Eventually, You HAVE To Talk To People


Typically you’ll find I go out of my way to help people cut their anxieties when it comes to the job search process. The title of today’s blog however, has likely raised the stress meter for a few people who struggle with holding conversations.

Yes, there are a lot of people who have difficulty interacting with others; which ramps up even higher than normal when the conversation is expected to be a lengthy one and about them personally. “I don’t like talking about myself”, is a common opening statement I hear often with people who find the interviews and conversations associated with looking for work to be so intimidating.

Now some are great at texting and email. Here at a keyboard, they are more at ease communicating. If they had their way, they’d apply for jobs and be hired based on the qualifications and skills highlighted in their resumes without having to go through the in-person interview.  While some of these types are looking for jobs where they have extremely little interaction with other employees and the public, there are others who will do well once they get hired, become familiar with their new settings and co-workers, and only then do they communicate easier.

Can you feel empathy for such people? I mean, it’s hard to fully grasp what it must be like to have such an acute anxiety about talking to others. Most people I know find job interviews stressful, but job interviews aren’t something we go through every single day of our lives. Face-to-face conversations on the other hand, well, most of us have these many time a day, each and every day. Constantly being in a state of anxiety and heightened stress has to be taxing on both the mind and the body.

Every now and then I’ll hear from someone who was so debilitated on a given day with the fear of being in a conversation that they skipped their job interview altogether. Even though they both want a job and need the income, the barrier of talking to someone they don’t know for 45 minutes to an hour where they are expected to do a lot of the talking just became greater than the desired outcome; a job offer.

It’s not unheard of for some of these people to become physically ill and throw up before job interviews. Their stomachs are churn, their skin becomes tingly and they sweat heavily. The palms get clammy and simple things like eye contact and saying, “Hello” become major challenges.

There is no quick fix I could pass on here in a blog. However, there are some ideas and strategies that tend to help which I can recommend. For starters it can help to look at a job and deconstruct the interaction you’ll have with others. For example, you might balk at the idea of being a Cashier. All those people lining up to interact with you all day long! However, when you break things down, much of your conversation with any one of them will likely be a brief greeting, asking if they want a bag for their purchases, and telling them the total due. Many customers aren’t going to expect or really want much more than that. So while you might be meeting people all day, you’ll only have short, scripted conversations with any one of them.

Looking at a factory job or on an assembly line, your interactions are likely to be restricted to those on your immediate team and perhaps the Security Guard who lets you in and says goodbye to you on your way out. Focus on your work and you might find you fit in rather well, even though there are people around you who are busy doing their jobs.

It can also help sometimes to clue others in to your anxiety. Telling an interviewer that you’ve come to realize that your best work is done independently, and that you like to keep to yourself doesn’t mean you’ll always get shown the door. There are many jobs where the most desirable employee is one who can focus on their work and go for extended periods without the distraction of conversing with others.

Thinking of the above, it raises the important point of making sure you’re going for the right kind of fit when looking for work. This isn’t true just for those with conversation anxieties, but for everybody. In this case, you may do well in a job where you control your surroundings. Take the Potter working with clay in a workshop, a farmer working in a vast field, a Conservationist working in a forest, a Fish and Wildlife Biologist working in a wetlands.

Just walk down any street these days and you see people with ear buds listening to music or podcasts who in so doing, shut out others around them and send the message that they don’t wish to be disturbed. Technology might be tolerated or even encouraged in some jobs if it helps you do your work better.

Of course, sooner of later you do have to talk to people; we all do. One thing to try is short conversations in small doses, where over time you increase your confidence and reduce your fears. Little things like saying, ”hello” to people you pass on the street instead of silently walking by. It might not sound like much, but it’s a small step.

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Honeymoon With The Boss? Absolutely!


Stick around in an organization for some time and it’s likely you’ll go through a change in Supervisor as those around you retire, get promoted, change jobs etc. When that transition happens, you’ll find yourself having to adjust to the fact you’ve got someone new at the helm providing direction.

Depending of course on your relationship with your previous boss, you may be looking forward to the change with great anticipation. On the other hand, if you were fortunate enough to have a positive relationship together, you may be finding the situation has you happy for them but a little disappointed or perhaps sad yourself. Nonetheless, change is afoot through no action on your side of things so you’d best mentally prepare yourself for the change over.

