How do I stay confident and not feel overwhelmed in my unemployment, 2.5 years after graduating ?
Since graduating with a liberal arts degree in June 2009, I have not had full-time, paid employment. I recognize that I am frustrated and overwhelmed in my job search, and don't feel much closer to a goal of having a full-time, paid job that I don't dread going to each day [preferably in a field that I am interested in, refugee/immigrant services, urban planning, public policy - more of the policy wonk/research side], that I had made shortly before graduating.
Since graduating, I have:
- Worked for the US Census for 5 months
- Completed a 30 hour paid research project for a non-profit.
- Completed a part-time 6 month unpaid internship at another non-profit;
- Teach ESL once a week (as a volunteer)
- Exercise on a regular basis (although much more difficult right now in the midwestern winter)
- Involved in young professional organizations and have a leadership role
- Also seeing a therapist [I have ADHD] to combat the job anxiety, although after a few months, my therapist recently told me that they do not have a lot of experience with this, and may refer me to someone else in addition to seeing them.
- Sprodically part-time work with a parent who has their own business in a trade. I dislike the work itself and working with them. Hours vary greatly [most weeks fewer than 10, some as much as 35], because of their declining health and nature of the business, which also disrupts establishing a set routine.
A] I still feel overwhelmed how should I structure my job search ?
My therapist suggested to set a routine, What sort of routine should I set ?
- How much of my day should I spend on: looking for people, organizations, companies that would be good
informational interview candidates ?
- Following up on leads that I receive from family/friends
- Work on my personal projects (I'm learning cartography and GIS) and try to go full out freelance ?
- Searching for jobs on indeed, linkedin, craigslist, idealist, the newspaper, the local employment center ? How much of this time should I search local ? Search nationwide [I am willing to relocate] ?
- Looking for jobs that I am remotely qualified for even if I am not interested in the work ?
- Spend more time/resources with opportunities for employment for places that I would prefer to work at and are in my area[s] of interest or any job period ?
Right now, my daily routine is doing anything that immediately needs to be done that day, then a combination of working on my freelance projects, and using my judgment of whatever leads that I have that would be the most promising and pursuing them, searching for
jobs on the websites above, blogging, working for the parent, helping them at home [I live with them. Both are semi-retired and I usually do an errand a day for them, the amount of time varies greatly], or helping 2 of my siblings [who separately live next door of my parents, I do a lot of odd jobs around the house for them]. Occasionally, I'll see a job on the aforementioned sites, apply and write cover letter[s] to them, usually don't hear back, and then become discouraged and figure it's not the best use of my time, and not go back there for several weeks.
B] How do I remain confident after 2.5 years ?
- When I have solicited for advice, it has sometimes been contradictory. On a small scale, example: Only apply to jobs that you're qualified for: NO
, a HR rep for a Fortune 500 with a local young professional organization. YEA
When faced with conflicting strategies, I search on ASK_mefi, and ultimately employ a strategy, writing style for a several weeks and then switch back.
I recognize the economy is pretty poor right now. It has been over 2 years and have recognized that I need to take actions to combat it and have been making these actions but I feel like I have been spinning my wheels much like this person
and depressed, damaging my self-esteem and confidence
without seeing any actions, changes, or evidence that my actions are helping.
C] Should I change my goal ? I've also set ones like 'Become employed in x months' and 'move out on my own in X months' numerous times but haven't reached them.
- I've tried setting smaller ones like 'Apply to 3 jobs today' but it's frustrating. In the past, I've said to myself as I apply or write the cover letter 'Shouldn't I be looking instead to find a job that I would be more qualified and more interesting to me than this one or work on my freelance project?' and 'This is a waste of time anyways' and 'Even if I work there [like a fast food place or restaurant], it won't further my career or job prospects'.
especially this one - http://ask.metafilter.com/200352/Unemployment-is-wrecking-my-self esteem-How-do-I-keep-going
D] Should I just pack my bags and live on my own ?
[I have about $900 in savings], [I went to school out of state, and lived off campus for a year, and studied abroad for 6 months, so I have experience].