Combating Job Search Loneliness | Articles & Tips | | Buffalo




 Articles and Advice

 Combating Job Search Loneliness

By Joe Stein

Workplace studies estimate that over 40% of workers in this country experience, at times, employee loneliness. The study also concluded that this feeling of loneliness impacted their performance at work and how they were perceived by their co-workers and management. If this feeling of loneliness is so widespread at work where people (at least in theory) interact with others on a regular basis, then the issue must be an even larger problem when someone is out of work and conducting their job search.
The issue of loneliness is particularly troublesome for Job Seekers who have now lost a good portion of their social network. Plus, this is a time when they have to be especially positive, motivated, and energetic; all of which is very tough to do when feeling lonely. If this situation was not already stacked against a Job Seekers, comes research that as we become more connected digitally to others, then the less attached we feel. Finally, further compounding all of this is that the Job Seeker probably lost their access to their former employer’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) when he/she departed the organization.
All hope is not lost, however, as there are a number of things that a Job Seeker can do to feel less lonely and better about themselves during their search. It is also good news that most of these are low/no cost and just utilizing what is most likely already available to you.
• Family and Friends: For most, this will be your first defense against loneliness. Job Seekers often just need someone who will listen to them as they work through the frustrations of conducting a search. It is also important to lean on these people when you have received a rejection from a prospective employer and need your spirits picked up. Confidence is a major asset during the job search process and it is hard to be positive and self-confident if you feel alone. Also, when you engage your family and friends in your job search, you become much more accountable as you know they are going to follow-up and ask you about it when they see you next or text you for an update.
• Reconnect With Your Network: Doing this serves a dual purpose of both rekindling your network for job leads, as well as providing you with social interaction. Conducting this exercise can be an enjoyable trip down memory lane, as you relive some of the successes and challenges you mutually faced in the past. We all have difficulty finding the time to maintain contact with our network, but this situation gives us the perfect opportunity to do so. If you are like me, you will be energized by reconnecting with people from your past that you had drifted apart from. This is also a great opportunity to solidify your reference list, so that you are ready to go when the prospective employer asks you for name and numbers of references.
• Build Your Existing Network: There is also an upside to expanding out your existing network by adding new members. This can serve to cast a wider net for you in terms of securing job leads, and it is nice to meet (in-person or virtually) new people. The freshness of a new connection can often lift the spirits of a person and place them in a different state of mind. You can build your network virtually via word of mouth connections, or get out and mingle at various social gatherings, such as industry or professional association meetings. You can even introduce yourself to others attending the same Job Fair as you are.
• Social Media and Groups: While not as personal as your family and friends, and perhaps not as beneficial to your job search as your work network, your social media can be a good way to help combat the feeling of loneliness. If you are so inclined, posting on your Facebook page and interact with others can provide you with some of the social interaction you have lost with the end of your employment. There are also social groups online that you can join that are specifically support groups for those seeking employment. By joining this type of group, you are connected with people going through the same challenges as you are and should understand your situation. You may even find you end up making a new friend out the experience!
• Get Out and Moving: It is important to shake off the loneliness, especially if you find yourself spending too much time at home. While virtual networking can be rewarding, a trip to the coffee shop to connect with a person from your network can be an inexpensive way for you to change up your routine. An exercise program can also help immensely with any loneliness you may be feeling. Exercising will not only provide energetic stimulation and build your self-confidence, it also is hard to think about your current situation or feeling alone when you are busy working out.
Conducting a job search can be a difficult time for anyone, and it is easy to fall in to the abyss of loneliness (or worse). This can not only leave you feeling mentally and physically terrible, but have a seriously negative impact on your job search performance. It is important that you use the tools available to you for a continued feeling of being connected and motivated towards your goal of finding new employment.