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Ditch the Gloom: Keeping Your Head Up in Bad Times

Keep SmilingThe job market news of late is enough to make you stay in bed with the covers pulled over you — especially if you don't have a job. It can challenge even the most optimistic of people.

But dwelling on the negative leads to — well — nothing. Just plain old inaction. And when has doing nothing been effective in improving your situation?

So, if the job market news has got you down, here are three things you can do to adjust your demeanor and help you bounce out of bed in the morning:

Screw the news! OK, the national unemployment rate is at its highest since late 1983. The stock market is at its lowest point since midway through the Clinton administration. And, employers expect to hire 22% fewer of today's college seniors than they actually hired from the Class of 2008. There! Done! Now put it all out of your head and when you see or hear something that you think is even worse, change the channel, chat up your friends online, or turn to the sports page.

Be a cheap S.O.B. – and learn to like it! Joblessness, or even the threat of it, will force you to re-examine your finances and look for ways to cut spending. So, play a little game: Consider how much money you think you spend, on average, during a given week. Now, put that amount (in cash) in your wallet on Monday morning, then consider spending it the way you would in a normal week (e.g., coffee, a pack of gum, a newspaper); you know, the little stuff. Got money left over at the end of the week? Put it in the bank and see how much you save after a month. (If you don't, soak in the reality check and work on a budget.) Remember:

  • Saving money = Good!
  • Spending money on things you don't really need = Bad!
  • Spending money you haven't even earned yet = Part of how we got into this economic mess in the first place!

Do something, anything, that can move you toward a new job. Update your resume, scour the web for job openings, make contacts in (and out of) your network, research companies you'd like to work for. Record these activities on an "I did this today" list. At the end of the day, read it, and even if you did just one thing, feel good about what you accomplished before you crawl back into bed for another night's sleep. Then, go back at it again the next day.

What other ideas do you have to help job seekers adopt a more positive attitude today? Please share them below.

RELATED LINKS
What to Do When a Layoff is Lurking
Can't Get Hired? Consider Temp or Contract Work
Jobless? Sometimes You Gotta Leggo Your Ego

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