If we want to get technical with it, then I've been searching for a job for ten months. However, realistically I've only been looking at San Francisco for the past three, and I've been unemployed for maybe six weeks. I really shouldn't feel like someone ashed their Cuban cigar directly on my brain, but I do. Why?
First of all: I'm still not entirely sure what I want to do. My education was both too specific and too broad: my dance degree was really only good for making me a competent dancer and a potential dance administrator, and my philosophy degree just made me curious about absolutely everything. My passions are music, art, animals, fitness/healthy living, and the environment. Goals include an MBA (maybe MBA/JD), a condo, charity work, and lots of travel. The problem I am currently running into is that there isn't a clearly identifiable connection between my skills/education, passions, and goals. Trying to think clearly about my career path is like herding cats. A big, loud, hilarious mess.
Second issue: I have now learned that unless you are absolutely indispensable or a very high-ranking worker, never under any circumstances should you look for a job in another city without being there first. No one takes you seriously. No one believes that you really promise you are going to move across the country, away from a city you have lived in for 23 years, to happily tackle their entry-level dance donor database position. Nor do they have complete confidence in a person they are interviewing via video conference. In the end, you don't want to deal with all of these things anyway.
Third issue: I am a twenty-something. By definition, our lives are tumultuous, a bit depressing, maniacally busy, and a bit of a joke to everyone who isn't one of us. It's no freaking wonder that I am so tired I never want to write another cover letter EVER again. Optimism in the face of the economy, of history, and of circumstances beyond your control is absolutely exhausting. I'm at the end of a 4-month-long recruitment period with a particular employer, and at this point even a negative answer would feel better than the stress of trying to keep up hope.
The whole situation is a bit of a circular logic problem: I'm burned out and depressed because I'm so tired of looking for a job, but we all know that burn-out makes it almost impossible to do something well. If you aren't effectively kicking the ass of the job search process, you're never going to find anything in this economy.
The real kicker is that it doesn't matter to anyone else if I'm suffering from burn-out. I've still got to be the proactive, type-A go-getter I've always been, feigning optimism. Otherwise, there's no way out.
Now please excuse me, it's time for a quick stroll along the Craigslist job boards...