Looking for a job can sometimes feel like a full-time job in itself. It takes hard work and focus to search, apply, and prepare for interviews. There’s can also be serious anxiety that accompanies a job search, whether it’s stress and worry about if you’ll hear back or not, or nervousness regarding an upcoming job interview.
Good mental health is paramount not just for those looking for a job, but also in a work environment. In a recent study, a majority of employees with poor mental health said they planned to look for a new job in the next six months—meaning that the focus of their job search would be, in large part, to improve their mental health. With the state of the job market and workforce over the past few years, it’s inevitable that some might feel an even more heightened level of anxiety when they’re looking for a job than they had at their previous job.
Whether you’re trying to improve your job situation or you’re just trying to find one, stress and anxiety in a job search can inevitably lead to burnout, which can really impact your drive and desire to continue on your search. Burnout comes in many forms, and there are ways to cope with this very real and very normal feeling.
Job search burnout can affect you both physically and mentally. It can manifest itself in ways such as lack of sleep, constant fear or anxiety, and even not eating enough or overeating as a coping mechanism. It can also lead to feeling overwhelmed by regular everyday tasks and duties and cause you to shut yourself off from social interaction.
One of the best ways to cope with job search burnout and avoid the serious mental and physical health consequences that come along with it is to remember that job searches don’t last forever; they’re a means to an end. It might feel like your job search goes on and on, but ultimately you will end up finding the right thing for you at the right time.
It’s also important to plan things out and organize your job search. This can help ensure that you’re not overextending yourself and stressing about not knowing the right place to look. Do some research beforehand to get an idea of the right job boards to use and the most appropriate places to find the kind of work that you’re looking for.
Perhaps the most important way to cope with job search burnout is to limit yourself. Don’t sit around for eight hours a day and look for a job. Put barriers on your job searching time and stick to it, and then try to fill your day with things that refresh and excite you. Of course, it’s important to work hard at finding and applying for jobs, but there’s a limit to how much time and energy you should spend on that. If you can find the balance that’s right for you, it will make the search feel less intense and you almost certainly won’t get burned out as easily.
At the end of the day, you will find the job that’s right for you. It’s easy to feel burned out by a job search, and ultimately discouraged by the whole process, but always keep in mind that if you stay focused, balanced, and as optimistic as possible, you’ll get to where you want to be.
— Article by Sean Kelly. In addition to being an analyst researching the latest industry trends for College Recruiter, Sean Kelly also co-founded a nonprofit local news publication in Savannah, GA called The Savannahian.