Early days in a relationship – and yes this is a working relationship but a relationship just the same – should be something to look forward to. The new boss wants to get off to a good start, will take some time to get to know all their staff personally; how they tick, what motivates them, their strengths, areas upon which to improve, how they communicate with others, work ethic etc. You as the employee are also adjusting, finding out what the supervision style is of this new Supervisor, learning their expectations, how they communicate and lead, where they’ve come from and how ambitious they may be to excel.

This phase is often called a ‘honeymoon’ period; things are pretty good, it’s getting to know this person and them you, in how you both will interact. Now while in a marriage you most often join because of a mutual desire to set up house together, you could argue this is more of a shotgun affair, having this new person thrust on you whether you like it or not. Why though start this relationship thinking negatively or with suspicion? Go with this a positive thing and a fresh start and your attitude might do you a world of good.

My team is in this stage right at the moment; our Supervisor retired 3 days ago now, and our new Supervisor starts on Monday. Now fortunately, the new boss is a former colleague of ours, and my assessment is that her head and her heart are both in the right place. She’s intelligent, compassionate, fun with a great laugh, but serious when she needs to be and its been my experience that she’s someone who wants what’s best for the people we serve. This is her first Supervisory role, having been successful in a recent competition.

New Supervisors have their own style and it may mirror or contrast with the approach their predecessors used. It might not be fair to hold a person just starting out up against someone who retires with a history of leadership, but it’s inevitable that employees will compare the two moving forward. Listen for it and in the early days there could be conversations among employees on a team going through a change that comment positively or otherwise about the style of the new vs. the old.

There will also be comments that refer not so much about comparing a previous boss with the new, but speak more to the values held by the new Supervisor. “She doesn’t respect the experience on the team does she?” or, “I like the fact she’s taking the approach that we’re all here to support and help each other.” I think it’s safe to say employees always like to feel valued and appreciated for what they give, and hopefully when you go through such a change, your incoming boss recognizes your skills and experience.

The thing to remind yourself of however is that the selection of the person who now leads your team reflects Upper Management’s direction. So supposing a new Supervisor were to come in and shake things up, you’d be well-advised to realize that they are likely doing so with the approval of their own boss. Is it the direction they’ve received to lead similar to the person before them or to tighten things up, instil some creativity and innovation, realign people to new roles or maybe even weed out some dead wood?

Look, you can worry yourself and stress about the changeover; be suspicious and cautious about how much you trust this new person. You can decide to give them respect only if they respect you first, hinder their early days and spread discontent among your peers. Conversely, you can accentuate the positive, welcome them sincerely and help them get off to a good start by doing the work you’re paid to do with some enthusiasm. Either way, you’re going to share the same workplace, so how do you want to be perceived? How you get on together in the beginning will set the tone for your ongoing relationship.

In some workplaces, you might have had a briefing by upper Management advising you of the plans they’ve got, the need for things as they are or maybe an opportunity to overhaul, move people around all at the same time etc. Then again, it’s well within their purvey to act without full disclosure to everyone on the workforce. You’ll find out when deemed proper, such as the first team or individual meetings.

Look on the bright side, you’ve got a fresh start, and in this case, so does my team.

Lets Talk A Positive Attitude


Saying you have a positive attitude in a cover letter and resume might help land that big interview. When sitting in the interview itself, it will probably do serve you well to say it again just to reinforce the point. What however, does a positive attitude look like on the job? How would you prove by example to an interviewer that you bring this positivity to the workplace?

In other words, supposing you were asked, “Give us an example from your previous position where your positive attitude was tested.” Would you be able to answer this question? What would you say then?

You see it’s easy to say that you bring a positive attitude to work on a daily basis. To be believed however, you’ll need to have at a moments notice, a real, tangible example, (several would be ideal) of specific situations where your positive attitude was on display. A situation where your attitude was tested simply means that the situation or atmosphere in which you found yourself in the story you are about to relate was trying and where it might have been easy to join with others and be negative or complacent. The best answer for you could be where your positive attitude had the impact of changing for the better the mood and attitude of others around you; thereby increasing productivity overall.

Now you shouldn’t be surprised at this question if the job ad specifically mentions a positive culture, a winning attitude, etc. While it’s perfectly fine to pause when asked each question to gather your thoughts, you certainly don’t want a long, extended delay which could be interpreted as not having any specific examples to give at all; seemingly having come unprepared. Why, a very long pause could also give an Interviewer the feeling that what they will eventually hear is fabricated, made up, invented and never happened at all.

It is in the face of adversity; or in moments when you receive news that throws you off – such as having the boss tell you you’re doing something completely different on a given day than what you’d been looking forward to – that tests your positive attitude. The organizations that specifically go out recruiting people with positive attitudes believe that with the addition of such people, the workplace in which their employees create will itself become a more positive place to work.

