Finding Hope In The Job Search: The Lifeline

I lost my job on a Monday. I spent the next few days at the office “transitioning” the new guy.

Friday, as I was making that last commute home, I felt a lot of emotions.  One of them was relief to be out of a hell-hole. I was scared, excited… all across the board.

I didn’t realize how taxing the next few weeks and months would be on me physically, emotionally, spiritually, with my relationships, etc.

I went head-first into the job search process, but I muscled my way through, which meant I didn’t know what I was doing but I did “stuff.”  We’re accustomed to do stuff, which means at the end of the day you can say “I did all this stuff.”  Like: I applied to four jobs today.  I sent 28 emails today.

My search was metric-driven. Even though I was doing the wrong things, and getting no results, I could blame my lack of results on the numbers. I hadn’t heard a thousand no’s yet.

On the road to a thousand no’s I was getting deeper and deeper into new territory for me: depression.

That is self-diagnosed, by the way. I didn’t have someone tell me I was depressed.  But looking back, I know I was.  Serious, inhibiting depression.  Depression that kept me from thinking straight and performing well.  Depression that said to colleagues “Jason isn’t ready for any introductions yet… he’s not in a good place.”

Depression got in the way of progress.

But I had my metrics.  Those useless tasks kept me feeling productive, even though I was moving forward on road with no end.  But I was moving.

One day, though, things changed.  I’ll spare the details but it was the day I figured out the idea for JibberJobber.  I knew what it should look like, I knew the path to take to get there.  My background was in development and strategy and was perfect to move forward with JibberJobber.

After floundering around with no control, I was now in complete control of this little project.  I could accomplish things and every day make progress towards the final product.  I was comfortable doing this because it’s what I had done professionally.  I was back in my element.

I also saw a way out of this dark hole.  I saw an end.  Instead of continuing a miserable job search (that could very well end in a miserable job) I saw a path to having more control over my future and finances.

I saw HOPE.

And everything changed.

My attitude changed.  My actions and activities changed.  My networking changed.  My results changed.

My days weren’t dark anymore… they were light, and filled with HOPE.

How do you get hope in a job search?

You have to see something different. Instead of endless applications, or boring network meetings, or your bank account dwindle down towards zero, you have to find HOPE.

That will be different for each of you.  For some of you, just getting interviews will give you the hope you need.  Getting job offers that you turn down can give you hope.  Getting introductions or any other traction in your job search can give you hope.

Maybe you’ll find hope in serving others.  Maybe hope will come through hearing success stories from other job seekers (which is a great reason to find good job search clubs to go to, and attend religiously!).  Maybe hope will come from figuring out you are on the wrong career path and figuring out the industry or role you really want to explore.

Hope can come from different places. I’m not sure where your hope lies.

But when you get hope the difference is night and day.

Stop being so busy in a poor job search and go out and do better, more productive things.  Look for hope.  Be open to it when it comes to you.

Hope saved me, and my family.  I hope you can find yours.

Two related posts that are important to read:

I Smell Blood (Oct 2006)

Substantiate Yourself (Dec 2006)