The Emotional Toll of a Long-Term Job Search: Feeling 50/50 About My Personal Success

How do you manage the long-term job search when you have mixed emotions about your success? How do you you address how you’re feeling and still move on? I have a couple of things to say about this topic.

The Emotional Toll of a Long-Term Job Search: Feeling 50/50 About My Personal Success

I broke one of my new rules I wrote about earlier this year and I am having mixed feelings about it. Since the college where I used to work closed, I have made it a point to avoid reading any and all news about its closing. Nothing that is written has made me feel good about myself or the situation in general. This rule has served me very well over the last few months.

However, one of the former students that I follow on Facebook posted an update on a lawsuit against the former president and trustees that I read out of curiosity.

And that was my mistake.

That was totally my fault for reading something I knew would make me feel bad. And it sure did! Don’t make that mistake again.

How I Felt to be Reminded I Wasn’t Hired Anywhere

In an objective sense, nothing that was written was particularly newsworthy or even something I didn’t already know. But a quotation from a former trustee hit me luck a punch to the gut.

In the quotation, it was mentioned that since the closure 90% of the students have enrolled in other programs and that most of the faculty and staff have found new jobs.

And I, for one, am one of the staff who has not.

Up until reading this article, I was beginning to find a new identity as a business owner. Someone who was hustling to create interesting content and get my name out there to be a consultant or speaker. And that new identity has taken a long time to internalize, rather than see myself as unemployed.

A suit-wearing torso with a name badge that says unemployed.
This is how I have learned to introduce myself. Believe me, it doesn’t help.

But reading that one sentence just smacked of too much reality. Especially after reading countless LinkedIn and Facebook posts about former colleagues who have moved on to new jobs in the past few months. I am certainly happy for their continued success. Personally I keep wondering when I can post something about my own success, relative to theirs.

And here is where I feel the 50/50 feeling.

How I Feel Living Someone Else’s Dream

I know I am creating my own success. Such as two very successful on-site trainings in the last month. I have finished the manuscript for a new book. I am writing more and more for my blog and hopefully for other blogs soon. But all of this feels like someone else’s dream. How do I get closer to feeling like I am achieving MY dream?

It’s been my challenge to find happiness in this form of success. While I know that I can and do great work, none of this was in my immediate plans. So how do I shake this 50/50 feeling?

Thoreau quote: Go confidently in the direction of you dreams! Live the life you've imagined!
I need to remind myself of my favorite Thoreau quote.

I think this feeling that I am living someone else’s dream is one of the blocks I have had to address for the last year. I have not been able to articulate it as I have right now, but it has been out there. Like when I formed my LLC, or finished my book in a month, or got good reviews from my trainings – all of these should have filled me with pride.

And none of this really has. Not the way that I feel when I land a phone interview. Or ace an in-person campus interview. I know that feeling. And I’m not getting that same feeling with these business successes.

My dreams are not static. And I can go confidently in the direction of my dreams. I am not sure if there is an immediate resolution for what I am feeling. But I can now name it!

How I Am Looking Back Without Anger

Earlier, I also wrote about what the experts say about dealing with long-term job-searches. Intellectually I should just consider what I am feeling as temporary. That I should look at creative ways to deal with the feelings. And I should look at service as a way to contribute while looking for a job.

What I have also learned is that my anger and frustration only exacerbate the job-loss grief I experienced earlier this year. I have learned to let this anger go. So when I read the article, I didn’t feel anger or frustration. I felt sad.

Well, I can deal with sadness. Sadness is also a natural emotion. The situation about the job-searching has been on-going for over a year – there is ample reason to feel sad. But what can I do with my sadness?

I have to remind myself that feeling sadness is a natural emotion, and I can channel that sadness away from anger to something that will benefit me later.

How I Hope I End Up Feeling

I think that is my new summer project. Because the business successes will continue regardless of how I feel about my long-term searching. What I have to offer as a business owner is going to continue to grow and impact the lives of students. I will grow my consulting and mentoring business. And I will still have my mixed emotions about not finding a job with someone else.

I know that eventually this sadness will be replaced with some other emotion. But for now, I am ok with feeling 50/50. I have a lot to feel proud for and about. And I still have a grieving journey to complete, too. And when that day comes where I look back without sadness, I will have a great deal to celebrate.

We all experience job-loss differently. How we feel about long-term job searches is also different. And if you need someone to talk to, schedule a meeting with me online to discuss some of your job-search strategies!

6 thoughts on “The Emotional Toll of a Long-Term Job Search: Feeling 50/50 About My Personal Success

  1. Pingback: Right Here, Right Now: Realize Your Personal Development Plan Doesn't Need to Be Perfect | Leadership and Values in Action, LLC %

  2. Pingback: Right Here, Right Now: Identify Your Strengths | Leadership and Values in Action, LLC

  3. Pingback: Right Here, Right Now: Find An Easy Win and a Stretch Goal | Leadership and Values in Action, LLC

  4. Pingback: Right Here, Right Now: Acknowledge Your Limiting Beliefs | Leadership and Values in Action, LLC

  5. Pingback: Right Here, Right Now: Lean into Your Fears and Vulnerability | Leadership and Values in Action, LLC

  6. Pingback: Right Here, Right Now: Forgive Yourself All the Things You Don't Start or Finish | Leadership and Values in Action, LLC

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: