Increasingly more job seekers are coming to understand me when I say the hardest part of being unemployed is the emotional drain. Some even tell me they’ve never felt worse in their life.
Sure, money is an issue, but it’s the fear, uncertainty, anger, and despair that affect people the most. There are also the feelings of alienation and the need for support.
When I was out of work 12 years ago, I found a few people with whom I could surround myself in order to make my job search bearable. These people helped me deal with the highs and lows of the job search.
Here are five people you should have on your side when you’re out of work and looking for a new opportunity:
1. Positive People
You know the type I’m referring to. They wear smiles on their faces most of the time, and they always speak positively about people and situations. They’re not downers, and they refuse to let you dwell on your problems.
People like this exude contagious positivity. They make it possible for you to forget your negative thoughts for a moment. That moment can be enough for you to realize that your unemployment will be temporary.
2. People Who Give Great Advice
For free professional career advice, your best bet is your nearest one-stop career center. You can also head to your alma mater’s alumni career center, although not all universities provide this service. There are, however, public career centers throughout the US, and they are free. Do a little research to find one in your area.
Another option is to look for networking groups in your area. The area in which I live offers networking groups that meet every day of the week. It’s important that you find people who are knowledgeable about the job search.
Take it a step further by attending meetings of professional associations. Many of the members will be currently employed, and they can often provide great advice. They might even know about job opportunities for you. All you need to do is Google “professional association,” your occupation, and location. For example: “professional association AND marketing AND Boston.”
3. People Who Believe in You
At this point, you might feel that no one believes in you. This isn’t the case. You can’t discount family members, friends, neighbors, former colleagues, past bosses, etc. These are people who will assure you with words as simple as, “You can do it, Bob,” or “I have faith in you.” You can tell by their tone if they’re sincere. I, for one, can’t lie to save my life; so when I say these words, I mean them.
The ultimate sign of people believing in you is when they are willing to deliver your resume to someone in a company, or when they agree to be a reference, or when they recommend you directly for a job.
4. Non-Judgmental People
Non-judgmental people will not put you down because of your situation. If you were laid off due to your previous company’s poor performance, they will not insinuate that you could have prevented it. If you were let go, they won’t blame you when the reason was a conflict of personality between you and your manager. I tell my job seekers that there are bad bosses who have an agenda, and no matter how hard my job seekers try, they can’t make it right.
Non-judgmental people are empathetic because they’ve made mistakes of their own. To me, they demonstrate emotional intelligence and can be great sources of comfort.
5. People Who Want to Have Fun
One way to take your mind off your problems is by enjoying a laugh or two with friends or relatives.
I’m sure you’ve had the experience of being among friends and recalling hilarious memories that have you in stitches. When the laughter ceases and you return to the reality of your unemployment, they take notice. They give you a punch in the arm and tell you to snap out of it. And you do, because your friends won’t let you dwell on what you can’t change at that moment.
You must remember that there are people like your friends or family who are counting on you to be yourself. Don’t drag them down with you. They believe in you, and they are confident that you’ll bounce back.
If you’re unemployed, seek out people who have one or more of the traits highlighted above. They’ll keep you positive, give you sound advice, and help you advance through your job search in high spirits.
A version of this article originally appeared on Things Career Related.
Bob McIntosh, CPRW, is a career trainer who leads more than 15 job search workshops at an urban career center.