You're not alone because many others think of it, and you're not alone because many others will help you avoid it.

You're Not Alone If You Think of Suicide On Your Job Search
Photo by Ben White

This is something I've meant to blog about for a while.

I wasn't sure it would come across properly, but if this helps even one job seeker considering suicide, it's worth it. I regret not having done it sooner.

Back in 2006, after my previous employer decided to outsource my entire team's work, I was living in Paris, France, and trying to find a job in Israel when I had the idea to start JobMob as a way to learn about blogging by blogging about that job search.

I did ultimately find a job in Israel and we moved from Paris in 2007, but I kept blogging because I discovered that I really enjoyed helping other job seekers like you.

There were also more selfish reasons.

Among them, I thought that by learning more about job search as I blogged, I could protect myself from ever feeling job search depression again like I had back in 2002.

Free bonus: Download The Job Search Depression Report which contains insights and resources on how to manage if you're too depressed to look for work.

Looking back at it now, my job search depression was relatively light compared to so many stories I've seen since then, but that rough period of life really surprised me and made me realize that your career is no joke and your life can literally depend on it.

I never considered suicide. However, the tough time brought back memories of two cute little boys I used to babysit as a teenager. They lived in a nice neighborhood, in a nice house, and their parents had nice cars who would go out often and to good restaurants around town.

All until their father was let go from his white collar job. This led to a noticeable change in the house, even in the eyes of a soon-to-be former babysitter.

Then one busy morning during rush hour, the father walked in front of a subway train.

I was reminded of this story again when a JobMob reader emailed me for advice, saying:

My situation stinks and I have contemplated suicide. I often find myself alone and depressed with no optimism for my future. I feel like a wounded soldier in battle who has been left to die in the trenches, after broken promises.

Absolutely heart-wrenching.

And not uncommon. Many job seekers reach this low point:

And many, many job seekers go all the way with it:

Unemployment over the period 2000 to 2011 was responsible for 45,000 [deaths], an analysis in the journal Lancet Psychiatry has found.

The authors say their findings suggest that suicide prevention strategies need to target those who lose their jobs even in countries unaffected by recession. They found the suicide risk among the unemployed was stronger where more people were in work and the situation of the jobless was therefore more unusual.

My response to the JobMob reader began this way:

Please don't commit suicide! It's a permanent solution to a short-term problem*, and I'm not glossing over it: I've been depressed myself and I know that it feels like “this is the way my life is now”. It's not. Seek help. At the very least, call a national suicide hotline asap

(* a line I've heard Philip DeFranco say)

If you're feeling this down or know someone who is, please, PLEASE, follow this advice.

Here's a list that should help.

If you've ever considered suicide for job-related reasons, were you:


Suicide prevention hotlines around the world

๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ Australia

Suicide Prevention Australia

Call: 13 11 14 or 1300 659 467

๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Canada

Crisis Services Canada

Call: 1-833-456-4566

๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ณ India

OneLife

Call: 78930 78930

๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ฑ Israel

ERAN (I've blogged about them in the past)

Call: 1201

๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ญ Philippines

Natasha Goulbourn Foundation

Call: (02) 804-HOPE (4673) or 0917 558 HOPE (4673)

๐Ÿ‡ฟ๐Ÿ‡ฆ South Africa

Lifeline

Call: 0861 322 322

๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง UK

Samaritans

Call: 116 123 (UK) or 116 123 (ROI)

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ USA

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Call: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

What others are saying

Question of the article

What would you have said to the JobMob reader thinking of suicide, in my place? Tell us in the comments.

Unemployment Rant – Can't find a job ANYWHERE doing ANYTHING since 2009!!! (STILL jobless into 2014) [he found a job in 2015]

Subscribe to JobMob via email and follow me on Twitter for more lifesaving job search help.

Jacob Share

Job Search Expert, Professional Blogger, Creative Thinker, Community Builder with a sense of humor. I like to help people.

This Post Has 31 Comments

  1. Kurt Kirton

    Thanks to the link to my blog article. I just linked this one back. –Kurt Kirton

  2. Mimi

    This article is pointless. You call the hotline, they attempt to hospital you, and then they sattle you with 3k in hospital bills for “saving your Life.” All while humiliating you. I’ve learned the hard way. If you want to die, you tell no one. You just one day disappear from everyone’s lives and hope they forgive you for your choice.

