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Reflections on 2 years of Unemployment & Lessons learned November 10, 2010

Posted by jvmullin in Job Searching, Job Searching.
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I have been unemployed for 2 years now and I am still looking for that elusive career that I want.

What I have found out is that the so called experts and we know there are thousands out there are full of it. They have not had to look for a job in some time and are totally out f touch with finding one. There view point is one from the hiring side who has no idea what they want. Trying to find a job in this economy is like trying to hit a moving target. Every time you think you have it figured out they change the rules.  But the experts are still spouting the same thing. Then there is the social media side with all these experts. What they are experts at is filling the media with spam ads or the same information all day every day. Not so much in a passion to try and help you but to make a few dollars off of you. They tout free webinars which is a guise to sell there books or their programs. Like we have spare money to waste on such stuff.  Think about it if we followed everything they told us we would all be employed. Well I have listened and I have tried and I am still here after two years. I did it all right just they way they told us and no results. Ye sit has worked for some but then that is the Law of Averages I think more than what they said. The best hook is the “Hidden Job Market”, well let me clue you in it is so hidden they can’t find it but if it existed they can teach you how to find it. Well it exists and they can’t.

The Hidden job market is not advertised and not discussed. So how do you find it? Networking into your target companies and through the right person and the right questions you will find it. But what is it? It is three things;

Positions that are vacant and funded but not filled

Positions that were created but not funded and not filled

Position that you have to create and convince them they need you in that position.

Are they worth pursuing?  Yes if it is a place you want to work.

Please send me $20 for that advice. I might as well jump on the bandwagon too I need to money.

The most important thing I have learned is that those close to you are not your friends they are self centered and care about themselves. They do not listen to your dreams or passions. They could care less what you want they only care that you are working for their own selfish reasons.

Case in point:

I belong to an organization for unemployed professionals. I help out as much as I can as we are a community and I believe in Pay it Forward. My landlord and GF started pushing me to be a career coach because of all the help I was giving others. I was laser focused on an Engineering Manager position(My passion). I finally succumb to there bantering and started my business to help others with their careers their business and to develop leaders.

Foolish me thought that they would be willing to help promote my business and see me succeed at what they so vigorously pushed me into. Well like a couple of David Copperfields they vanished. I guess they figured well he is doing something that will make money our jobs are done. Thanks for nothing!!!!!

Ah but like David Copperfield they have reappeared to push me into taking anything to make any money. No concern for my mental state or attitude. No concern about helping me get the business going, no concern about what I want. Just as long as their selfish concerns are met they are happy. What about my happiness does it matter or count in all this?

Now I know why so many unemployed people feel they are going it alone. Now I know why we try to band together for support. We are the only ones who truly know what we are going through and we need each other to help each other. But even in these groups there are takers and do not see the need or feel the need to give back. This is baffling to me why someone would do that to a fellow human being when they understand what is at stake.  But I guess that is human nature and Karma will get them someday.

So I guess the lessons are:

Do not depend on friends and relatives to help you or have your best interest in mind when they tell you things you should be doing.

Stay laser focused on what you want

Take what the experts tell you with a grain of salt. Remember they make a living off of you.

Listen to what you fellow seekers have found that works. Learn as much about it and then figure out if it will  work for you and try it.

No matter how strong you think you are…. you are not to strong to be alone and cry once in awhile. It helps clear the mind and gets you recharged and focused. It give you a renewed determination. It also relieves stress.

Be your self! Especially in an interview. I have interviewed a number of people and yes we can tell when you have been “coached”. We want to see the real you. It counts against you if you’re not.

Treat interviews as a business meeting where you are selling a commodity and they need it. Tell them why your’s is the best.

Do not stop looking no matter how bad it seems. The day you stop is the day you missed the opportunity of a life time. It is just Murphy’s Law and the Law of Averages.

Smile and have a sense of humor it sucks being gloomy doomy all the time. Take the weekends off and have some fun. Go streak your kids soccer game. Well maybe not that. They do not have computers in holding cells (see the last point).

