Coping With Unemployment

The recession is one of the biggest stories right now, and we're working on covering it through a "Your Life in a Recession" frame. We kicked the series off with a show on layoffs last week. This week, the next step: the job search in a recession. It all started with an outburst from me. My sister, Anne, has been looking for a job for quite some time now, and talking to her about it really brought home how awful it is out there. So we're doing a show that will hopefully help give the unemployed some strategies — the good news is, there are some jobs out there, but you have to know where to look.

The thing that has stuck with me, however, is just how rotten it feels to be jobless right now. A good day, Anne says, is "finding real and true prospects for my skill set." She continues, "When I find one that I really think I would enjoy, I feel like I have really uncovered something and well, accomplished something, just like doing a good job in your job. You find a good story and pitch it and they like it. I find a good job prospect and send my resume — pitch me — and feel good." But, more often than not, she just feels bad. She worries that, as a newlywed, people think of her as leeching off her husband, and not contributing to her household. She, of course, worries constantly about money, particularly at this time of year. I know there are some people reading this and nodding their heads in recognition, so here are the ways she tries to cope — maybe they'll help you feel better, too. For one, she sets goals. Send out five resumes a week. Spend x hours a day searching, and no more. Secondly, she pitches in more at home, washing dishes, doing laundry. And finally, she tries to just get out of the house, away from the computer and the stack of resumes. Taking a walk is free, and along her way, she sometimes chats with neighbors and small business owners about her search. They mostly commiserate, but who knows, maybe one day that networking will provide a lead. So what are you doing to cope with unemployment? Do you have tips to share with your thousands of cohorts?

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