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Dear God, How long will I be unemployed?

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Chances are if you or someone you care about is unemployed, you have asked that very question.  And while I think I'm pretty good at programming the clock on my coffee pot and setting my ring tone, these amazing technical skills do not make me qualified to answer this question.  However, my decade of experience as a recruiter, staffing manager, hr manager, and job search coach do qualify me to give you just a couple of pieces of advice that might help you weather this storm:

-Serve others.  It's been said in many previous articles, but it's worth repeating.  The best thing you can do for yourself if you are battling unemployment depression is help others.  Go onto sites like www.volunteermatch.org, www.charitynavigator.org, or if you are in the DFW area, www.volunteernorthtexas.org to search for volunteering opportunities that are a fit for your skill set.  I promise you-there is something for everyone in the world of volunteering.

-Get off your rump.  Studies have shown that one of the most powerful combatants for depression is exercise.  Go to the gym, go for a walk, go to Goodwill and buy yourself an exercise dvd for $1.  Not only will you feel better, but chances are that your interview clothes will look better!

-I love me.  There is nothing more deflating for your "work soul" than being told that your services are no longer needed.  However, you must remember that unemployed does not equal undesirable.  Instead of thinking of yourself as unemployed, think of yourself as a free agent because the next company that hires you is going to be lucky to get someone with your skills, expertise, and knowledge.  And then say that when you are prepping for an interview-don't let the difficulties of unemployment beat you down.  Fight back and realize that you are not your unemployment!!!

-Like finds like.  Still feeling alone in  your job search?  Find a group that can help you cope with the stress, fear, and worry of unemployment.  I promise you-you are not the only one who feels this way.  Think about finding some "job search buddies" who can understand how you are feeling and help you through it.

-This too shall pass.  When I was a kid my best friend's dad was "job searching" for 6 years.  For a number of years I thought that it was the worst case scenario in looking for a job.  And then I got a little older and a little wiser ultimately realizing that if you are unemployed for 6 years, either you have a ankle bracelet and can't leave the house-or you are creating some self fulfilling prophecies about your job prospects.  Don't lose sight of the fact that while this is a tough economic slump, we will eventually see a rebound.  Take control of your job search, maintain a positive attitude, and network like crazy-you will see results!

Hang in there job seekers!

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