GTHOOTO!!!!! This is a great one from Tom Peters that he tells leaders. It stands for Get The Hell Out Of The Office. So get the hell out of the house. I do not know of nay door to door job offers or networkers. Plus it is good to be out and meet and talk to other people. You feel less like you have that  dreaded highly contagious unemployment disease. At least that is the way everyone treats you.

If you are reading this then vent in the comment section. Add your two cents! Get it off your chest or just add to it.

Positive attitudes win!

Focus and determination are key.

My attitude when I get rejected is; The jerks don’t know a good thing when it hits them in the face. Oh well their loss not mine. If a company cannot see the talent and skills you provide and what it means for them in a very positive way then they do not deserve someone as great as we are.

Out of Unemployment and savings What now? November 5, 2010

Posted by jvmullin in Job Searching, Job Searching.
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I was and still am trying to get my business going with zero budget. I have asked my friends to help spread the word but they have not done a good job.

I am trying to rely heavily on Social Media to get me noticed and get the word out. But I think most of the people are too self involved to help others.

I have two people who are trying to help me and one is someone who I am still getting to know better and one is someone I just met. But the people who are closest to me ….nothing.

I have helped a number of unemployed people in the WIND group and ask for them to help but again nothing.

I am sure there are those of you out there going through the same thing. You have helped others and now that you need help everyone has seemed to disappear from the radar and immediate vicinity.

Makes you wonder what this word has come to. Being unemployed gives you time to reflect on  what is important to you and who is important to you. To re-evaluate your relationships and friendships.

It is a struggle and you feel so alone.

However, it is not a time to give up. Failure is not an option in my book and you should think about it as your mantra also. I refuse to demean myself no matter how bad it gets because I know who I am and what I am capable of doing and I mean something damn it!

I just haven’t found the company that deserves my talents or the company that has taken the time to recognize them. In this fast pace, take the easiest route world we live in there are a number of highly qualified people that are being overlooked for the dumbest of reasons.

My neighbor came over yesterday with a small care package of food for me. It is nice to know there is still some charity left in the world. It renews my hope and faith in mankind.

I will succeed in my new venture somehow some way as I said failure is not an option for me.

We should ban together and figure out how to fight the fight together for there is safety in numbers as well as strength.

Thee is no weakness in asking for help only strength!

 

Twitter is a good tool! October 22, 2010

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Yes you heard me right I said TWITTER!

Now get over your misconceived notion as to what Twitter is or is not.

You are in Job hunt and every tool that you can use needs to be utilized.

Well guess what Twitter is one of those tools for you to use.

I hear that Sergent guy from the Military Channel and the Geico commercials.

Stop being a sissy and use the damn thing. (In his voice)

Twitter is classified as a microblogging tool. A tool in which to have a conversation in 140 character bursts.

You  have 160 characters for a name that begins with an @symbol. Example I am @evolutioncbl.

If I want to follow a topic or write about a particular topic I use a hashtag (#) example #career search or #Career advice.

Saying something in 140 characters is not that hard.  You would be surprised what you can say in that space.

Let me cover a few other things before we dive into this;

Tweet = what you say in 140 chars or less

@ = the user

# = the topic or subject

RT = retweet we get to this

DM = direct message

Mentions = when somoene else includes you or sends you a Tweet

TweetDeck = an app where you can organize Twitter into coloumns

Follower = people following you

Following = people you are following

PPL = people saves on chars

Chars = characters

w/ = with

Follow = select to follow somone

Unfollow = stop following somone

Block = Means just that block that person from you.

Twitter is a community in social networking so there are rules and etiquette that need to be followed.

You will be new to the community so be nice and on your best behavior. Engage in discussions and add value tweets to the community. Do not immediately jump in and ask for a job or help getting one as you will be shunned by the community. How will you know? Your list of followers will drop like a rock.

Do not talk about what you are doing like eating lunch while I Tweet. The reality is no one cares! Your Tweet needs to have value to it. As I like to Tweet on occasion,”If you do not have intellectual content it is words without power!”.

Think about that statement it says alot about how you should Tweet. A rule of thumb is if you do not have something smart or of value to say then don’t. Just putting out words is called noise and the community does not like noise.

If someone follows you then the respectful thing to do is follow them back. This is how you start your community.

