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Jobseekers' Perspective

The Eeyore Syndrome

Eeyore as depicted by Disney

Eeyore as depicted by Disney (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“May I never miss a sunset or a rainbow because I am looking down. “ ~Sara June Parker

As the economy and employment improves (slowly but surely), I am noticing something of a dichotomy developing in the customers we see: first, there are the newly-unemployed (having become so within the last one or two weeks), and those who have been jobless for at least 2 years. As time goes on, those newly-unemployed are largely going back to work sooner, and thus dropping off our radar. Long-term jobless in many cases are being left behind.

Reasons for this are multiple: first, employers still recognize recently unemployed as having more up-to-date skill sets than those out of work for a significantly longer time. But I am convinced that a significant factor lies within the morale of the long-term jobseeker himself: a self-defeating negativity borne of a long stretch of rejections and employer silence. I call it The Eeyore Syndrome.

About the same time I started my current job, I met Jim (names have been changed). A tall, larger man, Jim once must have stood proud and productive, but by the time I met him, he was beaten down. When I met him, his shoulders were slumped, his head hung, eyes lowered, and he never said anything positive. He even had the low-pitch voice of an Eeyore as he lamented how bad everything was. That was four years ago. Every once in a while he still comes into our office, more slumped and defeated than ever.

Yesterday I met a woman who was referred to me. She had been laid off over 4 years ago, had worked with my counterparts for almost a year, but had given up with them because, as she said, their personalities clashed.  She spent almost her entire time with me complaining about how bad the job search was going, and how everyone wanted her to learn computer skills, something she refused to do. She was also slumped and negative.

Although both individuals have excellent skill sets, neither person is employable until they recognize their own negativity is their biggest stumbling block. It is painfully obvious to everyone around them, but I see they have developed a certain blindness—at least a definite myopia—that keeps them short-sighted to their own attitudes and the barriers they pose.

In short, don’t let the discouragement beat you down. Vince Lombardi is credited with saying, “The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather in a lack of will.”


About kimberlyjmyers

I am a workforce development professional in Washington State. I have ten years experience working with dislocated workers, vocationally impaired, and people with disabilities on many levels and backgrounds from offenders to non-English speaking refugees from around the world. The One thing the clients I have worked with all had in common: there was some barrier to employment, and I work diligently every day to identify, address and remove those barriers.


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June 2013
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85% of employers say their employees are proud to work for their company. Only 71% of workers agree.

(SOURCE: Randstad Engagement Study)

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