    1. Jacob Share

      That sounds horrible, adding insult to injury, and I’m sorry you had to go through it.

      It’s no help for you, but for countries with public health care such as Canada or the UK, it may be the same process and result except for the hospital bills at the end.

    2. AB

      I agree. For many, the suicide hotlines don’t solve the problems driving them to suicide. If someone is suicidal because they’re unemployed, they’ve run out of money (burned through their savings trying to stay alive while seeking work), are about to face homelessness, maybe they’re older and they’re facing one of the last unofficially sanctioned discriminations–ageism…, the last thing they need is forced hospitalization (which is an independent risk factor FOR suicide) that comes with a giant bill they can’t afford. Meanwhile, they get out of involuntary commitment only to face the same problems of no job, no money, and possibly now no home. But it’s FAR easier to throw a suicide hotline number at someone than to solve the systematic problems research has consistently revealed precipitate depression and suicide. (Not a slight against this blog’s author, but instead a general societal criticism.)

      Google suicide hotlines’ effectiveness and you’ll read many reports by callers who argue the hotlines were either no help OR made things worse.

      1. Jacob Share

        That sounds terrible, taking advantage of someone while they’re already down.

        I haven’t tested any of the organizations mentioned but I did speak to people at ERAN here in Israel back when I blogged about them, and the word “hospitalization” didn’t even come up. Then again, suicide prevention is only one aspect of what they do.

        1. Howard lim

          Just let them die. Provide painless death for us & please stop preventing us from commiting suicide. Are you going support them with money? No. The suicide hotline is obviously useless, their main problem is money. Are they going give them a job? No. Are you going tell them to live in wilderness and teach them hunting to survive? The solution is so simple yet impossible to acheive. Just let us die please stop preventing us from taking our own life.

  3. Guy from nowhere.

    I’m about at this point. I just left the paper business as a reporter because I was making 12 an hour in an awful town with no room for growth. I couldn’t afford insurance or my student loans. I’ve been unemployed since May save for a part time internship that can’t hire me full time and a late night job as a bouncer for 10 an hour. I have a bachelor’s degree. I’ve applied nearly 300 plus places in all sorts of fields and still nothing. I can’t even get a job in town splitting firewood. I just called a crisis hotline because I’m seriously considering blowing my brains out. I’m only 24, but it feels like it’s already over. How am I supposed to get anywhere if I can’t even get my foot in the door? The only thing that stops me is the thought if my family’s pain, but I’m starting to think that they’re better off with me gone.

    1. Jacob Share

      They won’t be better off! They’ll miss you for the rest of their lives, and they’ll blame themselves for not doing more to help you in your time of need. Many, many people go through such hardships but only a few have the courage to speak out about it, which is a first step. Good for you!

      You have skills that employers need. It’s just a question of finding the right employer and having enough confidence that they’ll take a chance on you.

      Look back on your successes. How did you get that job as a reporter? Compile a work portfolio of your best work. Among other things, reporters need to be skilled in research and communications, written or otherwise. Just having those two skills qualifies you for many kinds of jobs you can find online, such as being a virtual assistant, content writer, researcher and more. So many companies are trying to get newspapers and websites to talk about them (PR) but have no idea how to approach those sites, maybe you could advise them. And there’s nothing from stopping you from doing all of the above from the comfort of your laptop or even smartphone. Gauge demand by calling around town and checking local job boards, and focus by starting where there’s the most demand.

      You can do this! ๐Ÿ’ฏ

  4. JC

    I am planning on suicide. I have a 9mm pistol with 1 bullet for my head loaded and its sitting on my nightstand. umemployed almost 2 months, can’t take this and losing it. I plan to blow my skull in pieces

    1. Jacob Share

      Please seek help via one of the phone numbers listed above. You need someone to talk to.

  5. AB

    Sorry in advance for the long post. I want to share my story because I know there are MANY others out there like me but who are too ashamed or defeated to share.

