Job hunting? I have an idea

If you want a new job in the New Year, well, the New Year is here. Plus, 7 other things worth a click.

New Year's Day was last Wednesday, but I think today is the first, real, consensus workday of the decade.

If you're job-hunting, it's also Day 1 of the busy season.

Do you know how many Americans are looking for new jobs? Even with nearly full employment?

It's astounding: 70 percent. Or maybe 71 percent. At least half.

Estimates vary, but it's a big number, whatever it is.

Lord knows, I've been there. Maybe you have, too. It can be a stressful, lonely, disheartening experience. And, that gives me an idea.

A change in the New Year

Last month, I poured a glass of red wine, sat in front of my computer, and wrote an edition of Understandably on the dignity of work.

We won't rehash the whole thing, but it was about Churchill and Gorbachev and Truman (etc.), and how many highly successful people have struggled big-time with money and careers, even at the peak of their success. It got a bit emotional.

Afterward, I heard from quite a lot of readers. Some were between jobs. Some others had jobs, but they really hoped to make a career change in the New Year.

Now, here we are: the New Year.

‘You are not alone’

Man, I feel for these job-seekers. I don't even want to go back to that place in my memory.

Sometimes it works out great, sure. But when it doesn’t—

Micaela Marini Higgs wrote an article in The New York Times last May that summed it up pretty well: "How to Deal With Job-Search Depression."

She starts out like this:

"Looking for a new job but having zero luck getting hired can be, to put it lightly, incredibly demoralizing."

Then, 1,500 words later, she concludes:

“Don’t feel bad that you’re unemployed, even if it’s your fault. It can happen to the best of us. You are not alone.”

Those last four words kind of pop out at me. “You are not alone.”

Inspiration in numbers

A lot of us have been there, right?

If things are going great in your career now, can you think back to a time, maybe just before things took off?

And are you willing to share what that time was like? (Meaning, share them with me, so I can write an article about people who went through tough job searchers—but everything turned out OK)?

I think I’m looking for the kinds of things that can help people who are going through this now, remember that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.

Things like:

  • Your worst interviewing experience? (And hopefully how it turned out OK in the long run).

  • How you handled financial pressures while looking for a job? (Again, hopefully it turned out OK in the long run).

  • Or if you’re more used to sitting on the other side of the interview table: what’s the advice or feedback you’ve wanted to share with applicants — but haven’t been able to until now?

It could all be inspiring to people who need to hear it. At least, it will be empathetic and kind on our collective part, which is not a bad way at all to start 2020.


My guess is that some people would be more willing to share these kinds of stories if they can do so confidentially. So, instead of just doing this as one of the comment threads I’m so fond of (more on that below), I have two options:

Option 1: I’ll invite you to email me with your inspiring job search stories. Just send a message to “” I’ll read everything, and I’ll write a second article with some of the replies later this week.

(Very important: Please let me know if you don’t want me to use your name!)

Option 2: Separately, I’ve been writing a sort of adapted edition of Understandably on LinkedIn. I’m still getting a feel for how that works, but since I’ll run a version of this newsletter there, I’ll look through the comments over there, too. (If you’re on LinkedIn and you’d like to try that instead, you can just go to this link.)

7 other things worth a click

  1. How to make a resolution that actually works, based on a study of 800 million activities. (Inc.)

  2. The website for the Selective Service crashed over the weekend, amid high search volume for terms like “will there be a draft?” after the U.S. killed Iranian general Qassem Soleimani. (USA Today)

  3. The entire reason Amazon is based in Washington State is because Jeff Bezos wanted a home state with no income tax. Now, Bill Gates wants to change that. (KIRO)

  4. Police are investigating whether somebody intentionally released bedbugs in a Walmart in Pennsylvania. (New York Daily News)

  5. Why it’s almost impossible to be the CEO of a big company and do a good job. Opinion, obviously. (CNBC)

  6. Best lines from Ricky Gervais’s Golden Globes monologue. (The Washington Post)

  7. The only part of cars that hadn’t been updated in the past few decades was the sun visor. So of course, introducing: sun visor innovation. (TechCrunch)

Ideas and feedback actively solicited. By the way, hundreds of people voted on Friday, and about 80 percent of you said keep doing the comment thread emails when they make sense — but don’t worry about the schedule. I think that’s right.

If you haven’t subscribed to Understandably, please do so! (You can also just send an email to And if you liked this article, please share it!


Click to rate today’s installment: