe a recent job loss, and the dynamic of your job search changes. Yes, the internet brings new tools to your search, but those tools are available to everyone and mean that there can be hundreds of applicants for every job. And, it is more likely than ever that a computer will reject your resume before it even gets seen by a person. Right about now you might already be getting depressed about the whole job search process but, wait, you are about to learn how to turn the odds to your favor.
Remember the first rule of a job search: you already have a job. That job is searching for your new job. The energy, skill and creativity you bring to this job every day while you search for your new job will determine both your monetary and psychic income for years to come. You may be depressed right now, but remember that it’s your ultimate objective to put depression behind you and live a life that includes a great job. The second rule is that you can be good at this job even if you are really depressed, because you get to attack it in small, manageable bites. So, relax, read on and put your future on the road to success. What you are about to read might seem impossible in the face of depression, but it is easy if you remember to take small bites of the task.
A. It’s Your Job: Remember, until you have a job, its your job to get a job.
B. Two Types of Income: Every job has both monetary and psychic income and a job with negative psychic income isn’t going to help you in the long run. Look honestly at the work and the working conditions. If you must take a job with low psychic income, don’t let yourself forget what is causing that lump in your stomach.
C. Take Small Bites: Don’t get overwhelmed. For instance, start off by scanning the job postings on the internet and writing down the keywords in the postings, since you will need to include them in your resume. Take one step at a time.
D. Pace Yourself: It is easy to get lost in the search for a job and find yourself more depressed every day. A job search is no different than any other job and it can easily become just a boring and depressing as filing documents all day long. Schedule time to do other tasks whether it’s just the laundry or some other small physical task, one where you can see the real progress you’ve made before you go back to your "real " job.
E. Stay Healthy: Get exercise, be sure to take your medications and do whatever you need to do to de-stress.
F. Use Your Local Resources: Look around your community and see what it has to offer in the way of job training, education and job search services. These won’t be great jobs, but they can get your career back on track, especially if you used to work in a dying industry. Go to your city hall, local charities and church groups.
G. Reference books: Go to the library or the Barnes and Noble reading room and research what others have to say about the job search process. Just remember that there is no magic bullet to finding a job or we wouldn’t have 8 million unemployed workers today.
H. The Internet: You must accept that you will need to respond to many hundreds of internet postings just to get one or two responses. If don’t get any responses look at your key words again. Responses to Internet job posting are pre-screened by computer software and you must have the right keywords to slip through the eye of the needle.
I. Network: Talk to others in your industry or field, but don’t ever ask for a job, just information and advice. They will help you because everyone wants to have friends in high places and what better way than to have helped them get there?
J. Thank Everyone: Be sure to let everyone know how much you appreciate their time and their great advice.
1. Ever say anything bad, or even equivocal, about your current or past employers, after all, no matter how big a part they might be of your depression, they are great business leaders and you’re only look to find a better job with a great future.
2. Pay for a resume writer unless you can really afford it and the cost is appropriate for the type of work you are pursuing.
1. Realistic and look for jobs that you can do without increasing the stress in your life.
2. Honest with prospective employers about any past employment problems and your credit rating, if they’re going to check.
M. Scams: There are heartless individuals willing to prey on you just because you are unemployed or just looking. Be careful.
Above all else, remember that your depression, properly treated, may be a permanent part of your life but it need not keep you from a rewarding career. And, when someone you know calls and asks for your thoughts, insights and advice about their career, give them all of the time and information you can afford.
Deborah Gray wrote about depression as a Patient Expert for HealthCentral. She lived with undiagnosed clinical depression, both major episodes and dysthymia, from childhood through young adulthood. She was finally diagnosed at age 27, and since that time, her depression has been successfully managed with medication and psychotherapy.