I for one learned when I was in my 20’s that surrounding myself with positive people when possible was much preferable to being around negative thinkers; people who often cast a pall over conversations. I’d rather celebrate a sunny day than have someone point out there’s rain coming tomorrow. Now sure, there are times when people have good reasons to be less than positive. Having a positive attitude doesn’t mean you walk around with a smile no matter the circumstances, living in your own fantasy world. That’s artificial and really doesn’t need much effort if it’s your everyday, all-situations disposition.

People with a positive attitude however will generally be optimistic, look for the upside when possible, and they are generally good people to be around. Would you like to come to work surround by positive people or choose rather to surround yourself with others who’ve created a toxic environment of negativity?

Throughout your day, most of us have interactions with other people; be they on the telephone, in-person, video links etc., or what we choose to read in texts, blogs, newspapers, etc. In many of these situations, we have full control over what we read, what we say, how long we engage or remove ourselves. Some people advocate that if you’re feeling down you stop reading newspapers, stop listening to the news on the radio, remove yourself from the cancerous conversations in the workplace and in so doing, you cut your own exposure to the negative.

I think it’s important to know what’s going on in the world, some of which is bad. It’s equally good to know what might be happening with a co-worker you’ve come to value and appreciate that’s caused them to be sad, troubled or worried about. The challenge is to display empathy, express your concern and still remain a positive person yourself without allowing your attitude to dip. Telling someone to bear up and look on the bright side of things isn’t going to be helpful when they really just need to be heard, their feelings validated and above all listened to.

The situations you want to avoid are those where you hear a couple of people questioning the motives of Management, some are spreading gossip, rumours or you’ve got some co-workers who have become jaded in their views of their clients or customers. “They are all scamming!” “Everyone is cheating the system!” “It’s us against them you know old buddy boy!” Walk away clean my friend; walk away clean.

Positive people don’t wear rose-coloured glasses all the time. What positive people do is give the benefit of the doubt, be good role models for others, and most importantly, they attract other positive people to themselves simply by gaining a reputation for being a positive person in general.

Everyone has their moments and their days. Do you have the skill necessary to be self-aware and catch yourself slipping away from your usual positive self and correcting your own behaviour? That would be a great example to share.

#1 Desired Trait? ENTHUSIASM!


If skills, experience and academic education alone were all it takes to impress upon an employer that you’re the right person to hire, there wouldn’t be any need for interviews. Employers would simply look over the resumes that come in, and presumably the first one that checked off all of their needs would get selected and the rest put aside. That is not how it works.

Interviews are held of course, most often in person, but in some cases are held over the phone, via a video link, or in a screening test or questionnaire which both lead up to an in-person get together.

The reason those employers set up meetings between applicants and their own representatives – pegged as interviewers – is to size up the person in areas that aren’t indicated on the résumé. Essentially the employer wants to meet to assess your personality, attitude, friendliness, ability to engage with them, your communication skills, first impression; all in an attempt to decide as best as possible if you’re the kind of person that will fit into their organization.

It might seem obvious to you that you want the job. I mean, otherwise, why would you have applied? People who apply for jobs however have varying degrees of excitement and enthusiasm for the work to be done. Some apply out of desperation, some are just kicking tires, seeing if they get any response, others are genuinely interested in the jobs while others are running away from the jobs they have now and almost anything else would seem to be preferable. So one’s motivation for applying in the first place is often a key question for an interviewer to determine.

This idea of determining ones motivation is why questions like, “Why are you applying for this position?”, “What do you know about us?” and, “Why are you leaving / Why did you leave your current / last job?” of interest. These kinds of questions are designed to have you respond in part to your motivation for wanting to work for this company you are being interviewed by.

So if for example you don’t know much about the company you are applying for, this could show you don’t actually know or seemingly care if the job and company will be a good fit for you or not. Your lack of interest in putting in any effort to find out before applying tells them you might just be on a fishing trip – trying to see if you can get a job offer by putting in a minimal effort. Is this an indication how you’ll go about things if they did hire you too? Probably. After all, if you aren’t investing much energy in finding out something that should be pretty important to you personally, you’re not likely to invest much energy in the work the company expects you to do on their behalf now are you?

