The Worst thing You Can do When You’re Unemployed is Spend all Your Time Looking for a Job

Srinivas Rao
5 min readJul 9, 2020
Photo by KOBU Agency on Unsplash

The spring of 2009 was one of the most difficult times to graduate from any kind of school. We were in the midst of a global economic recession. Employers were receiving upwards of 1000 resumes from overqualified candidates for one 1 job. That’s the story of people who chose to react to a crisis with fear, panic, and anxiety.

A young designer named Jamie Varon took a different approach. She started a web site called Twitter Should Hire Me. Instead of sending out 1000’s of resumes, she had dozens of unsolicited job offers, and eventually so much demand for her skills that she was able to start a business. Her’s is a story responding to crises with creativity, resourcefulness, and imagination.

People who sat around waiting for the economy to improve didn’t recognize the most important lesson of all. Most of the jobs that disappeared weren’t coming back. The industrial economy rewarded people for fitting in. But the new economy rewarded people for standing out.

A few months after I graduated from the MBA program at Pepperdine, I heard the most counterintuitive career advice I’ve been given in my life.

“The worst thing you can do when you’re unemployed is to spend all of your time looking for a job.”

The problem with spending all of your time looking for a job when you don’t have one is that you focus all your energy and attention on the most depressing thing about your life. Not only that, but it’s also inefficient and ineffective. And worst of all, being unemployed becomes your identity.

Most of my classmates were doing the opposite. One posted a Facebook status update saying she had applied to every job on the internet. Others lowered their standards. If and when they did get job offers, they were underemployed and making less than what they made prior to our MBA program. They made long term sacrifice for short term gains.

Seth Godin once said the best way to be where you want to be a year from now or 10 years from now is to something today you’ll be glad you did. So rather than spend all of my time looking for a job, I started a blog, spent an hour a day…

--

--

Srinivas Rao

Candidate Conversations with Insanely Interesting People: Listen to the @Unmistakable Creative podcast in iTunes http://apple.co/1GfkvkP