Updated: Oct. 8, 2021

Unemployment can be very depressing. You worked hard to get through law school and passed the bar. It can seem very unfair that, after all of that hard work, finding a use for your hard-earned talents can be so difficult. In Seattle, the job market has been over-saturated with lawyers for more than a decade.

The advice offered on these pages about networking and "branding your identity" might feel daunting. Many attorneys develop a sense of hopelessness, often concluding that they have what it takes to be a lawyer but don't have what it takes to land a job. On top of this, the financial challenge of unemployment can increase the pressure even more.

It's important to recognize avoidance behavior. This can translate as a fear of telling people that you are unemployed or denying the circumstances that led to your unemployment. The sooner you accept your situation, the sooner you can think about what steps to take to find another job. Have compassion for yourself at this juncture. This may be a difficult challenge in the course of your life, but being unemployed does not have to define you as a person.

It is easy to see yourself as an unemployed lawyer and nothing more. Sometimes it is helpful to look through your résumé to remember all of the things you have done in your life. In addition, as you look to make new connections, keep focused on your ambitions. While having a job is a need, don't lose sight of the job that you want.

In sculpting an action plan to steer yourself through unemployment, individual psychotherapy can be invaluable. If you face debilitating depression, anxiety, or some other mental health issue, this is the first important step in asking for help. Even if you don't feel depressed, psychotherapy can be a good way to stay focused on your job search. It can serve as healthy, preventative self-care.