It’s been 7 months since my job ended, and some days I am optimistic and some days I am afraid. When I taught job-search workshops there would be people who would say I’ll take any job. They didn’t necessarily mean it once we probed a little further, but I wondered what drives us to say things like that. While walking around Lake Harriet today, it hit me. People say they’ll take any job because deep down inside there is the human need to contribute to society. My best days are the ones in which I have something productive to do. My workshop attendees felt better when they were actively participating in society. That’s why those of us in the career counseling field recommend volunteering or working part-time in something that interests the client or gives new skills.

There’s only so many household projects that a person can do. After that all of us search for something to fill that need to contribute to the larger world. We might walk our neighborhoods picking up trash and recyclables that were previously hidden under winter’s cover. We might check on a neighbor who lives alone to offer companionship or help with household needs. Whatever the case, I recommend finding an activity that gives personal meaning, not just a source of busy work.

I wish positive energy toward my fellow job seekers.