Like many who come to this website, I have been out of work for a long time. I left the workforce in 2007, decided to go to school full time to finish my degree so I could finally get a job that wasn't entry-level. I figured that with lots of work experience and a degree I would be able to do more professionally than I had been.
Graduated in August 2008 - ALMOST A YEAR AGO - with my degree (with honors) and it has yielded nothing. It was devastating at first. We, as Americans, tie up our identity in what we do professionally. I was very much like that. If you had asked me a year or so ago what my dreams were, they were all professional dreams. I had no personal dreams! And so the rejections I took job-hunting were personal to me, regardless of what I saw going on around me. I was being rejected. They didn't like me!
Lately, though, my perspective has changed. I guess getting out of the rat race for so long has made me appreciate the rest of life. Look, appreciation doesn't pay the bills, and yes I still feel awkward when someone asks me what I do for a living, but this experience has changed my priorities. Now work, instead of being a dream, has become to me a source of income in which I can do the things I am enjoying doing now.
The feeling is liberating.