Last Thursday I was a guest on The Dave Ramsey Show.  One of the things Dave and I discussed was the Bureau of Labor Statistics term “discouraged worker.”   Each quarter the Bureau compiles the current employment figures.

In April, 2.5 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force.  These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey.

Among the marginally attached, there were 989,000 discouraged workers in April, a decline of 208,000 from a year earlier.  Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them.

What do you do if you are in fact a discouraged worker?

No matter how it happens, a job loss is painful.  Maybe you were caught up in a corporate downsizing, and it’s nothing personal.  Maybe it was personal; your boss was an insensitive jerk who didn’t recognize your talent.  Either way, it’s easy to start questioning your self-worth at such a time.  You may wonder if you’ll end up homeless, never to contribute in a meaningful way to civilization again.  In 30 days, your savings will be depleted.  Are your old office workers laughing behind your back?  Are your neighbors looking at “the loser” when they see you at home on a weekday?

Well, don’t get caught up in the negatives.  This will only sabotage your immediate future.  Here are some tips for breaking the downward spiral of discouragement:

Release Your Anger. It’s OK to be angry at the unfairness of the economy, the government or the world.  But don’t stay there.  While you may have been treated unfairly, sharing that will only make potential new employers uneasy and prevent them from wanting you on their team.

Evaluate Your Life. Take advantage of these transitions to take a fresh look at your life.  What is unique about you?  How important is time flexibility?  What income do you want?  See this as a time to move up and forward; not down.