Twitter provides a number of random people to start your community. Check out their profiles and determine if you wan tot keep them or to unfollow them.

For those you keep you can see who follows them or who they follow and build your community.

You can establish when you wan t to Tweet and how much your community will understand.

There is one application that I strongly suggest, TweetsMyJob.com. They wil want access to your Twitter account. It is okay I have used them for 2 years w/out problems. Set up a job alert and the Tweets will come to you and you can get a daily collection at the end of the day emailed to you. How cool is that.

Here a few more;

@careerbuilder

@jobhuntorg

@HeatherEColeman

@Employnet,

@ResumeStrategy

Also go to Search.Twitter.com and you can find more or just sue the search box at the top of your Twitter home page.

Search Brazen Careerist they are on Twitter.

So get started and have fun. You know I am out there usually during the day.

The end of year Holiday season and job hunting October 22, 2010

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Ah Fall in New England, the crisp air, the light breeze, the sunshine. Time to clean the shotgun, renew the permit and go out and hunt some jobs.

I do not recommend nor do I ever condone using the shotgun approach to job hunting no matter how desperate you are.

What I am alluding to is that it is fourth quarter for a number of companies and managers are busy burning through the rest of this years budget and developing next years.

What does that have to do with job hunting? Well it is the time they also have to look at future projects and manpower requirements. Which means they might have to hire some people. Some of that may be from attrition where someone retired or left for a better position.

So this is the time of year to kick your search up a couple of notches and get the networking skills honed to fine edge and land that position.

There should be little at home time this time of year. You should be at every career fair, trade show, professional organization meeting, networking meeting, holiday party, informational meetings you can go to.

If you are at home you should be on LinkedIn researching the company and the people you need to connect with. Making phone calls to set up meetings and providing an agenda for the meeting and sticking to it.

So why are you still reading this get going others are ahead of you on this.

Disclaimer:

No guns were fired or jobs injured during the writing of this post!

Do not forget to laugh and have fun.

Discouraged and despair are taking over? time to reflect! October 4, 2010

Posted by jvmullin in Job Searching, Job Searching.
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This recession, I don’t care what they said on the news to us its still a recession, is lasting far too long. The end doesn’t seem to be in sight for a number of unemployed. More and more jobs and functions are being offshored.

That is the bad news so face it and get on with your life!

Really are you just going to give up?

NO !!!!

It is time to take a day off and clear your mind of all the baggage you have built up in the last year or two.

Start fresh by taking inventory again of all your skills and abilities.

Then get going on researching your industry and what is going on in it. Does it even still exist in your area. You may be chasing a ghost!

Next take a close reflection on your expectations knowing what is going on with companies. Are you being part of the problem with your search? Are your expectations too high or even too low?

Have you lost focus? Have you become so desperate that you can no longer think or see straight?

Are you depressed?

The best part of being an intelligent human being is that you have a brain and you can think logically strategically and calculate things.

SO take out the garbage in your head and get back to doing what you do best…..think!

You are a professional so act like one!

Develop a plan, write procedures that you will follow for every position, plot out a schedule. Reorganize and hit it hard!

Applying for a job is not just sending your resume. If that is all you are doing then there is no hope for you. It takes work and there are too many out there playing the whoa is me card. Well stop it!

There are plenty of resources out there for finding information on companies…use them. Use LinkedIn to search the company and find people to network with while you are waiting for your resume to miraculously bubble up to the to of the black hole.

If I sound harsh and rude it is for a reason. I hate to see talented people not using their talent when it counts the most.

Google the company to see what information comes up. If they are publicly traded then go to the SEC.gov website and read their 10K reports there is a vast sea of information there for you.

Research what companies are left in your area that could use your skills and talents and then target them. Set up an aggressive plan to network your way right to the decision maker. Develop your best this is what I can do for you speech. You r best this is how I can help the company do better speech.  Talk about it in business terms as well as solving problems. Tell how you can save or make time, save or make money and how you can solve problems that relate to the last two statements.

So remember you are a skilled and talented professional. Get focused and organized then write your plan, procedures and schedule, then execute it!

Have faith in your self get out of the house and network.  Ask for help and join a buddy group it will help you be accountable to others.

