Wellbeing and confidence

This part of Work45+ talks about:

Employers we talked to for Work45+ told us they are looking for people who are confident and passionate about the jobs they apply for. This is understandable, but it fails to recognise that even the most resilient people can find it demoralising to be made redundant or be unemployed for a long time.

You may have lost your job suddenly, or after a period of workplace uncertainty. The process may have been traumatic. Or you may be re-entering the jobs market after being away from it for many years.

Whatever path has brought you to Work45+, we hope the following suggestions will help you care for yourself until you find your new role.

Stay connected with your community

Looking for work is a job in itself. Try to confine it to business hours and make space for physical, social and learning activities.1 These improve your wellbeing through social contact and enjoyment. COTA Tasmania’s Community Activity webpage lists all kinds of community activities, including many that are low cost or free.

Another way to avoid isolation is to get together with other job seekers.  The right kind of training, job-ready programs and volunteering can be good for your wellbeing as well as your resume.

Support each other

Sadly, older job seekers have told us that all too often they get no communication from employers when their application is unsuccessful.

Although this is common, it is hard not to feel undervalued when it happens. Consider talking to other job seekers. You may find many share your experience and are able to support each other.

Seek help

Depression and anxiety are never something to be embarrassed about. According to Beyond Blue, over 1 million Australian adults have depression and 2 million have anxiety each year.2

The Salvation Army’s Employment Plus service has a webpage that describes the symptoms of depression and anxiety during job loss and unemployment.3 For depression these include:

  • reduced self-esteem
  • lack of motivation
  • lack of pleasure in things you would normally enjoy
  • trouble concentrating or sleeping

Symptoms of anxiety can include avoiding people or situations that make you worried, and periods of intense panic.

If you think you may be depressed or anxious, consider talking to your doctor. He or she may be able to refer you to a psychologist who can explain why you are having these symptoms and give you practical advice. The Australian Psychological Society has useful information about Medicare-funded psychological services.4

If you need immediate help, contact:

Lifeline can support you during the coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency

Job loss can cause psychological stress. Psychological stress is not a mental illness but a normal response to something that is frightening, confusing or upsetting.

Lifeline has set up an additional support line specifically for Tasmanians experiencing psychological stress as a result of the COVID-19 emergency.

The additional phone number is 1800 98 44 34 – A Tasmanian Lifeline.

Lifeline’s usual number continues to offer support for people with ongoing mental health issues, including people having suicidal thoughts. However, if you are experiencing psychological stress, people who answer your call at 1800 98 44 34 can offer you specialised support.

Take action

Age discrimination is unlawful. Our section on age equality has information about actions you can take if you think you have been discriminated against when applying for a job.

Tasmania has some of the best anti-discrimination legislation in the country and Equal Opportunity Tasmania encourages concerned job seekers to contact its staff for advice.5

Try to use feedback positively

You can find videos and information about asking for feedback after interviews on our “Interviews” web page.

If you feel you did a good interview but were still unsuccessful, remember you may have been one of several applicants who were well suited to the position. If you get feedback that it was a difficult choice between you and other strong candidates, try to see it as a positive sign rather than a brush-off. Ask your contact for suggestions about how you might do even better next time.

Following interviews, some employers keep a register of applicants who were suitable but unsuccessful. If you are still interested in working for the organisation, make sure your contact knows you would like to be considered for future positions.

Resources for confidence and wellbeing

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  • In our section called “For employers and recruiters”, we urge businesses to be considerate and respectful when hiring new staff. This includes taking the time to advise unsuccessful applicants and give feedback to everyone who has been interviewed.
  1. Marini Higgs, Micaela, 2019, “How to Deal with Job Search Depression“, The New York Times, 27 May
  2. Beyond Blue 2020, The Facts
  3. Salvation Army Employment Plus 2020, Your Mental Health
  4. Australian Psychological Society 2020, Better Access to Mental Health Care: Medicare Funded Services
  5. Equal Opportunity Tasmania, Age Discrimination: Age is a Number. Not a Barrier