Don't Let The Unemployment Funk Drag You Down

Nancy Anderson
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When faced with financial responsibilities looming and the desire for a fulfilling career, your job search might cause stress that can lead to anxiety, depression and low self-esteem. Though coping with unemployment is stressful, you can keep yourself from fading into a funk with strategies to put you at the top of the candidate pool.

Keep your mind and your body active during your job search and while coping with unemployment. Focus on professional development to sharpen your skills and give yourself something to distract you from those looming bills. Take online computer classes, enroll in a continuing education course or participate in community charity work and activities to develop skills and contacts in the job market. Join professional organizations to build your network within the industry. These connections may ultimately lead you to a job referral or advice that transforms your job search. Participate in community activities to not only build your professional network but also to restore your sense of self, enhancing your self-esteem and self-confidence in the process.

It can be physically and emotionally draining to sit in front of a computer all day searching for your dream job, so take frequent breaks to keep you body active and your mind refreshed. Enroll in an aerobic or yoga class to free your mind and stretch your body. Take vitamins, drink plenty of water and stay productive around your home during your job search. Establish a consistent schedule that requires you to shower and dress by a certain time each day and block out time specifically for job searching. A consistent schedule can help bring you out of that funk and provide you with a purpose each day.

Target your daily efforts to increase your job opportunities. Instead of spending hours on job sites, narrow your keywords to find opportunities that match your skills and experience. Get out of the house and meet with professionals to review and revamp your resume and cover letter. Focus on how you present yourself professionally, and seek feedback from industry experts to increase job opportunities and polish application materials to make your efforts more productive and worthwhile.

Find ways to add your personality to your application materials. Craft cover letters during your job search customized to each position that use keywords from the job description. Make the most of your time by applying to companies you respect and admire. Your time should also be spent researching companies that have goals and missions directly related to your career goals. Researching a company that possesses a company culture that's an ideal fit for you is time well spent.

It's easy to drift into a lull during your job search. Learn to take care of yourself personally and professionally to beat the blues and find the career of your dreams.

Photo Courtesy of stockimages at



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  • Cordelia Tierno
    Cordelia Tierno

    My severance runs out in 2 weeks (unemployment 2 weeks ago). Even though I have a wealth of experience, I lack a college degree...they're not exactly beating down my door. I've tried networking to no avail


    Very nice article.....

  • Suzanne coiro
    Suzanne coiro

    Very helpful article I need routine and purpose

  • Benjamin F.
    Benjamin F.

    At 52, starting over is a major setback. Even if you have life long experience, companies want the young kids straight out of college, so they can mold them into what they want.

  • Vincent G.
    Vincent G.

    The problem is that corporations are never measuring the cost of lost opportunities. So, if they do not hire the very productive individual, and go with the cheaper alternative, they simply ignore the unrealized potential. And since most people in HR are only "passing through", their corporate acumen and culture spans a period that is measured in months, not decades.


    Nancy, I truly do appreciate your replies and commitment to this string. James Z, LOVE what you state and the REALITY of things as they are! Yes, the millennial photoed here is the new norm. Having hired, coached, mentored and developed hundreds of associates, todays EE's (millennials) are those I would NEVER hire yet they are those now in the roles of "Talent Acquisition Team's" and have ZERO talent and experience themselves.They are VERY adept at Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat, Etc. Etc. AND they are those that are in front of me at Starbucks ordering a Vente', mocha, skim latte'! REALLY?????????? As for me, for over 20 years I have created jobs, managed a P&L growing businesses from zero to 16MM, another from 23MM to 76MM and yet another from 180MM to 230MM creating Net Income that was unsurpassed while upholding my fiduciary responsibilities. I was replaced by someone that took that very same business directly downward to 120MM BUT cost the organization 1/3rd of what I cost. as for me, I'll just have a medium, black coffee AND try to explain what I have accomplished to those that have NO EARTHLY CLUE!!!!! Bitter, YES and the world is NOT a better place as a result of what has become of corporate America!

  • Terry Cobb
    Terry Cobb

    Everything is so impersonal. Resumes sent go in to Black Holes.

  • James Z.
    James Z.

    The problem with the universality of age discrimination in this country is that it is always identified as in some way a fault of the job seeker. How many times have you heard "you just need to network more", "you should go back to school to update your skills", "Your expectations are too high"? These are nice platitudes and cliches, but they ignore the problem, that age discrimination is central within HR policy. And I'm not talking about this occurring here and there. I have seen maybe one or two companies out of thousands that do not practice it. Discrimination is the rule. The job seeker has no control here--it is a disqualification that cannot be overcome by skills or education or experience. Quite the contrary, all those qualities that should be positive attributes count against you. Are there positions where age will be overlooked? They do exist, but in my experience these are the jobs that pay far below standard, or are where the supervisor is an absolute terror, or they are so horrid that no one else will take them. We won't see any real progress until employers realize that the "fit" they cry about in finding the "right" employees (i.e. younger) is a mirage, and they need to be actually, really diverse, and open the doors to all. By the way, did anybody notice that the photo at the top of this article is a scruffy bearded millennial, and not a typical job seeker?

