Nine months out of work, Daniel Christ recently spent several days avoiding calls and e-mails from a recruiting firm. The recruiters were trying to contact him for temp assignment at a marketing company, and Christ did not pick up the phone on four occasions. He also ignored the two emails the firm sent him. The agency ended up calling his wife, Jennifer, whom Daniel had listed as his emergency contact. "I could have been upfront and said, 'This isn't what I want to do'," said Daniel. "But I didn't. Hopefully they figured it out."
Recruiters weren't the only ones he'd been avoiding. "I feel bad, but sometimes I won't pick up a call from my dad because I know why he's calling me," Daniel said. His father would phone daily to ask him about his job search, and when the answer was "terrible," Daniel opted for solitude. "Sometimes I just don't want to talk to people; I'm just happy with my Xbox."
As the national unemployment rate soared to 10.2% in October and New York saw the largest increase in the nation in September, Daniel Christ was just one of millions losing hope. When he finally landed a job in November as a customer service rep at the online stock management company, SogoTrade, he became one of a small percentage of long-term job seekers in New York to beat dwindling employment odds. And this was despite efforts that had nearly halted due to countless rejections.
Though he had kept looking for jobs, therefore not joining the 808,000 discouraged workers counted in October (people who have not searched for jobs in the four weeks preceding the monthly Labor Bureau survey), Daniel's job search had changed drastically over those nine months. He started out confident that finding a job would be easy, but professional networking and hand-tailored cover letters eventually gave way to long days in front of the television screen and sending out resumes without bothering with a cover letter.
"I don't think I'm depressed," Daniel said, "but it is depressing. It's like a job in itself, getting one."
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He said he fell into a gloominess that made putting energy into his job search nearly impossible. "And maybe part of it is lack of confidence," he added, "I can't get a job, so why try? Why not do what I’ve been doing? What's the point? And part of me likes being home. It's nice, I'm not gonna lie."