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Keep Your Spirits Up, Whatever It Takes

Life has many trials, and earning our daily bread is one of them.

During my job search, I rode an emotional roller-coaster. There were plenty of days when I was depressed and did not want to speak with anyone. But I never lost hope. With a little help from family, friends, career counselor and my inner faith, I always bounced back.

When you're unemployed, it's important to do what you have to do to keep your spirits up. That can mean eating right, exercising regularly, taking walks, meditating or praying - whatever is needed to help you stay centered, healthy and optimistic.

Just when it looked as though things couldn't get much worse in my financial life and in the economic environment, after 10 months of unemployment and at the height of the financial crisis things started to turn around for me. A candle shines brightest in the darkest places, and salvation comes at the last possible moment.

Considering Voluntary Exile

By October 2008, after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the economic situation in the U.S. had gone from bleak to disastrous. Was there any chance at all of me finding a job in New York - or indeed, anywhere in the United States? I had already left New York. Would I soon be leaving the country? My wife and I discussed that question. We decided that for the right opportunity, we would be willing to relocate abroad for a year or two.

I started focusing on international opportunities and had several phone interviews with the chief executive of an international furniture company based in the Netherlands. I corresponded with a businessman in Hong Kong who said he helped American companies conduct business in China. I spoke with the CEO of a used car parts company in England. I was also called by a doctor from Yokohama who said he needed help managing his cancer clinic and disseminating his research internationally. He even offered to fly me to Yokohama for an interview.

Closer to home, I was contacted by an executive recruiter with whom I had been in touch on and off by email for over five years. She told me that a hiring manager at a large and well-established New York accounting firm was looking for a valuations professional who was a good writer.

An interview was arranged and went well, but I kept my expectations low. The executive recruiter told me it was a done deal. Then, however, I was called in for another round of interviews and asked to submit a writing sample.

While waiting for an answer from the accounting firm, I took up the doctor's offer and flew to Japan. I did not want to pass up the opportunity for a once-in-a-lifetime fantastic journey - or the possibility of a job, even it was on the other side of the world.

The Tide Turns

After a full day's journey from New York to Yokohama, I checked into my hotel room, set up my computer and learned that I had received the green light from the accounting firm. Apparently, I had to fly over the North Pole and to the other side of the world in order to get a job offer in New York. The Lord works in mysterious ways!

After an inspirational week in Yokohama, I returned triumphantly to New York and felt as though I was waking from a dream. After all I had been through, I had finally found a job.

A few weeks later, I flew to Omaha for a real Thanksgiving celebration with my wife and children. We had so much to be thankful for and were so fortunate not to have lost hope -or each other.

Joshua Persky is a New York-based career management author, blogger and lecturer whose professional background is in corporate finance and valuation. Last year he gained worldwide media attention for handing out his resume to strangers on the street while wearing a homemade sandwich board that read: "Experienced MIT Grad for Hire."

AUTHORJoshua Persky Insider Comment
  • Ra
    Raymond B
    26 September 2009

    Thank you for putting your angst and challenges out there. I struggle every day with remaining positive, including dealing with financial "creep." I am a senior HR guy and finding a job or anything closely related to HR has been difficult. Rearranging my life expectations has been the greatest lesson of all. That f@@kin' sh@@ hurts.

  • Be
    25 September 2009

    The fact that job search is a roller coaster goes without saying. Those who do what they need to do to stay up, what Joshua is doing, will end up finding something sooner than those who give up and see only the dark side of this situation. I'm also involved in a search and have a lot of suggestions as to how to stay ahead of the blues. My daughter pushed me to share both my story and my tips in a blog and it has really made me feel better to share with others. Check out tips to stay ahead of the downhill slide at You go Joshua! In this market you may hit a few bumps, like a job that's there one minute and gone the next, but ultimately, those who keep the faith will end up on their feet. And in the meanwhile, reach out and help someone else - either someone in a job search or anyone who could use your skills and talents. Tutor. Help out at a soup kitchen. Do something that keeps you engaged with make things better. You'll be amazed at how much better it will make you feel about yourself. And feeling better about yourself is key to getting your next job.

  • hm
    24 September 2009

    I have been through this process several times and it never gets easier. This market is the worst ever in my working life. Continuing to have a positive attitude is the key. Our skills did not just disappear with the onset of the Great Recession. We develop our skills, work our networks or consider other means of making a living but we do not give up. We may cut back and revise expectations but we do not quit. This is the mantra for all job seekers. Keep the faith.

  • jd
    24 September 2009

    Well done Joshua - you have the guts, the drive and above all the faith to suceed - this is all one needs.

  • Je
    22 September 2009

    Houlihan Lokey is hardly a little known bank. If you were in the IB world, you would know that. Persky is an inspiration for taking on the toughest crowd in the world and showing his stuff and for that I commend him. He may not be working at the same firm that originally hired him, but he has shown us how you can make things happen even in a struggling economy. Apparently, he is still making something happen or you would have not read this article.

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