How to Conquer a Rough Week

Long Work Week

Photo by Mao Lini

I hate going for more than a week without posting. Last week was rough for me with work and I found myself exhausted and unmotivated all week. I was expecting hopeful news on the job front but was disappointed. Then there were some challenges at work that reminded me of how frustrating and lonely my current situation is. I called out sick from work on Thursday because I could not pull myself out of bed and knew that if I did, the entire day would have been an emotional struggle.

The day off was exactly what I needed to catch up on sleep and errands. But I still couldn’t shake the loneliness I felt. My house was very quiet and I was left alone with my thoughts as I ate my meals, thoughts that kept circling back to this muck I’m in.

I know I’m not alone out there. The unemployment rate is still ridiculously high, and that’s not counting the people who have stopped looking all together. But I’m not surrounded by them. Everyone I know has a job. Even I have a job. I’ve been getting a steady pay check for several months now. But it’s not a career and the prospects of it turning into one are bleak.

Yesterday, a colleague I volunteer with for a great organization called the US National Committee for UN Women-Metro NY invited me to lunch. She shared with me the rumor that people are going to wait to decide on hiring until after the presidential election in November. There is speculation that hiring will pick up in January. Unfortunately, after waiting over three years for permanent employment somewhere, it’s difficult for me to get excited or optimistic about anything. This isn’t the first time that people have speculated or implied that something is just around the corner. All I can see is that I have to wait some more. I’ve never been a patient person but this economy doesn’t really give me an option to be anything but.

How does one keep spirits up when feeling so defeated?

  1. Be good to yourself. Take breaks. Treat yourself to something nice. Sleep in. Go on mini-vacations. Get some fresh air. Exercise. Stretch. Stay hydrated.
  2. Redefine success. I had a friend say this to me recently. I had mentioned that I felt like a failure for dropping out of a PhD program and not being able to find a satisfying job despite my talent and qualifications. Perhaps I spend too much time focusing on all the things going wrong in my life and not enough on the things going right. I have many blessings to count: my health, a great boyfriend with a future to look forward to, parents who have welcomed my boyfriend into the family and are willing to support me in this difficult time, a few great friends whom I don’t keep in touch with as much as I should, involvement with my community in a way that feels meaningful and satisfying to me, be it this blog or UN Women.
  3. Go through the motions. Keep applying for jobs, networking, or some combination of both that isn’t too frustrating to tolerate. Keep in touch with friends, family and professional contacts, not just for job opportunities, but to keep in touch with people who care about you. Human contact is even more important when we want it the least. Get out of bed at a decent hour, even on your days off; your time is valuable, even when you’re resting, so enjoy it. All these pieces that you keep in motion will help create the luck we need to find the job we’re looking for. Don’t drop the ball on this.

What would you add to this list? What tips have worked for you in this rough economy? There is comfort in numbers and your suggestions are welcome!

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