    I thought I’d done all the right things. I worked very hard for three Ivy League science degrees. Before finishing my last program, I became the caretaker of a dying single parent. To fill that role even after finishing a PhD, I accepted low pay no-advancement positions that allowed me the luxury of being my mother’s caretaker while providing us a home. Once my mother died, it was as if I were a high school delinquent and drop-out. I couldn’t get anything besides near-minimum wage gigs despite applying EVERYWHERE.

    I opened my own business and worked 70+ hours/week for a decade. Then the competition of cheap online business (providing more “affordable” services than what I as a solo-practitioner could) put me out of business. I’d been applying for regular work for the final two years of my small business and gotten nowhere. I was in my late 30’s by then. So I invested the (too) little money I’d saved in a business with a partner. I hired attorneys to draw up the appropriate contracts and make an official company registered with the state and federal governments. Less than a year in, my business partner defrauded me and the company of MY entire life’s savings. Despite the accounting, banking, and legal evidence I had, my state attorney general office told me they didn’t care and wouldn’t pursue matters criminally. I won a civil case but, of course, had no way to collect from someone who just evaded me and refused even to show up in court. But the IRS still demanded I pay BOTH the full share of business taxes despite my having been defrauded of the entire business.

    Now, a few years later, I’ve run out of my savings. I have about $300 left in the bank. I have no kids and am a single guy. The state, therefore, deems me ineligible for aid. And since I’m nearing 50, no place–NOWHERE–wants to hire me. I’ve even applied to min-wage medical technician positions advertised as “entry level.” I’ve applied for personal care assistant posts. Nada. I’m happy to retrain in a trade… but the cost of surviving WHILE I retrain, even if I could somehow get a loan for the training education, is prohibitive.

    It’s infuriating reading the platitudes and unhelpful “get help” or “do X” comments in reply–things I’ve likely already tried dozens of times. I am not alone in my situation. I’ve published statistical reports on growing unemployment among US PhD science, engineering, computer tech grads. The data is out there that argues very strongly what the causes behind much of suicide are, but no one with the power to make changes cares. Yet we pretend to care about suicide, despite not effectively addressing many of the statistical drivers of suicide. Talk is cheap.

    I’ve been unsuccessfully trying to get a state job. The bureaucracy is unbelievable. Bid forms. Multiple applications for each availability in each different city. Instructions to use online application systems the state itself admits are broken but refuses to fix…

    And I’m too old now to get hired as an online language teacher–I’ve tried, even spending $2K I can’t afford for TEFL certification (in class, Chicago, IL). The right kind of face is more important than certification, teaching experience, and degrees. Company recruiters have themselves confirmed this. Nothing has panned out. I’m at the end. If I cannot find a job before Christmas, I will have to commit suicide because I have no more resources. I don’t need a hotline. I don’t need fast, hollow advice. I need a job that provides a smidgen of security and enough cash to pay my bills.

    1. Jacob Share

      Not many people can pull off three Ivy League science degrees, let alone one. You clearly have valuable skills that are needed and we just need to find you the right employer.

      But first, in the immediate term, you need to survive and get a confidence boost.

      Is there a family member, friend or somewhere you can live so that you can just focus on getting a job while having minimal costs to worry about?

      Have you tried menial, part-time gigs such as via Wonolo or Taskrabbit as way to get some revenue while you continue to look for a career job?

      YOU CAN DO THIS.

      1. Eli Granit

        I’m amazed by your good will, fighting to help anyone you can. I wish you the best

        1. Jacob Share

          I appreciate your appreciation, Eli. Best to you as well

  6. Kate

    Look, I will say what no one else here seems to have the guts to say. Sometimes suicide really IS the solution. Iโ€™m 10 years severely underemployed. I canโ€™t afford my insulin. Iโ€™m going to die. I average 500 job applications per year. I occasionally get interviews that seem promising, but itโ€™s really just a joke. I work FOUR jobs. I have ZERO benefits from any of them. If I miss a single day at any of my FOUR jobs, I canโ€™t pay basic necessities. So yeah, suicide IS the best option for me and it might be for you as well.

    1. Jacob Share

      Kate,
      I understand that you’re miserable, and I’m sorry to hear it. I wish you had left a real email address so that I could reach out to you directly. If you see this reply, tell me how I can reach you.

