My Unemployed Life: Should I Give Myself A Deadline To Find A Job?

deadline to find full-time job

What do you try when you feel like you've already tried everything to find a full-time job?

I've been at this now for 32 months. I'm no novice at the search for work anymore; luckily for me, my skills have become well-honed.

Actually, it's ironic: Usually experience is a good thing, but the more job hunting experience you have, the worse it is for you because it means that you still don't have a job. It's an area, like burying husbands (I did that once, which was much more than enough), in which you don't want to gain experience. Anyway, it came to me in a flash of intuition today that I need to set a goal. Out of nowhere I heard my inner voice saying, "I want to have a job by Christmas." I don't know where that came from or why, but there it was.

I started to think about it and I like the idea of setting a deadline for myself. It gives me a concrete amount of time within which to work. I don't know why I've never thought of approaching the search this way before.

While I've been unemployed, I've found that I tend to look ahead and see nothing specific: just weeks and months and years of blank time stretching out before me. I sometimes feel like I'm adrift, floating in this limbo between my last job and my next one.

But we all know that time, even when it seems endless, is sadly finite. Sooner or later, there's going to be that one last milestone for each of us. So it makes sense to stop thinking that there will always be time -- to find a job or to do anything else, for that matter. I've been very conscious of this for a long time, but never in connection with my job search.

More: How Bad Is The Job Market?

So it's time for a new beginning, to hit that "reset" button and start again. I'm setting myself a deadline of Christmas to find a job.

I think this will help me focus, to concentrate on the steps I need to take to achieve this goal. Maybe viewing my job search from a different perspective will make a difference. It just feels better to think that my search will actually come to an end. Even if I don't know that it will, just looking at it this way makes me feel more positive. It gives me more control over this process.

Now I'm brainstorming some "next steps" to help me reach my goal by Christmas. That's about 15 weeks away. Let's see, what do I need to do if I'm going to make a fresh start of this, with a definite conclusion in a few months?

Some ideas pop into my head right away:
  • Make sure my resume is up-to-date and effective.
  • Join a new networking group.
  • Improve my profile on LinkedIn.
  • Use Twitter to help me find a job (or be found for a job).
  • Learn how Facebook can assist me in my job search.

I like this deadline thing. It makes me feel like it's worth trying some things I haven't, or haven't done in awhile. Starting over frees me to approach things in new ways instead of staying stuck in my old ones.

But more time passes and lots of second thoughts and questions are poking holes in my hopeful plan, bursting my upbeat bubble. Ugh – I'm re-reading those bullets above and now they sound like every other perky "surefire tips for job hunters!" article.

And the questions: What if Christmas arrives and my present -- a new job -- hasn't? Then what will I do? Will I quit trying? Will I extend my deadline? Will I attempt yet another brand new start?

Maybe I'm just playing mind games, trying to trick myself into believing that I can simply impose a beginning and an end onto this, as if it's just another household project. It's not. Like life, it's impossible to predict the endpoint of a job search.

Then there's this question: Am I setting myself up for even greater disappointment if I pretend my search is almost done and it's not? Could be. But if it helps me feel more optimistic for awhile, then it may be worth it.

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We sold too many occupations to other countries while we were spending money on Iraq and then against the Taliban. So, there's just not enough jobs to go around anymore for everybody since America focuses on more important things that exludes its own people. Technolgy has been a culprit to finding work, but our infrustructure really took more of a hit. Who's to blame for that?

January 24 2013 at 1:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Its too much work to find a job. It shouldn't be that way. You can blame this current crisis on U.S. politics, not your resume and past experience. But there's no going back to the 20th century, unfortunately. And Ted, the 1990s "mail bomber" knew technology would ruin this country and it has -- jobs!

January 24 2013 at 12:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I had to move from SC to Ga. Life has been good but was cut from my job at 53 and my wife at 66. Being a banker, I saw what not planning did to people so I saved every nickel and dime expecting one day to get axed. My worst fears became reality but I was ready. Thank God and a supportive wife.

October 05 2012 at 1:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Very interesting article. I really feel for Ms. Hopkins. It might just be that she will have to set a whole new set of lifestyle choices to choose out of NJ to another st

October 05 2012 at 1:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Chelsey L Williams

It is tedious to look for a job today. I decided that while I was in the process of "looking" that I would also be open to anything that would generate cash. I started taking contract work, created a website, started a Facebook page, opened a twitter account, and before you knew it, voila, I was an entrepreneur!

September 18 2012 at 10:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Interesting article; I'm in the same boat! I have been unemployed for more than a year and a half, and my EUC benefits expired in early July, so I have nothing, zero, nadda coming in, but of course my bills are ongoing. Like Fran, I have set myself a deadline for finding a job (my preference), but if that does not happen, I will start a small home-based business, or two, or three...; specifically I am going to purchase a cleaning franchise that I can get into with little capital. This is not my preference, but my family owned a successful commercial cleaning company for 20+ years, so this business is not completely foreign to me, and who knows where it might lead. In any case, there are only so many options, and only so long that one can be without an income, especially for those of us in the Boomer generation. All the best to Fran, and all my other Boomer family similarly situated!

September 11 2012 at 2:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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