Showing a high level of enthusiasm for the opportunity before you is first and foremost what an employer wants to hear and see in the people they hire. When you are genuinely enthusiastic about the job or career you’re interviewing for, you send a very appealing message. You’re going to work with enthusiasm, enjoy what you’re doing, make an investment of your physical and mental capacities and in short, you’ll be connected to the work you do.

So you’ll show up on time, be present mentally when you’re there physically, get along with your co-workers, and your overall energy and work ethic will add to and not draw from the overall goals of the organization. Let’s sum things up by saying you’re going to be an attractive addition to the team.

How do you convey enthusiasm? Ah, good question! Look and sound positive, sit slightly forward and make good eye contact. Ask questions throughout that show a real interest. Mention things you’ve discovered through your earlier research about the job, their clients/customers. Identify any opportunities you’re aware of that your uniquely qualified to respond to. Ask about future challenges, culture, expectations and reply to what you hear by thoughtfully adding how you will enjoy engaging with these same things.

You can tell when someone isn’t really engaged in what they’re doing and so can an interviewer. Ever been on a date where the other person doesn’t seem invested but is going along until they can finally get away? You can tell by their glances elsewhere, their lack of conversation about anything meaningful and their posture that this isn’t a good fit for either of you. Pretty much the same thing with a job interview.

You might actually see the word, ‘enthusiasm’ in a job posting or you may not. It’s never a bad idea to bring it out right from the first moment of contact, all the way through to the handshake you respond with as they say, “Welcome aboard!”

Having said that, continuing to show enthusiasm for your job on a daily basis will help keep you in mind as a positive person and influence on others you come into contact with. Who knows? Could be that your genuine enthusiasm for what you do will gain you respect and perhaps even lead to being considered for advancement as opportunities arise within the organization in the years to come.

With Enthusiasm as always,

Kelly Mitchell

How Your Seating Sets Up Says A Lot


Have a peek at the office furniture where you work and pause to think about how you feel if you’re not the primary occupant of that space, but rather a visitor. Does the layout have you seated across whoever works in that space, separated by a desk? If so, do you think that’s because it’s the only layout that will work in that space or has it been set up like that on purpose and if so, why?

Typically, people who want to convey a sense of power and control often sit behind a desk, with visitors sitting directly across from them with a desk between. On their side they’ve got the computer monitors, keyboard, access to drawers, filing cabinets and if anything is needed during a meeting, it’s totally accessible from their side. On the side of the visitor, there’s the chair to be occupied and that’s it. Comfortable?

Now, there are alternatives. If the space is large enough, some people will have space for a second desk; this one might be off to the side and have a couple of chairs at it and the user of the office will routinely move to sit in one of these seats with open space between themselves and another. The message here is that both people have something to write on, put a drink down on, etc., but the open space sends the message, we are equals. This you can see, may be precisely why some would like it and others would refuse the very idea. Yes, for some, it is about communicating authority, power, control – any way and every way they can.

When space doesn’t permit a second desk or seating area, intelligent people can still move themselves into positions which communicate openness. You might find that upon entering an office for a meeting, the owner of that space will physically move their chair into a place off to the side of their desk, so they are removed from sitting directly across from you with the desk between. Sitting to the side changes the dynamic of the meeting, without ever having to say a word. It’s like the person is sending the message, “I have power and control, but I don’t need to use it here, so let’s get comfortable.”

This is an example of non-verbal communication and doesn’t happen by accident. Office arrangements are either dictated by the organization and standard designs to consistently send the same message to all employees and customers/clients, or where office furniture and layouts vary, it’s a clearer sign of the preference of the occupant.

Ever notice how some meetings are held in different spaces, even when the meeting may be just between two people? Every heard the phrases, “Come to my office”, or, “Can I see you in my office? There’s something I want to talk with you about.” The choice of seeing you in their space and advising you of that preference can – all by itself – get you anxious.

Sometimes of course that’s the point. There are some who love to wield with that sense of being the big boss, the enforcer. Sometimes people aspire to get their own office because it is for them a recognition of passage. They’ve gone from the office cubicle to their own space with a door. It’s their office, their desk, they’ve got walls to put up their certificates and achievements for all to see and perhaps shelves to personalize. They’ve arrived!

Now of course not all people are enforcers or love to wield the power and control just because they have a desk separating them from visitors. How the person sits and the posture they assume says a lot, as does the tone of their voice, the smile or lack of it. All these and more go into making a trip to that office a welcoming, comforting experience or one to be cautious of.

