A sure way to count your blessings is to look up “jobless horror stories” on the internet.

Jobseekers know they could lose everything.


That’s a little bit abstract and it doesn’t begin to tell the countless, heart-wrenching stories of honest, everyday people who lose their job, their dignity, their self-worth, their homes, all their possessions and many times, even their families.

One step away from being homeless:

One client, a Technology Systems Security Specialist was laid off in 2009. It was really quite a feat that Steve kept his job that long because so much of the U.S. technology management was going oversees in the so called “offshoring movement.” Offshore labor could be hired at less than half the hourly rate. No one seemed to take into account that it would take four times as many hours to do the same work.

He had withstood most of the migrations to India, Ireland, the Philippines, and Vietnam. Finally, he too was laid off. There were no jobs. His industry hadn’t died; it had moved overseas. It would be a full two years before the corporate bean-counters would tally the Total Cost of Ownership on the offshored projects and realize there was a problem. Add another six years to begin bringing the work back to the United States. Many companies wouldn’t count their losses for years to come and some are still trying to make it work with mixed success.

Steve knew that jobs were going offshore, but it took a full year to realize that the impact to his industry. The reality was that his career had died. It would take another year to identify a new career path and re-tool his skill sets to find employment. During those two years Steve’s retirement funds dwindled. His wife took their two children, both in middle school, and moved two states away and began divorce proceedings. Eventually he lost the house and his car. When I met him, he had a few changes of clothes and his phone. What was left of his belongings were in a rental facility and he would have to pay six months of back rent before he could get his belongings. He was sleeping on a couch in his brother’s house and he knew he was one step from becoming homeless.

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At the end of her rope:

Jill worked for an import company that purchased high-end ethnic accessories for women and then sold them on the U.S. market. When the economy went down, the work dwindled and the company closed. From 2010 to 2012, Jill did anything she could find. She worked with local farmers in the summer and organized and worked at farmer’s markets.

She was hired part-time to process credit card payments for a company in Boston. She could do that work at night from home, leaving the daytime to find other work. Her husband, an executive chef, worked at two different restaurants. His hours were reduced.


To keep up their house payments, Jill, at age 56, found a job harvesting potatoes for 10 hours a day at minimum wage. The anxiety was crushing and ruining relationships with her family. When the remote job became full-time, she managed a trip to the psychiatrist to get help with her anxiety. After seven months, the medications were regulated and helpful.

When , she sought professional help on her résumé and secured a contract job with a manufacturing company. She held onto both full-time positions even when the manufacturing company hired her to a permanent full-time position as an international contract specialist.

In her own words, “I would rather be dead than be unemployed.”

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Is this the new reality for employment?

A graduate after eight months of unemployment:

When I look to my past I see chains, when I look to my future I see a wall and when I look at my present I see quicksand. Read more.

A mid-career jobseeker:

…I don’t think recessions are ever going to go away. Having a job just interrupts a job search." Read more.

The financial challenge of unemployment can cause life-long impact to jobseekers and their families. It isn’t just while they are unemployed. The impact will continue for years and most people will not completely recover from the financial impact—ever. However, the financial story is only one part of the challenge.

The psychological impact is a far greater threat to everyone’s well-being because it affects the ability of the individual as well as society as a whole from recovery.

A short list of the psychological impact of unemployment includes:

  • Shame
  • Rejection
  • Depression
  • Isolation
  • Cynicism
  • Victimization

These and many more threaten, damper, and destroy a person’s ability to discover creative solutions to change his or her situation. So it’s easy to get locked into the cycle of failure.

The real struggle of unemployment:
Everyone I meet that has managed unemployment and underemployment tells me the same thing.

“If I knew <em>when</em> this would end, I could make it…but I don’t know.”
“If I thought I would find security in the future, then it would be worth it…but I don’t think I will every take my future for granted again.”

The challenge is managing the mental traffic that threatens every jobseeker’s sanity.

Silhouette of helping hand between two climber

Good news for managing your jobsearch:

Remember that there is a new industry around the hiring process. It is a disruptive technology! That means that technology is now being used to mange the process of hiring. Most jobseekers realize that they have to get through the Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) before a human being looks at their cover letter and résumé. However, it is a critical error to think that getting through those systems is all there is to it.

This recession has been in place since 2008. As more and more people have made it through their job search, the process and how to manage it has been sharpened. If you are currently in a job search, there is a lot of helpful information about managing your search and steps you can take to stay on track on track and make it through.

Again, if you are in a job search, it is an imperative to find up-to-date information on current hiring practices and trends. Every step of the hiring process has undergone significant change.

Jobseekers who educate themselves on the new hiring processes and know how to troubleshoot their search get back to work quicker. Not knowing how to manage the process is the root of hopelessness. 

Here are links to articles to help at each step of your jobsearch.

Setting your schedule:

Vector Plan Do Check Act diagram

The jobsearch process:

Getting through the Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)

Cover letters and résumés:

Networking, your online persona and LinkedIn:


Working with Recruiters and other Hiring Professionals




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