      1. Jake chin

        You cant help us. The longer i m unemployed the more i cry when people says UBI cannot work, it will make people lazy. I don’t understand why people can earn a high salary when there people who don’t have a home or a job. Worst is when the jobless have no exprience. I am sure the people who earn 5 figure got there through hard work and they dun even want a pay cut. Sure hiher pay mean more difficulties. Yup the jobless are having simple and easy life.

  7. MM

    im 57 years and had worked in the IT industry , lost my last fulltime job 21/2 years ago. I live in New york , since then Ive only been able to find short term contract jobs that only last 6 months tops. Now i’m unemployd again and going bat shit crazy .. i struggle not to commit suicide everday !

    1. Jacob Share

      Hey MM,
      What’s your main expertise in IT? How have you been looking for a job?

  8. A Non E Moose

    I am a dead man walking. Laid off in November, can’t find a job though get interviews. Everyone wants to pay minimum wage for someone with 15 years of varied IT experience. I’ve done Linkedin, I’ve done indeed, I’ve done all of the online sites I’ve contacted all of my recruiting agents. Hell I’ve even applied for jobs paying half what I used to make. Much like Kate I’m a type 1 diabetic. I have a 6 month supply of insulin and once that runs out I will die (miserably) within 2-3 months. I can’t afford to go to walmart and use the old style insulin (that people who have not an effing clue in the differences know how they work.) Temp jobs will cut into my unemployment check with no promise of enough to pay my bills. Oh and my unemployment is about to run out so no idea how I’ll keep the lights and internet on so I can apply for more jobs.

    “Just get a part time McDonald’s job” BRILLIANT! WHY DIDN’T I THINK OF THAT? Except at minimum wage of 7.25 an hour I will have to work 170 hours a week to be able to pay even my minimum bills and that’s not including the extra 4,000 a month I’ll need for my medical supplies. (Hint there are only 168 hours in a week.)

    No one gives a shit, the people who want to help can’t afford to help (and I don’t blame them) but they are trying. I’m going to be homeless at the end of the month and living out of the back of my s10 truck. People give wonderfilled lines of “oh talk to someone they will help you” but in America since we are run by the pharmaceutical, medical, and insurance industries that would basically not be of any help. I’ve applied to several hundred jobs in multiple cities, I’ve talked to people and no one wants to hire a 42 year old IT guy “because he’s too old and doesn’t know technology X.” Tell ya what kiddos I’ve forgotten more IT stuff than most of you kids will ever learn and I can learn new things if given the week it’d take to learn it.

    “oh go and volunteer somewhere and network” except it’s been proven multiple times that networking doesn’t really do much of anything. So why inflict myself with the social anxiety of going out and meeting people who won’t remember me when they sober up? It’s bad enough to have to battle the social anxiety going to work daily and doing interviews regularly much less going to “networking parties” where people get drunk while I don’t drink.

    So what’s the point again? I mean sure I can keep trying to find something to keep myself alive and hate my life or I can just call it a day and let someone else have the job they were going to get anyways?

    1. Jacob Share

      You’re in a tough spot, no question about it.

      While volunteering and other kinds of networking are good ideas, in general, they’re long-term plays. You need some immediate help. Unless you can volunteer a few hours weekly in a capacity that uses your most valuable work skills – which would makes sense to help rebuild your confidence – your focus should be on other things.

      Your first priority absolutely should be your health (which should always be the case!) but a 6-month stock of insulin gives you some time… albeit not much.

      Your second priority should be to find a way to lower your bills because it’s unrealistic to think that a full-time job will land in your lap tomorrow (recruitment processes take time) and a temp job doesn’t make sense as you explained. Can you temporarily move in with a family member somewhere else in the country?

      Next, take stock of your skills. Where in the country is there the most demand for people like you? Or, if you can work remotely, which industries around the world need people like you? You don’t need to be an expert on the latest tech because most companies aren’t using them anyway, and there are definitely employers out there who need people like you RIGHT NOW but don’t know how to find you, so you need to help them.

      Browse the top job boards to gauge demand and confirm which of skills are most valuable:

      https://jobmob.co.il/blog/top-job-boards/

      Don’t send out hundreds of applications! It will just lead to more frustration. Instead, FOCUS. If you need an employer who can provide health insurance (for example), look for them. Only apply to places where the position has been open for a while (job boards will often show the posting date), they may be more desperate to hire. Use LinkedIn to get inspiration by searching for people with your most valuable skills and ask them how they found their jobs, especially if they’re local or work & live in a place you’d be willing to move to.

