Think you’ve hit job search depression?
Losing a job is a financially and emotionally difficult event, not just for the individual, but for family members as well. If you don’t find another job right away, then long-term unemployment can result in more serious consequences.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that long-term unemployment can affect physical and mental health. Additionally, it also negatively impacts children’s schooling outcomes. In a CNN article on the topic, psychotherapist Diane Lang, asserted that job seekers who have been looking for six months or longer start showing signs of depression.
Signs of Job Search Depression
No matter the cause, depression is a serious issue and should be identified and dealt with before the consequences grow. If you’re currently job hunting and feel stuck in a slump, ask yourself if you’re experiencing some of these job search depression symptoms.
1. You feel you’re the only one who has fallen behind
Cut off from your former routine with seemingly too much time on your hands makes it easy to get lost in your own thoughts. Comparing your own circumstances to those of former coworkers, friends, or family will only make you feel worse. People tend to only highlight the positives in their lives on social media and in-person, so your perception of others’ successes can be totally off base from reality. In addition, your experience and skill-set is unique to you, so focus instead on what you’re able to do with your own cards.
💡 Tip: Remember people tend to only highlight their positives, but not their struggles.
2. Your self-worth is suffering
As a cornerstone to stability, a job is an essential part of anyone’s life. Without one, you lose a major part of your routine, identity, and of course, financial independence. After the initial loss, the job seeking process only adds fuel to the fire. Repeated rejection after interviews or applying can start to take a toll on self-esteem. After all, you’re continuously putting yourself out there only to be told you’re not the right fit.
💡 Tip: You are not your job! All the great characteristics, traits, friends, and family you had before a job loss will still be there.
3. You’re having to fake energy and enthusiasm in interviews
Recruiters are really good at separating the genuine candidates from the fakers. After job searching for a while, seekers often start broadening their range of positions to include almost every and any job that they feel they’re qualified for. If you’re just desperate for any job and feel like you’ve failed before the interview even happens, you may find yourself lacking enthusiasm in interviews.
💡 Tip: Remind yourself before every interview why you’re applying. Even if it’s to get an income back, that should be reason enough to show some excited energy.
4. Job searching has consumed your personal life
While it’s important to put an emphasis on job searching and integrate it into your daily routine, it should not be all you do. Depression can feel like an endless spiral that makes everything unenjoyable. As a result, things that may have sparked joy before may not seem worth enjoying as long as you are without a job.
💡 Tip: Therefore, it’s best to create a schedule that incorporates a healthy social life and time to unplug and relax. On top of that, exercise is a proven way to combat depression that will also benefit your physical health during this difficult time.
5. You feel hopeless about ever getting a job
Job search depression can also make you feel hopeless about ever getting a job again. After several rejections, it’s hard seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.
💡 Tip: Stick to a consistent schedule of applying, attending events, networking, and improving your skills. The only way to go is up.
Recharge the Search with New Opportunities
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If you feel that you may be experiencing job search depression, please seek professional advice and help. The National Institute of Mental Health is a great resource to reference.