Oh and what about that door? Is it routinely left open or deliberately closed by the office occupant after you’ve entered? Maybe it’s only closed for certain types of conversations and left open for others? Having a door closed could be for your own privacy and benefit by a caring and thoughtful Supervisor. On the other hand, it could be yet another form of intimidation believe it or not; you’re physically cut-off from everyone else; it’s just you and them, one-on-one. That door doesn’t open again until the person who called you in chooses to open it and release you.

Now as an employee, we don’t often get to choose our furniture; its standard issue. Our seating arrangements are fixed, right down to the chair we sit on, the chair we offer visitors, the workspace we use and the table or desk we sit at.

You might not like the set up you’ve been assigned and the message it conveys to your own visitors. There might be something you could change for the asking but it’s probable there are financial considerations and limitations which will prevent change. If so, how you use the space you have and the atmosphere or mood you choose to create will need some thought and effort on your part.

Could be that you meet the public in specific areas beyond your personal desk. You and the others who may share that space may want to think about the tone that space sets.

A Newborn And The Helping Hands


On Thursday March 29th, I became a Grandfather. That’s Grandfather with a capital, ‘G’ whether it’s grammatically correct or not. It’s my latest job title, though I’ve decided my LinkedIn profile will not be updated to show this new role just as I’ve neglected to add Spouse or Father. Still, these are my 3 most significant job titles I’ve ever held.

He’s a beautiful boy and healthy too. The day I met him with my wife and in the ensuing few days at the hospital, I started thinking about all the various people who were connected professionally with this little guy and his parents. Yes I was thinking about the occupations connected with giving him a good start in the world; and of course, he’s but a single baby. Extrapolate the numbers that follow over thousands upon thousands of births worldwide and you’ve got a whole host of people employed!

There’s the nursing team which is so much more than the single Nurse who I happened to see. He was after all in the hospital 4 days, and so exactly how many came and went I’ve no idea, but let’s conservatively say he had 5. If I took the time to ask, I’d likely find that these Nurses were slightly different in their roles too. I observed there were cleaning staff there too, who ensured vacated rooms next to my daughter and son-in-laws were disinfected, bed made anew and ready for the next expectant mom.

All the furniture in that room, including the bed, table and two chairs, the technical equipment, buzzers, lighting, floor tiles, drywall, plaster, paint, toilet, shower, plumbing, electrical wiring – these don’t appear by magic. There are people we never see and seldom think to thank who make all these things.

There’s the medical team expanding beyond the Nurses I saw. Doctors of course, Lab Technicians, people who take and test blood samples as well as others who read and relay results. In this birth, there was the Midwife too, and she played a role both before, during and post-delivery – visiting the mom and baby in their home 3x too.

Given that we spent some time at that hospital, I wandered the halls and found to my surprise that the main floor might be mistaken for a shopping mall. There was a Tim Horton’s, Subway, Fresshi, plus 4 or 5 other eating places I can’t recall. There was a florist, a gift shop, an information centre, security and all these stores were buzzing with activity requiring multiple employees.

Now my daughter and son-in-law have landed themselves in a caring neighbourhood. One day I sat holding my grandson and noticed someone walking up to their front door. There was no knock, and then I saw the person turn around and walk away. Turns out a neighbour dropped off a brown bag of groceries including a bottle of wine and a speciality bread plus some other goodies. So there are merchants benefitting from these extra purchases. Included was a card of congratulations, so again, another merchant benefitted. Somebody produced that card, wrote the message inside and made the artwork on front. Somebody made the glass bottle for the wine, another person grew the grapes etc.

Now me? I was sent out to buy formula which hadn’t been planned on needing. Good luck finding an open store on Easter Sunday that carried the specific brand, size and type requested. Three stores later I came home with the right stuff. The next day I returned it as it was a bigger size than asked for, and again off to yet another store to get the right product. Sigh… Still, more people making and selling products.

Coming in at 11 pounds, the ‘little’ guy was too big for many of the clothes and receiving blankets at the ready. So off my wife and I went yet again to buy bigger outfits and blankets. “And say dad while you’re out, would you mind doing the grocery shopping? There’s a list on the table of stuff we’d like and some extra items to buy if on sale. Thanks. We really appreciate it.” Ah, nice to be useful and of help, and more people connected with this birth from the clothes manufacturers, Farmers, Grocers, Cashiers, Stockers, Truck Drivers to deliver the goods, Border Agents to screen them entering Ontario.

There’s an endless list it seems. After all, who made the crib, car seat, bassinet, mattress, blankets, toys, books, stuffed animals, recliner, dresser, bureau etc. that make up the baby’s room? There’s the monitor – you get the idea.

