Ten Ways to Avoid Job Search Meltdown

Ten Ways to Avoid Job Search Meltdown

Let’s face it, there is a huge sector of our population that has been out of work for a while. Not just a matter of a few weeks, but some for months, even years. This economy has made it very difficult to find gainful employment. The freelancers of our economy are also getting hit hard with fewer and fewer contracts coming through the wire.

That means thousands upon thousands of people are sitting in front of their computers, day in, day out, hitting up the job sites. Sending out sometimes dozens of resumes, or worse yet, none, per day. It’s a day after day drudgery of hitting the refresh button on your browser hoping that dream job came through.

In addition to all the other downfalls, this process leads to jobseekers fatigue. Which leads to half hearted attempts at introduction letters, missing details in the application process and just flat out frustration and a most dreaded meltdown. It is important to keep fresh, but how do we do that when some are staring down so many months of unemployment?

There are some great positive tips to help the long term job seeker and freelancer on the search to help break up the doldrums of daily searching. Ranging from simple projects to day long efforts, there are some things we can do to help lighten the mood and reinvigorate our minds.

1. Take a break to relax your mind: go for a walk, take a dance break, do a few yoga poses.

Often times we are tempted to just hit refresh on the computer and find ourselves staring down the same listings over and over. Go through the listings once, make your list of jobs to respond to. When you are tempted to hit the refresh button, step away from the computer instead. Go for a 20 minute walk or a 5 minute dance break. Walking engages us with our surroundings and fills the brain with new ideas, when our bodies are active, our minds are healthier. The job listings will still be there when you return. Only you will return reinvigorated and inspired to tackle the process anew.

2. Write a thank you note.

When you find yourself frustrated and only able to focus on what is not working, try to think of the things that are positive in your life, present or past. Write a few thank you cards, whether you send them or not, it’s a good exercise in staying positive. It’s also a great exercise for staying in the habit of regular correspondence.

3. Make a list of all the things you’d like to do & start doing them.

Make a list of all the things you’d rather do besides look for work, include everything from polishing a pair of shoes to climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, learning to macramé to fencing. You have plenty of time, so make as long a list as you need. And start doing them, start doing the things on your list that cost little or nothing. The one thing you have in abundance is time.

4. Work from your porch instead of the coffee shop a few days per week.

A lot of job seekers get in the habit of working at coffee shops to get out of the house. Try working from your porch or set up a small outdoor seating area on your fire escape, it’s good for a change of scenery and it also saves you that five dollars a day you’d spend on coffee. Pay yourself that $5 a day and spend it toward a small something special: a bouquet of flowers, a dance class or movie ticket.

5. Reward yourself, daily.

Looking for work is hard work. When we have a job, there’s often a system in place for rewards. Have a casual or dress up Friday. Put a little pinch of cinnamon in your coffee. Cut some flowers and put them on the desk next to your computer. Give yourself a little reward for the hard work you do every day.

6. Take advantage of free days.

Most cultural institutions have a free day. Mark your calendar with the free days and free events in your area. Mark it in your agenda and make it into a “meeting” with anyone you know that is also looking for work. Keep the date. It will give you something to look forward to, get you socializing and you just may learn something new.

7. Join a Meetup group.

There are a lot of great online social networking sites. Browse around and join as many meetup groups as you please. Think about things that are interesting to you outside of your work life. And if you aren’t sure what you like, try something totally outlandish. It’s good to be out in the world, meeting people and having conversation. It will keep you fresh for interviews, and you never know what opportunities await you when you just get out and meet new people.

8. Volunteer for  a local organization.

Look for local organizations that need volunteers online, through a church or civic center. You can certainly spare a day or two or even just half a day. Again, you never know who you’ll meet. There is also the added bonus of being of help for people who would otherwise be without your contribution. It is good for head and heart to know that you’ve a positive influence. It’s also another great way to keep your mind fresh by seeing other perspectives.

9. Barter your skills.

There is a barter section in Craigslist or you can find a friend out there with skills you could benefit from, try bartering. Some people barter hour for hour or fee for fee. A graphic designer could barter with a yoga instructor, an electrician with a masseuse, you never know what you’ll find. It also just feels good to do what we do best.

10. Try something new at least 3 days a week.

It would be great to try every day, but set a goal to try something new 3 days a week. There are a lot of how-to instructional information online, it’s free education. Learn to do origami, make paper beads, roast a chicken, start a windowsill garden. It is very empowering and inspiring. Who knows, you just may find you have talents you would’ve never had time for before.