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Job-Search Reality Check: Step Away from the Computer (and Continue to Live Your Life)

While you're busy looking for a job, your life is happening. Remember that.

I know this may seem counterintuitive since I’m jobhunting, but lately I find myself avoiding my computer. I’m very happy that it’s springtime and there are lots of outdoor chores to keep me busy and involved for hours at a time. My backyard has become my escape.

I think I’m doing this because I’d become almost addicted to online job searching. Just one more search, one more site, one more click, and surely I’ll find the job for me at last. I wasn’t thinking this consciously, of course, but I felt it; I almost couldn’t stop because I might just miss my job that was out there, waiting to be found.

Since I’ve recently come to terms with reality, I’m cutting back on or cutting out those behaviors that are unlikely to be productive. What reality? Last week, I came across a recent New York Times article entitled “The Human Disaster of Unemployment.” One sentence from this article jumped out and hit me like a smack in the face:

A worker between ages 50 and 61 who has been unemployed for 17 months has only about a 9 percent chance of finding a new job in the next three months.

Talk about taking away a person’s hope! It’s not that I didn’t already know that, the longer you’re unemployed, the longer you’re likely to be unemployed; and that the older you are, the less likely you are to be hired. I think this was the first time I’d seen these two facts combined into one statement, which then quantified the odds of that particular category of jobhunter finding a job.

Nine percent. 

And unfortunately, my odds must be even smaller, because I’ve been unemployed for more than 17 months.

OK, OK, OK, please don’t accuse me of whining or wallowing. I don’t know the source or accuracy of the Times’ statistic, and it still means that some people in this category will find new jobs “in the next three months.” I'm not feeling sorry for myself and I'm not giving up.

I’m not giving up, but lately I do think in terms of spending quality time, not quantity, at my computer. I’m taking advantage of opportunities to do freelance writing, which I’m enjoying. In general, I’m reminding myself of the many other, often wonderful things that constitute living one’s life.

I think John Lennon was right when he said, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” I don’t want to become so preoccupied with finding a job that I end up missing my life.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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