So far the little guy is what, 8 days old? He’s already helped keep an army of people employed and will continue to do so as he grows, goes to daycare, school, joins groups and perhaps the band, sports teams, a choir, who knows?

Indulge me here, I’m a proud Father and proud Grandfather. It’s been a rough go for my daughter and my son-in-law. Lots of sleepless nights getting up for feedings and dealing with this major surgery. They’ll get through it though I’m sure. We all figure it out don’t we?

Let me close with a big thank you to all involved not just in helping make entering this world safer and easier for my grandson, but for all the little ones born elsewhere. Oh and the Butcher that gave my daughter an extra slice of meat when she came in and was obviously expecting, thanks to you too!

Mental Health, Unemployment; Compassion


I have learned over the years that first appearances don’t always tell the story. There are many people who, upon first meeting, seem to be in earnest to find employment, but whose actions conflict with what their words would have you believe. It’s easy to mistakenly assume that these people lack commitment to finding a job. You might categorize them as lazy, attempting to intentionally deceive, not putting in the effort to get a job  while telling you they want to work. Often you come to realize however that something else is at play.

Most government programs that provide the basics such as food and shelter have expectations that people look to find income, usually obtained via employment, and work towards financial independence. At its simplest, those who work give a portion of their income to support those in society who don’t. Those with employment income generally assume that those in receipt of help are working hard to get off those programs and join the ranks of the employed. They also assume that those who administer such programs are providing help and advice to aid the unemployed to reach this same goal as quickly as possible.. They also believe this safety net built into our society is meant to support people for a relatively short time until a person finds financial independence.

Most people I believe, have compassion and care for those who are out of work, especially for those incapable of supporting themselves; for whom there is no alternative to find food and shelter. And there is the crux of the situation for a lot of people who see themselves as supporting others; some want to work and try hard to become financially independent. Others seem to avoid looking for work, and these are easier to spot to the average citizen. After all, someone looking for work is either inside some employment agency, working at finding a job from their home, or they are mingling on the street, dressed like workers, on their way to job interviews, meetings, etc.

Those who avoid looking for work or seem to be avoiding looking for work are easier to spot. These are the people we see who look to be of a working age, but are loitering about, sitting in parks and coffee shops, permanently dressed in ‘weekend’ clothes, walking with no purpose, certainly seem to have no work destination in mind. If we saw a cane, a limp, a cast on the arm or some such visible sign of disability, we’d extend compassion, believing their idle time is justified.

However, for many such people, there is no visible sign of disability. Look them over quickly and they seem to be healthy and capable of working; doing something productive. It’s likely that this person you’re looking at is dealing with some mental health issue. Now you might be thinking that this presumption is a bit of a leap, brought on the amount of time I’ve spent in my profession. Fair enough.

So let’s look at you. So you’ve got a  job and you’ve never been on assistance let alone out of work for long. You’re self-image is pretty intact and you’ve got a pretty healthy outlook on things. Suppose now you found yourself out of work. Downsized, laid off, fired, had to move to another city because your spouse took a job there, went back to school and are just job searching now – take your pick. In the short-term you find yourself in shock. No matter, you’ll be working soon.

While optimistic at first, you find your social connections; friends and past work colleagues treat you differently. First off, the work connections are only accessible when you call on them, and there’s less and less to talk about from your end. Your friends keep up at first, but you find you’re left out more and more because after all, money is tight and get-togethers for Spa Days and weekend jaunts to concerts and hotels out-of-town aren’t in your budget, so they call less on you to join them.

You cut back where you can on groceries, trips in the car, clothing and entertainment. Your parents and relatives tell you to just get a job, after all you’ve been successful before so it won’t be long. But it is. Your self-esteem has taken a hit as has part of your identity; the part of you that identified yourself by a profession and as an employee.

Making a résumé and applying for jobs seems simple enough, but you’re not getting the results you’ve had in the past. While applying for work, you’re not eating as well as you should; groceries are more expensive so you buy the cheaper, pre-made and packaged stuff. You put off dental work and new glasses maybe – you’ll get them when you’re working.

Look, the bottom line is the longer you’re out of work the harder it is to keep positive. Doubt, anxiety, sadness, depression; it’s not hard to see how these creep in and can be debilitating. When you experience these yourself or work with those who do, it’s easier to see how someone can want to work but literally be unable to do what is necessary to be successfully employed; sometimes for a long time, some times forever. And the longer ones unemployment lasts, the harder it becomes to break the routine.