What’s next: Job search burnout


December 6, 2022 by Kenneth Fisher

I was given 4.5 months notice this past June and was fortunate to find a new job. I blogged about my job search and the lessons I learned along the way (update 2, update 3, update 4) but unsurprisingly I still have more to say!

A few months in I was discussing my job search with some friends and commented that burnout is very possible with a job search. In fact, I’d say it’s very probable if your search drags on even a little bit. I’ve always said that finding a job is a job in and of itself and it’s one with some special extra stresses. In this case, I was not only spending time looking for a job but I was working at the job that had let me go. No matter how understanding they were (and they were very understanding) it’s still a lot. On top of that, there is the ongoing stress of am I going to find a job before I run out of savings, Everyone I’ve talked to say’s I’ll be perfect for this job or that but none of them want to interview me, what am I doing wrong?!?, I’ve had several interviews but no one is interested, what am I doing wrong?!? and so on. It’s very easy to start questioning yourself and your skills.

So what can you do? Well, there are lots of articles about burnout in general and I recommend reading them. Personally, I was fortunate that I still had time, so I started by taking a few days off (a weekend as it happens), then I took some time to regroup. What had I been doing? What did I feel was missing? What was/wasn’t working? You might ask a friend to help with this. It can be hard to judge for yourself sometimes. Then I made a new plan and started working toward it. Sadly, because of that pesky needing to pay bills thing, I didn’t feel comfortable taking more than that couple of days off and you may not either, but it did help. And just that act of refocusing and building a new plan seemed to help me quite a bit.

5 thoughts on “What’s next: Job search burnout

  1. Try contracting and having to find a new gig regularly every 6 months or so. It can be tough handling rejection but , like the bus, 3 offers can arrive at once. Then the plate spinning starts…

  2. Ramesh Chirumamilla says:

    I personally believe there is no end to it as long as we work for someone else and if that is our family’s main source of income. We get paid only when we work. Starting a consulting business while working full time or finding ways that will constantly generate income will relieve us all from this burnout feeling. First few years will be tough for sure. I do not recommend anyone to take up a job that needs all 10 hours of your time in a day. Take an easy one that can pay you decent amount to cover up expenses and build your own if something that has a potential to generate continuous income with minimal or no supervision. Always having multiple streams of income is key which will give us all a very peaceful retirement experience and won’t be a burden to next generation. Just my thoughts

    • The thing about a consulting business is that you are constantly looking for work. You are still working for someone else just at a different level. Like with all burnout it’s very individual. Some people find consulting easier, some find working for a company easier. And of course the easier you find something the less likely you are to burnout at it.

  3. AD says:

    I appreciate all of the sentiments you express in this series. I’ve been in a similar situation before – having an exit date with a severance for staying – and it does present a specific timing challenge.

    I also recently found myself in a pretty traditional “fed up with current employer” job search, and I will say it was exhausting. I made it through multiple rounds (up to 6!) only to find I didn’t get the job. (I eventually connected, I’m happily at my new job.)

    One particularly frustrating scenario – I was presented with a coding test for a fairly esoteric tool that nobody warned me about. When I told the interviewer I didn’t know that scripting language, she replied, “this is all I work on.” (It was a very awkward hour.)

    Two things I did to help maintain my sanity: 1) did all job search related work after 4pm, to minimize feeling overwhelmed. 2) said no to a lot of things earlier on.

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