Millions of people have lost their jobs in this economy so let's talk about managing the stress of a job search. Anyone who is in this situation, or loves someone who is, might consider these six suggestions….

Step One - Do not internalize a job loss or job search into your personal identity. Whether you are a new graduate or a semi-retired person whose 401K was cut in half this year, you are not in this situation because of your personal failure. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in May, 2009 that 7.0 million people have been out of work since December 2007 in the US alone. A lot of good people lost their jobs.

Step Two – Remember those things you do well. Looking for work often erodes confidence and makes people forget how terrific they are at many things.

Step Three - Allow yourself to grieve the loss of the old job so you don't succumb to paralyzing fear searching for a new position. Reading my book, When Every Day Matters, will help you to sort out and process your losses. It will help you to find hope again.

Step Four - Think about what you miss in the old job (besides the income, which I appreciate is important) because knowing what you miss clarifies what you should look for. For example, if you enjoyed the camaraderie at your old job, a small office - with few people to talk to - just won't do. Also, identify your personal stress points. For example, does constant noise make you feel jittery? Then don't work under a bridge or somewhere that the background music is hard rock. Are you sensitive to strong odors? Might want to pass on restaurant work. If deadlines worry you stay away from project management.

Step Five – Ask yourself if you are angry. If you are, commit to working through your anger because it could be a sign of depression. Not every depression wears a sad face. Loosing a job can understandably make a person angry; it's a big loss, but unprocessed anger can hurt you in an interview. Why? Because your underlying attitude about the old job loss comes across in body language. When I find I'm stuck in a place of anger I try to think in broader, more spiritual perspectives. I ask myself what new door wants to open in me that I may have never known was there before. I also try to let go of needing to control a situation that is not in my control. God grant all serenity here.

Step Six - Consider a health checkup and talk with your doctor about your circumstances; he or she is there to help. You may even benefit from a temporary medication due to serotonin depletion which sometimes occurs when we're hit with major stress or loss.

Lastly, use this search time to get some rest and relaxation and make Every Day Matter. Once you land that new job you won't have the chance for a refreshing cat nap!

Mary Jane Hurley Brant, M.S., CGP
Author of When Every Day Matters
Simple Abundance Press, Oct. 1, 2008

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