Making It Through a Long Unemployment Period

To some, losing a job may be a blessing. However; for the majority of us, it can be a nightmare. The sudden change in the daily routine and the lack of receiving a paycheck places an enormous amount of stress on a person. Robert London, M.D., staff psychiatrist at New York University’s Langone Medical Center stated, “It’s a serious fracture in one’s world view. It doesn’t matter if you’re an executive or a bus driver- your identity is very much wrapped up in your job. And to suddenly be without that identity can be devastating.”

For the more fortunate, unemployment lasts no more than a blip of the eye. A person may experience some blue moments where they feel less than useless, but they still maintain that enthusiasm and work ethic that gets them pumped to get back to work. But what happens if your unemployment period is longer than you anticipated? Months, or even years? When interview after interview leads to a dead end, and you find yourself falling deeper in debt? This is truly a blue period where one doubts themselves and their skills. Where they find themselves sleeping more and withdrawing from friends and family- it’s depression. And for those who wish to survive the long-term unemployment, they better take steps to regain control their lives once again.

Paula Kliger, Ph.D., adjunct professor at Wayne State University in Detroit and executive vice president of the Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute stated, “Being jobless can make you feel as though you have no control, and having control over your life is one of the most important factors to happiness and success. Make finding a job your new job,” she advises. “Get up, take a shower, and put decent clothes on. Follow a flexible but firm list of what you’re going to do all day. For example, networking online from 9 to 10 a.m., networking in person from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., searching job databases from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., etc.” She believes that by placing a set schedule for yourself while unemployed will keep the blues at bay- tricking your mind into thinking nothing has changed and that you still have a purpose. It also keeps you active in the job search on a daily basis.

It is also suggested by experts that a person use the time during unemployment to really find themselves. Discover what they want to do, what makes them the happiest, and what skills they are really good at. This may be the perfect opportunity to go back to college or even start up your own business. Do the research that will get you back on your feet again and guide you towards a profession that you’ll thrive at.

Sites like can assist in your job search and provide helpful tips and suggestions to get you the job you want. Job postings are placed on the board daily, and from several different regions throughout the country. Dr. London states, “Take a job sooner than later, even if it’s not the perfect position, in your area of expertise, or even in the pay range you’re expecting. If you’re innovative and a hard worker, you’ll be surprised how many doors open. And simply having something to do all day will do wonders for your mood.”