To Counteract Job Search Blues, Volunteer
Published: September 10, 2009
As I wrote in a recent column, being unemployed after a layoff can take a serious emotional toll. Many jobless people must look for work right after being removed from the soothing and predictable structure of working life. They face unaccustomed isolation at the same time that they must brace themselves for rejection.
In response to my column, Diane Reynolds, a career coach in New York, said she encourages her clients to counteract these conditions by doing volunteer work:
Strong feelings of rejection and loss of self-esteem, coupled with the many nonresponses from potential employers can also lead to a “why bother looking” attitude. When job-seekers feel that way, they put less energy into the job hunt and they become less productive. That cuts down on the one activity that can help them out of their dilemma. In short, it can become a vicious circle.
So crucial is attitude in affecting a job-seeker’s productivity, that I help clients put an “Emotional Uplift Plan” in place immediately. I advise them that days of job search can often lack what a job gave them — affirmation, a feeling of accomplishment and a sense of community.
After two months, I strongly urge them to commit to one day or one half-day of volunteer work weekly. This gives them a feeling of being needed, of making a contribution, and being part of something. At least someone might ask them, “How was your weekend?”
Excellent advice. For your own mental well-being, and because you actually have the time now to help others, do try to seek volunteer opportunities — preferably those that relate to your professional field. Not only will this provide structure and interaction, but also you may be able to put the work on your résumé and to get a reference out of the experience.