Career Fairs Great opportunities October 1, 2010

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We all know how Career fairs are run today.

Most of them have some flunky standing behind a table collecting resumes. Others have an low level HR person collecting them who can not tell you much about the company they work for or the position.

While others have hiring managers working the table but why is it they are not the ones that will be hiring you. Such is the realm of career fairs.

Oh one last pet peeve the fairs I have been to lately are great if you want to sell insurance, be a financial advisor, or sell Avon.

So with all this negativism why should go to a job fair?

Because it is a place of opportunity if you know how to work the floor!

The floor???? What are you talking about?

The most important people at the show in my opinion are the job seekers. Yes the job seekers!

These are people who have worked at companies that you may be interested in. These are people who may know someone that works at a company that you are interested in.

These are the people you should be talking to.

I started doing this awhile ago and it works great for a number of reasons.

One it builds your network and it gives you the opportunity to maybe help someone.

You may get the inside skinny on a company that you are interviewing with.

It gives you something to do instead of just standing in line looking at your feet.

It makes the time to get to the table to dump your resume go faster.

If there is by chance a hiring manager at the table you are more open to talking and asking the right questions because you just spent all that time talking to a bunch of strangers.

It makes the fair much more enjoyable.

So how do you do this?

While standing in line turn to the person behind you and say something like what do you do? My favorite ice breaker is “What do you want to be when you grow up?” It usually gets a smile, a chuckle or a laugh but it breaks the barrier immediately.

So after a couple of minutes say excuse me and tap the person in front of you and get them engaged. Then the person behind the person behind you. Then the person in front of the person in front of you. You should know have a 5 person network meeting running.

Oh but you are not done because there are more people in the lines on either side of you so get them engaged in the network meeting also.

As the lines move and people drop out engage more people to keep your mini-networking meeting going.

I have found out some interesting information while conducting these meetings.  While at a Monster.com fair I had a woman who works for Monster come up and give me kudos for starting it.

So do not look at Career Fairs as boring and not worth the trip or effort go have fun and start your own networking event on the floor. Be sure to bring plenty of business cards and practice your pitch.

Social Media and the job search September 13, 2010

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Are you using social media in your job search?

If so which ones are you using?

LinkedIn Twitter Facebook MySpace etc.?

Do you know how to properly use them?

Do you  know the power they can have if you do use them correctly?

I am amazed at how many job seekers do not know the power of LinkedIn or how to use it to their advantage. I have a lecture that I provide on the very topic and the look of amazement that I get and the comments that I get after the lecture are mind boggling to me. But people are are grateful for me providing them the information.

One of the most powerful job alerts that I have found does not come from the job boards. It comes from Twitter. Well not directly, it is called TweetsMyJob and you have to have a Twitter account to use it. You can get it from TweetsMyJob.com.

There are books out there on the subject of using various social media and the job search. Some are good and others just glance over the topics without getting into much detail.

I think the detail is needed as to why you should be using this and how to use it and why it is important to use it correctly.

The one thing about my lecture is can be used for job search and then doing business after you land. It is about the power of networking and how it fits into todays and the future way of doing business.

So which do I use and why should I be using them? Well that is a personal preference as I see it. I can tell you that the top three as of this post are LinkedIn Twitter and Facebook in that order.

HR and recruiters are using these three more and more to find qualified candidates. Why? Because it is cost effective for them and easier to eliminate thousands of unqualified resumes. So shouldn’t you be learning how to use these three?

LinkedIn:

LinkedIn(LI) is a professional networking site for business and people in business. The language used and the discussions should be kept in a professional manner. There is an etiquette to networking and it adds to the power of this site.

Use all the features of LI in a way that adds to your value. How does one do this? Join groups relative to your profession. Select discussions that you are a SME at and provide alot of detail in your discussions. In the answers section you will want to do the same thing. In the books read section it shows that you are keeping your skills current by reading up on books related to those skills and your profession. Do not forget to select recommend, do not recommend or no comment and add your comments about the book. The ease of reading or the difficulty. Why you liked or did not like the book.

Applications that you will find useful. If you have a WordPress Blog you can easily link it to your profile through the WordPress application. You can use Slide Share or  Google Docs to share documents or presentations.

