By Stephen Viscusi
Every day I hear from hundreds of people top men and woman in their field, who have, in their words "not had a bite...a nibble" they tell me, to their resume, or if they are lucky enough to get an interview, they tell me they get "zero response", to that interview, or their resume.
The one year anniversary of being unemployed is the one anniversary most people, do not want to celebrate. The second anniversary --even worse, is making you feel more depressed and bleak.
Some of these people have had freelance or, "consulting assignments". Others dabbled with the idea of "reinventing themselves ". The plain truth is, the higher up you are, the longer it seems it takes to find work, much more so during a recession. Most of my friends, who have lost jobs, now finally realize those previous jobs will never return, in this economic climate. Unemployment and underemployment for top paid executives is a sign of the times, as a "Jobconomist," I see it staying this way through 2010.
It seems worse for more people now, because, as the stock market raises, and murmur of the "economist" that we may be coming out of the recession, people wonder if things are getting so much better...where are the jobs? Sorry....I predict this will be a jobless recovery through 2010, and it makes those unemployed, for a year or more, even more depressed.
The only thing worse than being unemployed for a year or more, is to be the spouse, partner, or child--or even a good friend, of a unemployed person going through this emotional roller coaster. It is a nightmare. Marriages and relationships have been destroyed, as have friendships. The emotional toll, is far worse than the financial, after one year of being unemployed.
For those of you that have been, unemployed one year or more, and are feeling hopeless, let me tell you, it is possible to break this cycle of rejection, which everyone e-mails me about.
You can even turn your fate around in your favor, and get more interviews and eventually land a job. When you have been unemployed one year or more, the change will only come when you are willing to admit that you are helpless to find a job. Stop blaming the resume, your age, or the previous amount of money you were making more than a year ago. Let all that go, and once you face the problem, that there is something about you that is holding you back from finding work, you can now move forward with a new plan of action, and a changed attitude.
Executives that are unemployed for a year or more, become understandably frustrated. Then that frustration turns into depression, and depression turns into bitterness. You begin second guessing. Questioning everything about one's self, and your efforts to find work.
Have you ever noticed how six figure executives always blame their "resume", for lack of interviews? Most of these same people have paid to have their resumes professionally prepared. Then--even better, these same people then often pay (again) to have the resume they just paid a professional to do, critique d by yet another professional.
If you know anyone who has ever been in rehab, they will tell you, that most of the drug councilors are former drug addicts themselves. Now sharing what they learned. Just be sure you are not getting your career or resume advice, from a fellow chronically unemployed person, who like the former drug addict, feels that they have something to share. Unlike the former drug addict, who then went to school and has special training, your "coach", or advisor, might just have smoke and mirrors. (In case you are wondering, I have never been un-employed) After one's resume, what's the next excuse of these one year or more unemployed people? Come on you know: Age...followed by money ... the very fact that you were making six figures. These are your (Former) excuses.
That is really what they are....all excuses, for what the real problem may be: "YOU"--"your attitude". You're legitimately depressed emotional state, has permeated everything you touch. Even, the way you have crafted your resume, or let it be crafted.
The way you network, the way you interview. After one year of being unemployed, you have bought into the defeatist attitude, and the only thing worse than being unemployed for more than a year, is to be the spouse or partner of the person who has been unemployed. Poor them. Trying to comfort you, give you hope, while they see as clear as I do, that you have given up. They do not want to enable you, make you more depressed, you are taking advantage, by making excuses, and this cycle will go on forever.
Here are my recommendations for positive change, for the One Year Unemployed Club:
Admit you have a problem beyond the economy that is to blame for your being unemployed for a year or more, then"
Step 1: If you have been unemployed for one year or more, admit you have a real problem finding a job. Do not blame the resume, do not blame your age, or past salary, or the "economy" blame your attitude.
Step 2: Work to change that attitude.
Step 3: That means sacrifice, and re-engineer your thinking process. No vacations. You should not be rewarding yourself for not finding work. Just the opposite.
Step 4: Change your bitter attitude. Eliminate negative vocabulary words like: "Just spinning my wheels", "I am too old or experienced for this", I cannot take a job for less than", "or I require this salary"
Step 5: Stop blaming the "résumé ". Blame yourself. Consider your resume, no matter who did it, only a "template"; change it yourself each time it goes out. Tweaking that resume yourself for each job.
Step 5: Look in the mirror: Do you "look" like you are worth the income you require. Shallow but true. Do you need some Crest white strips, smile? What do those teeth look like? Men--inappropriate facial hair, that you could get away with, when you were making six figure, but can't now? Hair color? Clothes? Handshake. Look like a million dollars and you can get a million dollars. Shallow yes....what happened to credential? Working hard and all that? Well you tell me, you are the one that has been unemployed for at least a year, maybe longer. I am not "coaching" you, coaches are for sissies. I am directing you, as if you were in unemployed rehab. The "Betty Ford" of the unemployed. Re-engineer what you are thinking.
Step 6: Stop leaning or your spouse or partner and best friends. You are killing them, and they cannot help you. No whining complaining, talk very little about your job search and when you do, bring up only the positive aspects of what you have gone through each day. They are working to supporting you, and stop having a pity party, don't make your spouse partner as your captive guest.
OK--Got it? Now you haven't died...when you were fired that is, start with a fresh attitude, a fresh start is what we all need. Erase that old anniversary date of the day you job died...when you were fired that is, and let's all make this DAY ONE...all over again. Take one day at a time.
Join MY Underemployed Support Group: I am based in New York City, and I am considering starting a FREE support group for the unemployed. Answering your questions listening to each other's stories. We can just all meet in Central Park one day, unless someone wants to volunteers a location. I will take it anywhere in the country we can get a sponsor for. It would all be free. Let me know what you think. Would you come? Write to me at Stephen@Viscusi.com
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By Stephen Viscusi