Who Said We Were Giving Up?

I recently read an article that claimed the unemployment rate is staying below 10 percent because we unemployed people have just packed it up and called it quits.

And according to the statistics, maybe this is a little bit true.

"About 1.7 million Americans opted out of the workforce from July through December, representing a 1.1 percent drop that marks the biggest six-month decrease since 1961, the Labor Department report showed. The share of the population in the labor force last month fell to the lowest level in 24 years."

Have you given up looking for a job because it seems useless, there's nothing available, and you've already been turned down countless times?

I know it's difficult. There are far less jobs than there used to be, and for lower pay. But we can't give up. If it seems like you've tried everything (and maybe you have), what about the following?

Apply for a temporary job. If you're good with paperwork or numbers, look into helping out at an accounting firm (this is their busy time), or applying for a census job. There may be a business in need of your skills that doesn't even know it, so look around. Whatever you aim for, if someone takes you up on your offer, do it. Even if it's just for a day, once they know you, you're already ahead of the rest of the potential applicants.

• Send around another slew of emails or make phone calls to everyone you know who might be in a position to help you get a job. And work those contacts. I know a fellow who followed up on every networking connection he thought he had, until his mom said, "Why haven't you called the contact I gave you?" When he did, he got the job. Moms are good like that.

Volunteer in a field or for an organization that interests you. It's good to get out of the house, helps you connect to people, helps you help others, and down the road, who knows-you just might get hired.

• Take a class, or classes. What about enrolling in a program to learn something you always wanted to know but didn't think you had time for? A computer class, nursing program, library science ... classes, and related careers, abound. If you don't have the cash, see if you can audit the course or even work at the school for a discount.

• Think outside the career box. Maybe you've always been a journalist, but what else do you like? Gardening, or yoga, or knowing everything and anything about wine? All of those have related job opportunities that may not be as crowded as your former field. Explore. The rules for careers have changed, and it helps to be open.

Whatever you do, don't give up. Take a deep breath, maybe take a day or two, even a week, off of job searching, and then get right back in the saddle. We may have lost our jobs, but we're not quitters!

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