Combatting the Unemployment Blues

So you are sitting at home, spending yet another day in front of the computer to browse job search sites and sending a slew of resumes to jobs that you KNOW you have the qualifications and training to perform. It is probably the fourteenth consecutive day that you have devoted towards your never-ending quest for employment. When you first started, you were filled with hope and confidence that you would be getting phone calls and employers would be banging down your front door to interview an amazing candidate such as yourself. Unfortunately, you have not gotten a single phone call or email (except for some random phone company asking if you are interested in long-distance savings). As time passes, it seems highly unlikely that any employer is willing to give you a chance, leaving you feeling frustrated and bitter in your job search.

Does this scenario sound familiar to anyone?

The truth is that this is a typical scenario for many people and everyone at some point in their life has dealt with the unemployment blues. For immigrants, the path towards employment can be a long and complex one that will absolutely test the patience and persistence of any job-seeker. Being unemployed and frustrated can be a dangerous combination as it can lead to depression and feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness. But the reality is that while you are unemployed (for now), there are numerous things you can be doing to take advantage of all the available time you have:

1. The very first thing you can do is practice acceptance. Rather than getting frustrated about your situation, learn to accept the things that are not within your control. Just because you can’t get a job in your field right now, does not mean that you will never get one. The sooner you realize this, the quicker you can begin developing a step-by-step plan to get back into your field. In the meantime, find a survival job so that you can start producing some income while you are working on your long-term goal of establishing your career in BC.

2. Get off your computer and get outdoors. Seriously, don’t even finish reading this sentence, just get up from your seat and get out of the house. The very act of leaving your home, even if it is just for a stroll has a positive impact on your mind and perspective. Remember, you didn’t come to Canada just to work, you came here to live. So even though you may not be employed at the moment, don’t let that compromise your ability to live, enjoy and experience all the beauty this province has to offer.

3. Learn the 80/20 rule. This rule states that only 20% of the available jobs are found on online job-boards and newspapers, the other 80% are found in the hidden job market. Learn to access the hidden job market by attending workshops on developing job-search skills and most importantly, get out there and network.  Effective job-searching is a pro-active effort that requires you to take the initiative and make contacts with professionals in your field. Remember, like many things in life, landing the right job depends largely on who you know.

4. Volunteer. Just because you can’t find a paying job in your field does not mean that you cannot start building relevant experience. Offer yourself as a volunteer/intern and gain valuable Canadian experience in your field. Volunteering is an excellent way to build experience and network with employers and professionals in the field. And hey, if things work out, it could lead to employment.

5. Exercise. Make sure that you are fitting time into your schedule for some daily exercise. Engaging in some cardio or physical activity will do wonders for your confidence and mental well-being. It has been proven that exercising releases endorphins into your system which causes a feeling of ‘well-being’. This is one of the best remedies to combat the unemployment blues and job-search frustration. There are many local recreational centres that offer swimming pools, and fully equipped gyms along with cheap membership.

While, being unemployed is a frustrating ride, it is up to you in how you deal with it. Remember, everything that happens to us is 2% fate and 98% attitude. So decide on not allowing your situation to define you and take some of the steps outlined above to regain control of the frustration and build a positive and healthy perspective. Once this is achieved, everything else will fall nicely into place.