Twitter:

Twitter is not the same as texting to your children on your smartphone. You have the ability to follow who you wish and to control who is following you. You have the ability to connect to people you never thought would be possible.

The advantage of Twitter is that it teaches you how to converse in a 140 characters or less. It teaches you to be brief concise and to the point. Ah! but you will be surprised in just how much you can say in 140 characters.

Twitter is a vast number of communities and like all online communities it takes time for everyone to get comfortable with you and to learn who you are. So how can  you help them? You can help them by retweeting the tweets that you agree with or that you think make a point along with your way of thinking. You can help by ensuring that your Tweets have intellectual content to them.

An example of this would be that if you Tweeted a message that really didn’t have much meaning it sounded like a statement to be making a statement. As a reader you say what does that mean? Does it really mean anything?

I say use intellectual content because without it it is just words for the sake of words. Intellectual content gives your words power and this will attract people to you and they may want to follow you.

Ask questions or start discussion. You will have to learn to use  hashtags (#) for this. You can search subjects using hashtags. Search for people you know or want to connect with.

FaceBook:

This to me is more social than professional but HR and recruiters are using it to find candidates as well. There are business pages that if they are a target company you can like those pages so you can keep up with what is going on.

If you are job seeking you may want to make your profile both family & friends and professional.

So I suggest to job seekers who are not using these or are not using them to there fullest potential to find out how to. As this is where you will be found and your next job may very well come from.

Success can come from some strange places August 19, 2010

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I have a friend Nick Iandolo who is a screenwriter and fellow WIND member.  Nick is a high energy person who is fun to be around as it is contagious for one thing and to watch him shutter trying to release his pent up energy is just fun to watch.

So what does Nick have to do with the topic? Well the story goes like this. Nick wrote a book “Cut the crap and write that damn screen play” , great book go to Amazon and buy it it is worth the read. ANy way in the process of getting his book published he needed a cover.  The cover needed artwork or pictures. Nick gets the crazy idea to enlist his friends in role model playing. I played McKee a pretentious author of book on writing who has you do more writing about writing than actually doing the writing. I hope you followed that because I can’t do that twice.  So we set up outside B Goods at Legacy Place in Dedham, MA, Great burgers and thick strawberry shakes! Anyway we are outside using the patio furniture and I play McKee and Nick jumps in my face screaming the title of his book. The people sitting around us were either amused or in shock it was hard to tell.

Anyway cut to scene two:

Nick lands himself on Money Matters radio. This is cool he can push his book. Yes that is me on the back cover at the top! Anyway Nick promoted the hell out of being on the show.

I do not have an AM antenna on my stereo so I am forced to go online and watch the streaming video and audio.  I realize that they are only focusing on a niche market for the book …screenwriters. Wait! I have read the book and I am not a screenwriter the book is for everyone. So I do the right thing. I call into the show to tell them this!.

Nick the host and I have a good laugh when I reveal that it is I on the back of the book. I tell her that Nick’s book has inspired me, a business person, to write my first book. My book will be title LinkedIn screwdriver or power tool?

Scene Three:

I get invited to do a show, Ah! Networking at its finest! So I go and do my show and push my new business Evolution Career Business Leadership. I get a mention in of my branding statement; “You train dogs you coach athletes We develop people!” Denis Vaughan was a great host and made the show very fun.

Is that it???? You got your own time on the show. How melodramatic for this topic.

Ah but here is scene 4: Fade in!

They sent me the wrong audio files. So in trying to get the right files I receive an email from the station that the Program Manager liked my “On Air” presence and wants to talk to me about further shows.

I have an appointment Monday so I will have to add a comment as to the conclusion of this.

But if you look at the sequence of events you can see that you never know where your success will come from.

From a crazy friend having a crazy idea for a book cover to getting on radio.

Always keep your options open you never know where they may lead you.

My comment could be that I am just going to do a series of shows or it could be that I get my own show. Whatever the outcome it has been a wild ride getting there. I am enjoying the ride while it last.

What ride is coming your way or is starting to brew for you?

Reality check time! August 14, 2010

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The stock market was down again for the fourth day in row Wednesday. The great recession continues. National unemployment is still over 10% despite what the media quotes.

