Depression and the Job Search

I've worked since I was 16 and I stopped working at 29, as I had just burned the candle on both ends. I took some time out to try a career change as a cultural performer and now I am at home and jobless. On my job applications it looks like I didn't do anything for 3 years! The interviewers I am honest with don't even call me back. I'm starting to feel a physical depression and unqualified for anything. I need a start in the right direction, but I don't know where to start.

What you are expressing is not an uncommon problem, though I imagine it can cause great frustration. Sounds like you have made a strong effort to work hard, find a direction, fulfill a passion, and now feel that none of it is appreciated in the world of work. Here is my advice:

  1. If you do have any history of depression, make sure you obtain some help for that or it will be even more difficult to motivate yourself in the job search. Taking care of yourself is really important!
  2. You don't say what kind of jobs you are seeking now. So, I might suggest that you work directly with someone at a career counseling agency to determine your transferable skills and interests, then determine what types of companies, industries or jobs utilize those skills. Then the key to success is to work toward packaging yourself to meet those needs. You may have to volunteer, intern or obtain more education to develop current experience.

If you are applying for jobs indiscriminately with a resume and "speech" focusing on what you did in the past rather than what you can bring to an employer, the road can be a tough, uphill battle. The goal is to climb that ladder, not let it slam you to the ground and on days that it does, pick yourself up, wipe yourself off, learn a new technique or skill and move on down the road. At 31 you have a lot of years to work - make them valuable!

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