Continuing Education + Job Training // Publishing since 1999

Down in Downsville

By ANDREW OLIVER - September 20 2019

Dear Elcee:

I have been out of work now for six months!  I never believed when I was laid-off from my employer that finding a job could be so difficult.  I know I am fortunate because, at the moment, I am financially ok, but that is only because I am receiving EI.  I know I am doing all I can to find another job as I am going to my local Employment Centre on a regular basis.  My greatest difficulty is my mental state.  I am suffering from insomnia, I am eating all the time and I don’t want to do anything socially.  I have never suffered from depression before and have always been a positive person.  Am I losing it?

Down in Downsville

Dear Down in Downsville

NO! You are not losing it.  Experiencing joblessness can lead to a whole host of negative emotions..  Jobseekers may experience some or all of the following mental and physical effects of joblessness such as depression, insomnia, isolation, weight gain or weight loss , low self-esteem, stress and  intimacy issues.

In my lengthy experience as an Employment Counsellor, I often found that we tended to deal with the building blocks..a good resume and cover letter, networking workshops and filling in training gaps.  Those things are very important but I don’t believe they are the most important parts of a successful job search.  WHAT!!! Aren’t resumes and cover letters my bread and butter?  Why would I say that? My job was primarily to keep people in the job search game.  Day after day I spent far more time encouraging and coaxing than I did editing cover letters and CV’s.  Here are some tips I would give to clients;

Stay on a schedule.  Most job searchers look for work from all their waking hours.  Keep your job search to 8 hours a day AT MOST! Keep to normal working hours.  Make time to eat at your regular times.  Stay hydrated (lots of water) and when 5 o’clock comes..stop. Shut down your computer and do..whatever else you like.

Volunteer.  Many career counsellors will recommend volunteering as a great networking tool and, sometimes it is.  The greater importance of volunteering is improving your self worth.  Volunteering and giving back to your community has numerous benefits but one of the greatest of those is the good feeling of knowing that you matter.

Do not hesitate to get professional help if you feel you are not able to cope.  That may or may not involve medication.  Many times, job seekers, need someone outside of their own sphere to speak to.  Family and friends are great for socialising but they may not have that objective view that can be provided by a professional.  Don’t feel ashamed of this or embarrassed.  I have at many times in my life benefited from a great therapist.

Physical exercise.  What?  I  HATE exercising.  I really do. I do however take my dog for a walk at least twice a day.  Less for him (although he loves it) but more for me.  It clears my head and makes me tired. I also love to swim and garden.  Find out what you like to do for physical exercise and do it.  Exercise increases endorphins and we need those when going through a difficult time.

Whitney M. Young  said “The hardest work in the world is being out of work.” And she was right. 

Treating your job search like a job, staying on a schedule, being physical and positive are the keys.  Good luck!

Dear ELCEE is written by Deborah Noel,
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