Learning How to Overcome the Discouraged Unemployed-Worker Effect

In the U.S., the number of unemployed people (10.5 million) and the 6.7% unemployment rate has “changed little in February 2014,” according to the latest Economic News Release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. “The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) increased by 203,000 in February to 3.8 million.” Unemployed workers seeking new jobs wonder how they can stand out from the crowd when so many people are also applying for the same jobs. Another staggering statistic from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:  “there were 755,000 discouraged workers in February…discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them.” These workers have searched for employment with no success within 12 months. If you find yourself in the group of discouraged workers, how can you turn your situation around? 

Steps toward Overcoming the Discouraged Worker Effect

Change your perspective

  1. Take some personal time and invest in your emotional health and well-being.
  2. Re-evaluate and take a personal inventory of your job skill set. Review your resume and make certain it is current with your experience.
  3. Contact organizations online, such as Smart Recruiters, who work to “bridge the gap between jobs and people and they work to eradicate unemployment.”   

Surround yourself with supportive people

  1. Connect with other unemployed friends or family members in similar circumstances.
  2. In Stephanie Armour’s article in, USA Today [302 from], she shared an example of a local support group—“Professionals in Transition Support Group”—in Greensboro, NC. This group helps discouraged workers find support and encouragement to move forward in their lives.
  3. Find a trusted advisor or confidant who can encourage you when discouragement sets in. This advisor can also hold you accountable to make certain you keep on target with tasks.

Become Entrepreneurial

  1. It’s time to start networking with your contacts on LinkedIn and others in your network. According to Anne Fisher from CNN Money Website, the “unemployed or those looking for a job should attempt to meet with one person in their network face-to-face every day.”   
  2. Learn to network during these meetings, not solicit for a job—the goal is to assist each other.
  3. Networking can help the discouraged worker feel as if he or she is making progress and not falling deeper into a pit.

Think Outside the Box

  1. When unemployed, the threat of laziness can overwhelm your life.
  2. Maintain a full time day. Don’t simply sit in front of the TV. Find proactive activities such as, exercise and other educational events, to fill your day.
  3. Fred Whelan from CNN Money Website says, “Put in an eight-hour day, every day. For now, this is your job."

Creative Ideas to Making Professional Career Changes in your Life

Some discouraged workers have learned how to think outside the box. Here are examples of various creative plans these workers have used and which could work for you during your professional transitional period. 

  • Downsize living space, lower expenses and take a part-time job
  • Sell used items such as furniture, old electronics etc. on eBay and Craigslist
  • Do odd jobs like raking leaves, mowing lawns, painting houses, tutoring etc.
  • Get creative and channel your inner-entrepreneur and start your own business
  • Utilize free resources to publish an eBook through Kindle Direct Publishing through Amazon or a paperback book through Create Space.  
  • Develop new professional skills by going back to college, technical school or free online learning sites like Khan Academy or Free-Ed.

The main thing to remember is that perspective is everything. Surround yourself with supportive people who believe in you and your dreams to find fulfilling employment and success. Channel your inner entrepreneur and start to think outside the box.


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