Perhaps what concerns me most about the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics monthly data and reports focuses on what the government calls the "marginally attached" workers and the discouragement that that can come from feeling displaced.
The July 2, 2010 report states:
Among the marginally attached, there were 1.2 million discouraged workers in June, up by 414,000 from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.4 million persons marginally attached to the labor force had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities.
For many people keeping up their positive outlook during the search may be the toughest assignment of all. Among those who we assist in executive transition and outplacement we see a lot of reasons for discouragement daily.
Here are just some of the things that have happened to my clients in the last 45 days:
– Interviews called off because the company "froze hiring"
– An offer retracted after a company changed the position and restructured
– An interview mishandled by the internal recruiter and my client interviewed for the wrong position (while the position she was supposed to interview for was filled)
– After some research, several clients facing upwards of over 500 applicants per position listing
– A client who is facing difficult decisions about going back to work full-time due to a child's illness
– A client facing a potential offer to move that would require leaving his family behind for at least one year
– A client going through a contentious divorce settlement during the search
Probably we could write all day about discouragement. Really all you have to do is talk to another "down" person about job search issues and you can get depressed pretty quickly.
Here are quick thoughts about how to view macro statistics and a some suggestions about how not to be discouraged:
1. Do not let macro statistics or temporary rejection stop you from pursuing gainful opportunities and employment
2. Get around upbeat, positive people in your job search and networking
3. Realize that your personal life absolutely affects your professional life. If you are "having issues" in your personal life try to work on resolutions during your transition time.
4. If you can hire someone to keep you on track and accountable during your search. An encouraging voice who has an objective, positive viewpoint can help you immensely.
5. Use the down time of job search to read, reinvent, educate yourself and start healthy (intellectual, spiritual, physical, financial) habits.
Those are just a few ways to proactively work on discouragement issues during your search. Minimize them. You can and will rise again.