We all have been there....even at a job you love....you get tired and worn out at some point. Whether it's boredom, not being challenged, overworked, depressed, in a toxic environment, ....the spark seems to disappear. And then never really re-appear....
Obviously, the risk of fatigue is even higher for job seekers, who usually aren’t happy about looking for work.
Job search fatigue is a REAL THING and can be quite the obstacle in being happy....especially if that person succumbs to job search fatigue because they typically end up looking for work for a much longer amount of time. The lengthening of a job search from fatigue can be due to several factors, including taking days or weeks off from your routine.
It produces this feeling of ‘what’s the point’ and ‘I don’t want to put myself out there’ and obviously that’s a problem. Job search fatigue can set in after searching for work for a long time — or after just a few weeks. It's quite common for anyone to take a day off from looking for work here and there, but it becomes a problem when the break turns into several days or weeks, and even worse, when you start getting depressed.
There are going to be days that you are fatigued from job searching....all the rejections and boring things. But the bigger problem is when it goes on and on and on. If you start to feel that way consistently for a week, you really need to address that job search fatigue.
So what should you do?
Protect your identity
People tend to underestimate how much of their identity is tied to their work. I can say from experience that just switching jobs can sometimes come with a rush of unexpected emotions due to shifts in identity. For unemployed job seekers, that loss of identity can be much more direct.
We often think of job search fatigue as an exhaustion of rejection and not hearing back. For those of us whose identities were connected to our jobs, those rejections and not hearing back creates such an emotional mismatch. We’re constantly getting these feedback mismatches between who we believe ourselves to be and what we’re hearing. When we hear that, it increases our job search fatigue.
If you’re experiencing that identity mismatch or your believe your job search fatigue is driven by the loss of a job, you may want to consider finding an activity or volunteer opportunity that aligns with your past work.
This helps! You are able to connect and share your experience with others without being overwhelmed about your job search.
People need people
You should also keep in mind that even the most introverted people need social interaction from time to time (introvert right here!). Yet, many job seekers cut off communication with their connections because they are embarrassed about being unemployed or looking for work.
There was a recent survey from LinkedIn that found nearly half of survey respondents said they had lied about being out of work (per Andrew Seaman, Senior Editor at LinkedIn News). What?! More than half said they had avoided a social event because of the way they feel about being out of work.
"Our tendency because of the stigma is to self-isolate and not talk to others because we lost our jobs, but it’s really important to talk to others,” said Seaman. “It provides the social support that we all need when we’re stressed. It helps us learn job search strategies. It helps you find work.”
Routines are helpful
We all know how much I push on routines. And routines are incredibly important to guard against job search fatigue or to help remedy it is to create a routine (check my recent LinkedIn Live on this topic).
You really need some organizational strategies so you don’t take a day off EVERY DAY. I highly recommend segregating your day out. Have your morning routine, have your job-search activities, have your self-care time and then your evening routine. Make sure you are scheduling in breaks too. When you create a schedule like you have a job, it feels like you’re going to work and this helps maintain your professional identity.
You may also want to consider dressing for your job search to also help your identity and keep up your productivity. I do this all the time - wake up do your thing and then get dressed. You feel better and are ready to go; instead of lounging around.
It’s OK to ask for help
My general advice for job seekers is whenever what’s going on in your life is interfering with your ability to function in everyday life or you don’t find joy in the things that usually bring you joy - SEEK HELP ASAP. The world needs the best YOU
How else can people combat job search fatigue? Join the conversation.