Written by Micaela Marini Higgs
So much of who you are is wrapped up in work, but you are more than your job.
Looking for a new job but having zero luck getting hired can be, to put it lightly, incredibly demoralizing.
As it turns out, “the data supports the conventional wisdom,” said Dan Witters, a principal and research director at the Gallup National Health and Well-Being Index.
While research shows that people experience an increased sense of well-being just after losing their jobs, that trend reverses if they’re still hunting after 10 to 12 weeks. On top of the obvious financial stress that comes with being unemployed or underemployed, these groups alsosuffer from worse physical health, with rates of depression rising among the unemployed the longer they go without finding work.
The solution to job-search depression isn’t as easy as hitting the pavement and sending out more résumés. Even strong candidates aren’t guaranteed success, creating “this constant uncertainty of not knowing when the job search will end,” said Michelle Maidenberg, an adjunct graduate professor of cognitive behavioral therapy and human behavior at the Silver School of Social Work at N.Y.U. with a private practice in Harrison, N.Y.
Dealing emotionally with this sort of adversity is a skill few of us have been taught, and it requires building new habits in our personal lives.
If it feels as if your well-being is on hold while you focus on bigger things — like a job hunt — consider this: The emotional and mental health outcomes of unemployment can create “a feedback mechanism where the longer you go, the harder it is on your emotional health,” Mr. Witters said. “The worse your emotional health is, the harder it is to find a job.”
Whether you’re suffering from job-search depression or happily employed, learning the coping mechanisms needed to deal with things like uncertainty and loss of control will always come in handy, Dr. Maidenberg said.
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