When its Not Just the Job Market

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When you?re up to your ears in job applications, resume corrections, and employment woes, it can be easy to lose your perspective. Looking for a job can be a lonely process, particularly if you?re also missing the community you had where you used to live, or where you used to work.

These feelings of missing out are only compounded by the stressors of life in the job market. The stress of sending out applications without knowing what the outcome might be, of worrying about financial strain, and of trying to keep the rest of your life in balance while your professional life feels out of control. In the job market, all of the rewards you desire are out there somewhere in your future, and it?s up to you to maintain the motivation, the daily scheduling, and the problem-solving attitude required to turn that future into a reality.  

But sometimes, you can?t.

Sometimes, you can?t write a resume. Sometimes, you can?t stand the thought of sitting through another interview and waiting by your phone for yet another week to hear whether or not you got the job.

Sometimes, this attitude sticks around for a weekend. When that?s the case, you find yourself ordering pizza, because you certainly aren?t doing any dishes (or writing any targeted cover letters, thank you very much). And while you?re at it, you?re going to binge on Netflix and tell the screen to stop judging you?yes, you are still watching that show, even if you didn?t click ?next??while you sit with a pint of ice cream. In case the specifics weren?t proof enough, I hear you. I?ve been there, pajamas and all. From my seat on the couch (in my pajamas), I?m also here to tell you that there?s a real difference between needing to take a time out for a weekend and needing to take time out with a professional.

Experiencing job market fatigue is normal. The job market is not a party?there?s a reason people are looking to get out of the application madness and into a job. Aside from the paycheck, people are looking to get away from the stress and pressures of job applications, resumes, interviews, and follow-up proceedings (and I?m sure you can see why). They want to talk to their loved ones about something other than where they are in the job search, and they?d like to look at their bank accounts without feeling afraid.

But there comes a time when you have to ask yourself if you?ve moved a step past job market fatigue.

How much time are you spending focusing on the worst-case scenario? When something unexpected happens, do you find yourself going down a rabbit hole of what could come next?

Have you noticed moments where you?re overwhelmed?when everything you need to do feels like too much? Do you start to sweat, does your heart rate go up at the thought of what you?re going to need to do?

Have you started losing sleep? Can you sleep through the night at all, or do you keep waking up? Do you find yourself staying up until three in the morning, and then dragging through the rest of your day?

When was the last time you really talked to someone you?re close to? Not sniping over frustrations, or talking about scheduling for the kids, or listening to them talk about something that matters to them. Do you want to talk, but you can?t quite find the words? Or do you not have the energy and motivation to care about getting the words out at all? Do you feel a knot in your stomach that won?t go away? Are you sick more often than usual? Do you have ulcers, or a recent rise in your blood pressure? Headaches for days? Has someone asked you if you?re okay? And if they did, would you be truthful if you answered ?yes,? or would you feel like some part of your daily

life is being impaired by the situation that you?re in?

If you?ve answered ?yes? to any or all of these questions, you are not alone.

If you have answered ?yes? to any or all of these questions, it may be time to talk to a counselor, therapist, or doctor.

Talking to a health professional is not a practice reserved for the mentally ill, or for those who don?t have enough friends and family to listen to their struggles. The stress of a difficult transition (employment or otherwise) can cause physical and mental distress that will only go away if you talk about it with someone who can help you to come up with a plan that will meet your needs?needs that yoga, a balanced diet, running, and trying to sleep aren?t healing.

Despite the punchlines you?ve seen in sitcoms, therapy and counseling don?t go on forever. Some clients are able to find the strategies that they need after two or three sessions, while others take a few more. Attending a session with a licensed therapist or counselor isn?t the beginning of the end. It?s the beginning of finding the strategies you need so that you can sleep, talk to your friends and family, and live the kind of life that brings you joy (as well as a job). 

I know how difficult it is to make that call, to even think about finding a therapist in the first place (as though you didn?t already have enough to do). But this is one of those calls that will end up helping you to get through the other items on your to-do list without feeling like you?re slogging through mud.

If you have a general practitioner, you can start there?ask for a recommendation or a referral. If you?d rather find a therapist, counselor, or mental health professional on your own, try the Psychology Today website; they have a database of licensed practitioners. Insurance will cover many of the services offered (though you should always check to be sure), and some practitioners offer a sliding payment scale depending on your circumstances.

When you do find someone you want to try, remember that you have a say in who you talk to?you don?t have to commit to the first person you try out. If you don?t feel comfortable with the first professional you talk to, you?re supposed to try again with someone else.

I don?t enjoy asking for help. Generally, I?m known to do just about anything to avoid asking for something (especially if I feel like I should be able to do it myself). But if you?re experiencing this kind of stress and these habit shifts, it?s not a matter of asking for something you should be able to do on your own. What you?re asking for are the tools to be able to be yourself again in a situation that is out of your control?tools that will help you to be even more resilient and prepared in the future.


By Emilie Duck