A Guide For Coping With a Discouraging Job Search

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Just a few days ago, I was taking a little time out to get caught up with the blogs and websites that I enjoy but haven't had the chance to read lately. One of those sites, The Hairpin, a publication aimed toward professional women that has a casual vibe and covers all sorts of topics, posted a blog series by a very talented writer, Jess Zimmerman. Her Guide to Eating Very Particular Feelings was, to my mind, just plain genius. For those who emotionally eat or those who swallow their feelings and need a chaser, her guide helps pair up the perfect food for the specific, unnameable emotion. It's sort of like being a wine steward, only with a heavier focus on alcohol and cake.


There was one emotion in the guide that I thought many discouraged job seekers experience on a regular basis. It got me thinking and I started wondering, what other feelings are specific to a job search? Here's one from the article:


FEELING: The one where you're sitting alone in a dark bar with a bitter drink on a rainy day and you suddenly realize that this is your life, the final verdict on who you are at the age you've gotten to, and in a pulse beat you're crowded by the phantoms of everyone you didn't grow up to be, every delayed breakup and untaken trip and turned-down job now hoisting glasses on the stools around you, pressed knee-to-knee with the children you failed to bear or raise, and you feel that all your breath has gone into them, that somewhere only a shimmering membrane away from reality these others are breathing for you.


HOW TO EAT IT: What kind of snacks do they have at this bar? Goldfish crackers? Perfect. Whole handfuls of goldfish crackers. Tip the extras into your purse.”

Wonderful, isn't it? I think we've all been there. Here's one of mine that might sound familiar:


Feeling: The one where you're sitting in your car after leaving a job interview and knowing that you blew it. If only you had paid more attention to the interviewer's body language, or weren't so distracted by their bad toupee. The fit of giggles you tried to stifle didn't help and you're pretty sure that you got several of the answers wrong anyway. Your white knuckled hands grip the wheel and if it wasn't for the fact that these are your last pair of Spanx you'd totally take off those uncomfortable heels and drive in your hose.


How to eat it: Pull in to the nearest convenience store. The only thing that will help wash away the taste of failure is a chocolate Yahoo and some type of Peanut Butter cracker.


Or, how about this one:


Feeling: Checking your messages many times a day for an entire week, just hoping they'll call. After the interview, you felt confident that they would be rushing to offer you the job. Instead, the only call you get is from a collegue telling you that they had hired someone else. You can't breathe and your body turns into jelly. In that instant, you know that it was because you just weren't good enough.


How to eat it: I'm not sure. I think it's just like when you have a great date and then he never calls and you see him change his Facebook status to “In a relationship”. The only thing that helps is Ben & Jerry's and a friend to tell you that they were just intimidated by how awesome you are and that they probably didn't hire you because you're so overqualified.


I know this is silly, but when you've been looking for a job for some time and have been riding the roller coaster of getting excited and then having the bottom drop out from under you, it can be so depressing. It's easy to feel as though you're the only person who has gone through this. For some reason, our first instinct is to swallow down our emotions and pretend that they just aren't happening. We're ashamed to really feel them and to accept, deep down, that there are millions of other people out there trying to find a great job. Just because this one isn't the one doesn't mean our careers are over. Instead, we eat junk food and find something on television to distract us and let us deny and discount our real feelings in favor of made up ones on the screen.


How do you handle disappointment and rejection in your job search? Please share your thoughts, comments and food pairings in the comments.


Image source: MorgueFile


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  • DawnHazlewood
    Okay, this had me laughing hysterically, because it is so true for me right now.  Pretty clever writing.  Right now, I feel like.... feeling #1.  I am literally re-evaluating a lot in my life, relationships, so on... I'm realizing that I didn't learn too much from my mistakes, because maybe if I did, I would be feeling like.. feeling #1.  However, I still have faith... so in the meantime, while I watch my savings run out like running water.. I will take one day at a time, and keep refreshing skills that I haven't used in a long time.  Start volunteering again and try to keep moving along...  
  • Melissa Kennedy
    Melissa Kennedy
    Thanks Judith. When times get tough, people seek comfort in lots of places. It's great that you've found what works for you. Maintaining a positive attitude is so important!!
  • Judith H
    Judith H
    This is a perfect time to put all your faith and trust in the LORD to provide for all our needs.

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