It’s become an internet meme that January was the longest year ever. We anticipated the start of 2020 with high hopes and dreams. It would be a new year and a new decade—a fresh chance to start all over again. This was supposed to be a milestone to motivate you to become the person you have always wanted to be and focus on fast tracking your career.
The new year started and reality hit hard. The aura of excitement and expectations was quickly shattered. In rapid-fire succession, we have witnessed tensions escalating between America and Iran (nearly igniting World War III), unrelenting political strife (including the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump and the failed Iowa Caucus), fires engulfing Australia, concerns over the climate, the rapidly spreading coronavirus and the tragic passing of beloved Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter and the other passengers in a helicopter crash. These events have changed the collective mood from ebullient to horrified.
The upside is that sometimes tragedies bring people closer together. It also makes us appreciate our loved ones, family and friends. It heightens our awareness of the fragility of life and that we should never take it for granted, as our time could end at any moment. It doesn’t, unfortunately, negate the fear and angst that permeates our daily lives.
Difficult world events impact the economy and the job market. In addition to the big-picture crises we are confronting, if you find yourself out of work or stuck in a bad job and desperately trying to get out, it makes matters worse. There’s a cloud of doom and gloom hanging over you.
It’s easy to start feeling down and dejected. You read the headlines and watch cable news saying that it’s a record-high rate of employment and the lowest unemployment in 50 years. Meanwhile, you are in between jobs and can’t even seem to get an interview. You feel that your family and friends are looking at you funny. Some of them will ask why you’re having difficulties when the economy is so great. Sheepishly, you retreat from social events to avoid these awkward conversations. As time goes on, you stop sending out résumés, as you feel it’s just going to a résumé black hole. Calls from colleagues and acquaintances subside, as they grow tired of hearing you complain.