Looking for a job doing anything leaves you doing nothing


By David Joel Miller

Looking for a job doing anything?

Jobs

Getting a job is one way to rapidly improve your mood, reduce depression and anxiety. More and more mentally ill are working, not at jobs manufactured for them, but at important and rewarding jobs right alongside other people who may never have experienced a mental health challenge.

If the person next to you at work chooses to not tell you about their mental health issues many times no one would know.

Few things in life can pull you down into depression or anxiety as dramatically as losing your job or going through long periods of unemployment. Counselors and clients often spend a lot of time working on depression and neglect the impact that having a job or other purpose in life might have on the client’s mental health.

One major missing piece in the treatment of mental illness has been our failure to provide career counseling and guidance to those with mental health challenges.

Some of life’s most needed skills; things like managing anger, having a healthy relationship and find a job are missing from many people’s education.

Now if you were one of those people who just naturally knew how to find that high paying career, never were laid off or downsized and had a period of unemployment, you may not have needed any career guidance. But if you are like most of us, you have had to make it through periods of unemployment and underemployment and you may have felt a good deal of anxiety and depression during those times.

Employment development departments and other agencies may work to help people find work, but how to manage those emotions while doing a job search is often missing from the equation.

One mistake I see discouraged and depressed job seekers making is to start looking for a job “doing anything.”

The willingness to take what jobs are available and at the wages that are available is a laudable quality. But looking for a job doing “anything” rarely works.

If you do not know what you are looking for how will you know it when you see it?

Try looking in the paper or online under the heading “Anything.” Did you find any listings? Looking for “a job doing anything” is not the same thing as being willing to do anything.

The more focused you are in what you are looking for the more opportunities you might find. Having two, three or more specific things you would like to do for a living will net more leads than constantly looking at everything and anything.

That unfocused job search will net you a lot of jobs you are not qualified for or which require work at times and locations you can’t do, but not many opportunities that are possibilities.

Spending time learning about the world of work, what jobs exists and what jobs might be a good fit with your abilities, interests and education will go a long way in narrowing you search from looking everywhere at everything and finding nothing to looking  in a few key areas in which you have a good chance to find something.

There are a few important things that you need to know to narrow your job search and improve your chances.

  1. Know yourself, your likes, your abilities, and your interests.
  2. Know about the world of work, what jobs are out there
  3. How do you land that job once you have found it?

In future posts, I want to explore a few of the basics of career counseling that Professional Counselors practice with their clients.

While you may not be out of work now there is always a chance to improve your situation. Sometimes this improvement comes from finding a job and sometimes it comes from advancing within the place you find yourself.

Either way best wishes on making a job a part of your recovery and your happy life plan.

Keep an eye out and we will take a look at more career information in the posts to come.

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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings, and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

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4 thoughts on “Looking for a job doing anything leaves you doing nothing

  1. Really good advice. I found my job ‘doing anything’ while I was very down from being unemployed, and ive been in that job for 4 n half years now, periodically applying for slightly more senior jobs ‘doing anything’. Ive recently done some soul searching using teqniques similar to your 1, 2, 3 and ive finally discovered what I really want to do. Just need to build up my skills and land the job now!

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  2. I have had that “any job” before and it created more stress, anxiety and depression. I hated what I was doing, was not challenged, and found it hard to be motivated to get anything done because it was just not fulfilling.

    Ive been on disability for almost a year now and I see myself going back to work at some point. But… while I am still seeing doctors and therapists 2-3 times a week, it’s hard to even consider applying for jobs because anything I would be good at, that would challenge my intellect and give me a sense of accomplishment is going to be a full time job. (I was working in a “project management” type function as a manager prior to my time off and loved it. It’s what I am good at.)

    Do you have any suggestions for bridging that gap between not quite being ready for a full time job but still want to do something to help contribute to the family income? I probably couldn’t work more than 4 hours a day maybe 3 days a week right now. So that limits me to like retail, fast food, starbucks… and I think i’d rather spork myself in the eye.

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  3. Pingback: Looking for a job doing anything leaves you doing nothing | Trauma and Dissociation Projects

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