๐Ÿ˜ฅ You’re Not Alone If You Think of Suicide On Your Job Search

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

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 โ€œthis is the way my life is nowโ€. 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.

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 โ€“ 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.

View Comments

  • 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?

  • 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 !

  • 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.

  • 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.

    • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

    • 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

  • 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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

    • 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.

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Jacob Share

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