So what is the reality check your preaching to the choir!

Here is the check!

If you are still devoting a lot of time to job boards then you will be out of work for a longer period.

If you are not getting out of the house and networking you will be out of work for a longer time.

If you are not using social media (LinkedIn Twitter Facebook) effectively you will be out of work a long time.

If you have lost your focus and drive for what you want to do then you will be out of work along time.

If you are using the shot gun approach well good luck to you.

REALITY CHECK!

Learn what the hidden job market is! Research make a list of target companies and then form your strategy, your game plan to land a position there. It take work and determination.

If you want the job and you want to work there, then do the work. The pay off is better than sitting there reading this.

If you have or others around have convinced you that you will never get another job doing what you have been doing, then what?

What is your passion? Is there a market for it? Can you develop a business plan for it?  Well then just do it! You will probably be happier doing what you have a passion for and working for yourself. Then if it takes off you can hire other people to help you.

As Nike says Just Do it!

Show this to spouses family and friends! July 19, 2010

Posted by jvmullin in Job Searching, Job Searching.
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Dear, Spouses family and friends;

This article is for you to read and to understand. Please read it with an open mind. If you are not one of the people doing this I commend you. If you are I am begging you to stop!

We are in the worst recession we have probably seen in our life times. Except those that lived during the depression.

Unemployment has lasted longer than any of us wanted to or expected it to. There is rampant age discrimination not just for the older work force but for new grads as well. There is Congress playing politics with our lives on the extension of benefits. This is leading to job seekers loosing hope loosing focus and becoming desperate. Suffering from depression, loosing self esteem, and fear is encroaching on us as I speak. Yes fear! Fear that we will never get back the job we had, fear that we can’t do the job anymore, fear that no one will hire us. Fear that we will loose our families a our homes. Fear that we will be dirt poor and homeless.

I am divorced but my divorce is not a product of this recession but the last one. Why? A number of reasons but the ones that go with tis topic are; lack of understanding what was going on in my industry, inability to support me(nagging and constant pressure really isn’t support people it makes it worse), inability to even phathom what it takes to get a job(in this recession that has become 20 times worse than the last one), unwillingness to support the family by going back to work(which at the time was easier for her than it was for me to find a job).

I know and they know that you have the same fears and concerns. If you are a spouse I suggest you go back and read the vows and if you do not fully comprehend them go to a church and ask. I wish my ex had because she ignored them all.  If you are a friend shunning them because they are out of work doesn’t help. They are not diseased! It isn’t contagious. They need to you to break up the stress. So help out. See if you can find leads for them and share it with them. Sit down and really learn what they are looking for so that you can recommend them to someone else who might have an opportunity open for them.

The best way to land a job is networking. If your spouse and friends are out networking for you also it helps better the chance of finding that opportunity.

Families I know that you are under stress because of this please do not pass that stress on to your loved one. If you c cannot help that is okay you do not have to feel guilty but please do not make them feel guilty either by being out of work at this time. It really wasn’t their fault.  A high number of highly qualified candidates are out work. They cannot find work because companies have a younger and cheaper mentality right now.

I read an article just the other day that says even CEOs who have lost their jobs cannot find new jobs. There is a hidden justice in there somewhere.

So if you want to be supportive then help do not nag. They know full well they need to find a job. They need to stay laser focused on finding that job. You need to be understanding of this and to help them stay focused. Encourage them about their skill set they used when they worked and how that will help them find the job they want.  If they loose focus now and take the shotgun approach they will be unemployed even longer or if they find a job will be underemployed and everyone will be miserable.

So encourage them to get out of the house and network. Encourage them to network with other unemployed people at career fairs. Encourage them to attend professional organization meeting to keep their skills up and to network. If you are good at it check over the grammar in their cover letters and resumes. Think before saying anything, if it sounds positive then say it if it sounds negative then don’t.  Ask how is it going in an inquisitive manner unlike the Spanish inquisition.

The job seeker needs to stay informed, focused, determined, networking and loved.

We can only ask for understanding a real support.  If you are a spouse then make love to your partner just because you love them it will help their self esteem and your relationship survive this.