      Don’t give up! You can do this.

  9. G.M.

    I’m tired. I am 57 and got laid off in May of 2015. I found a job a year later and got laid off again. I’ve maintained a few temp jobs, “gigs,” since then, have no health insurance, live in a relative’s backyard shed, and sleep a few nights a week elsewhere in my car so I don’t wear out my shed welcome. I’ve burned through all my savings, sold possessions, and I’m tired. Too many years of “follow your bliss,” “what color is your parachute,” “do what you love,” and their opposite, “work hard and save,” “get an education,” “be versatile and job nimble,” “re-invent yourself,” were nothing but foolishness. There is no real purpose and it’s time to go soon. I wish I lived in a country that had euthanasia clinics for the uneeded people. I’m tired.

    1. Jacob Share

      It sounds exhausting, and it’s impressive how you’ve pushed through and endured these past 5 years. Great mental toughness but I understand you, it can only go on for so long.

      In the short-term, could you do one of those many delivery jobs that are opening up across the country right now? There’s certainly no shame in it, rather the opposite, like helping out a national war effort. At least you could then pay the bills and, with some income stability and renewed confidence, rethink what would the best career move next.

      1. Mark Solomon

        I was laid off from a six figure job in early February. No reason other than cost cutting. I am getting free lance work and I am on COBRA. However, every day is brutal. I am 63.6 and never thought I’d have to fight and claw for money at this point.

        On top of that, I tore up my quad tendon in a fall and needed surgery and rehab.

        Now here’s the thing. I have avout $2M in assets and will have SS if I want it now, and 2 pensions in 17 months. Everyone tells me I will do fine. But I don’t believe them..I feel like I will lose everything. Mainly because my mother got a good amount of money from my dad’s will, blew threw it all and died broke with me (an only child) having to support her.

        I’ve never been laid off, and I find it brutal from a financial and psychological standpoint. My girlfriend thinks I am irrational. I am sure I am. But I cant stop feeling this way.

        1. Jacob Share

          It’s the anxiety of uncertainty. It really can be brutal. It does sound like you’re better placed than most to weather the storm, but I know that hearing that isn’t really helpful right now, similar to telling someone in mourning that “you’ll feel better in time.” It may be true, but it’s not what you need to hear. It also adds insult to injury when you feel that you’re not being taken seriously.

          Of course, many people suffer from anxiety, and many start to suffer during tough times like COVID19, the 2008 financial crisis, etc. Have you dealt with it in the past?

  10. Anonymous

    At 22 I had a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, work experience, volunteer experience and a great work ethic with drive. One year later and I’m still stuck in my minimum wage-paying retail job which I find soul-destroying. All I do in my spare time – even on my unpaid 30 minute breaks – is apply for jobs. I can’t even get internships let alone anything else. No one ever gives proper feedback and I feel less and less worthy by the day, truly considering ending it all because I don’t see the point in trying anymore.

    1. Jacob Share

      First, stop applying for so many jobs.

      Second: do you have a work portfolio? If not, go make one. It’s a great confidence builder, and a great excuse to contact past employers for relevant information to include in the portfolio, while giving them a chance to mention any job leads without you having to beg for any. If you do have a work portfolio, review it and reach out to the people who were part of your past successes, to ask them for job leads or ideas about career directions you haven’t considered.

      Third: Research demand for your skillset, anywhere in the world, as right now most people are working remotely anyway.

      Fourth: If you can find demand for your skills locally, start researching which companies you’d like to work for, and find 3-5.

      Finally: apply to the companies on your shortlist, making your application as targeted as possible to them so they can feel through your words how excited you are to work with them. Everyone loves passion.

      Good luck!

  11. Larry Staley

    No not considering suicide. However, seriously, when I do eventually pass away, truly on my tombstone would like the following etched “All Larry ever strove for, worked for in life, was a decent job” !

    1. Jacob Share

      What was the best job you’ve had? What would it take to get another one like it?

  12. Cmon

    Horribly-written, pointless article. Thanks for nothing.

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