  • JOEL I.
    JOEL I.

    Thanks Nancy, chin up, be proud of who you are and what you have to offer

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Charles thanks again for your comment. It is hard - I will agree but not impossible. I also went from a $150K/yr job to making about $40K/yr. It was tough - lots of stress and lots of tears but I made it through and started working my way back up. I had to make some pretty tough decisions along the way but now I have a position where I can work from home thus saving on transportation, gas, lunches and work clothes. I started on my smallest bill and paid it off and worked my way up the list until now, today, I only have one credit card that needs paid. Maybe this doesn't help you, I don't know. I just know, from personal experience, that anything is possible and never say never! Probably one of the hardest decisions I had to make was putting my house up for sale. Although I loved my home, I was being made a slave to it. Was working to pay mortgage, bills and maintenance with nothing left over for fun or anything else. I have never regretted that decision. I know that's me, not you @Charles but I thought I would throw this out there as food for thought.


    Thank you for the reply Nancy! All great in thought and if you are looking for roles that compensate in the 50K range. What about those like me and the many thousands that earned over 250K? like finding an eskimo in Nigeria! I can't live on volunteer work or what I/we earned over 25 years ago! Age discrimination is alive and well! AND at 54 can't retire!

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    Thanks everyone for all of the great comments. @Sandra S it's hard to believe that a person representing a company would simply just hang up on you like that. It is true that asking your HS grad date is how these companies get around the "age" question. You have to ask yourself, would you want to work for that company? I know it's tough out there but I also know that the jobs are there. @Joel it is going to be tough on you after working in the same profession for 34 years but maybe now is a good time for a change. You have about 12 working years left so why not try out a new career. Take some of what you have learned and put it to good use. For instance if you had been a technical writer or had done a lot of writing, why not take that out for a spin. Be a blogger or get a position writing policies and procedures, etc. There are so many things that you have done throughout your career that you could highlight to prospective employers. @Joseph thank you because it's so true that when the right job comes along, it will be a perfect fit. @Robert so sorry you are going through the unemployment along with a sick wife. You might want to concentrate on work at home jobs only so that you can be around should she need you. @Charles I know these are just words but truly you can't give up unless you are old enough to receive social security and you can live on that amount. All we can do is keep plugging on. Keep sending out those resumes. You never know when it will be just the right one. And don't forget about volunteering in your city, in your community. That also can open up doors that you never even thought of before. I know of a woman who used to QA medical records. Her job went away and she went into the same funk as everyone else - just couldn't find a position. Then she decided to volunteer at the local homeless shelter and now she is in a paid position working at a local ministry and has never been happier. So keep on checking out the jobs and submitting your application for them; network at any opportunity you get; keep the lines of communication open with former coworkers... sometimes it's not what you know but who you know which is why we always push networking. We wish you all the best.

  • Sandra S.
    Sandra S.

    Some advice very pertinent. Experienced my first age related discrimination via phone call the other day. Job placement service rep asked my high school graduation year. When I told her 1971, she hung up


    Thank you for the great advise. All of us looking for work just have to keep plugging and not worry about age discrimination. Just like in relationships, when the right job comes along, it will be the perfect fit regardless of age.

  • Robert P.
    Robert P.

    The Funk is an understatement. On top of unemployed I have the bi-polar wife in a depression.

  • Domingo V.
    Domingo V.


  • david b.
    david b.

    i am 59 ^ looking for work but nobody wants an old man i am welding & fitting but the jobs few here in east texas.

  • JOEL I.
    JOEL I.

    Thanks, I have pre -anxiety. My position has been eliminated, last day in a couple weeks. How hard is it going to be with 34 yrs. in the same profession and in the 55yr. old club? I have a lot to offer still, but am leery being at the top of the salary range. I seriously loathe potential employers that just go through the motions because you added all the right verb age in your resume and cover letter, they see you and say thank you, and all the time they are thinking that you are the "former generation"

  • Edward F.
    Edward F.

    Didn't think it would be that hard to find another job?? I know I would work my butt off for the next company that I work for but having to fill out the applications on line " only " sucks because the person looking at your resume doesn't and can't see how you feel about said job! Really gets you down


    James Z has hit the nail on the head! those of us over 50 that have been RIF'd due to consolidation and acquisition are in a quandary. Hard to believe that someone like me whom was loyal and VERY successful in contribution to net income (averaging over 1.4MM per month) and the leader in performance of a once 10 billion dollar company can STILL be on the outside looking in after two years. what are we to do? sell suits at Brooks Brothers or become a greeter at Wall Mart? With over 97 million out of the labor force and the smallest labor participation rate since 1977 the truth is the truth! too many professionals seeking too few opportunities!

  • Antwoinette S.
    Antwoinette S.

    Thanks so much for all the good information. I needed that today.

  • WONMY P.
    WONMY P.


  • James Z.
    James Z.

    Great advice if you're under thirty. Of limited use to those 30-40. Not worth much to people 40-50. And absolutely worthless to job-seekers over 50.


    Absolutely! Or you will become the video store's best customer.. Also a great opportunity to exercise more and get in shape..

  • Christina R.
    Christina R.

    Thank you

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